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The Housing Boom and Bust

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Overview

This is a plain-English explanation of how we got into the current economic disaster that developed out of the economics and politics of the housing boom and bust. The "creative” financing of home mortgages and the even more "creative” marketing of financial securities based on American mortgages to countries around the world, are part of the story of how a financial house of cards was built up—and then suddenly collapsed.

The politics behind all this is another story full of ...

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Overview

This is a plain-English explanation of how we got into the current economic disaster that developed out of the economics and politics of the housing boom and bust. The "creative” financing of home mortgages and the even more "creative” marketing of financial securities based on American mortgages to countries around the world, are part of the story of how a financial house of cards was built up—and then suddenly collapsed.

The politics behind all this is another story full of strange twists. No punches are pulled when discussing politicians of either party, the financial dangers they created, or the distractions they created later to escape their own responsibility for what happened when the financial house of cards in the financial markets collapsed.

What to do, now that we are in the midst of an economic disaster, is yet another story—one whose ending we do not yet know, but one whose outlines and implications are explored to reveal some surprising and sobering lessons.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433294051
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/14/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 4
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has published in both academic journals in such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine and Fortune, and writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.

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Table of Contents

Preface v

1 The Economics of the Housing Boom 1

2 The Politics of the Housing Boom 30

3 The Housing Bust 57

4 Housing Mystiques and Housing Mistakes 90

5 The Past and the Future 117

Sources 149

Index 180

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

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(28)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Outstanding non-partisan view of the issues!

    Dr Sowell does a phenomenal job of explaining in layman's term what set up, contributed to and outright caused the housing issues. He does not play party lines and blames both Dems and Reps alike for their respective roles in the entire mess.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    If you want the real story

    I had done my own research into the housing mess and this not only confirmed my findings, it went way beyond to dig very deep into this mess.

    The only question remaining is why more people don't know the real story.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2009

    I hold a master's degree, so I recognize work that has been carefully researched, properly documented, and professionally analyzed. The author is obviously an authority in the subject area and his conclusions and predictions must carry great weight.

    The subject matter cannot be more relevant than in this current economic crisis. The subject is complex and confusing, with many distracting political overtones which would tend to muddy the waters, but the author has applied his insightful, and scholarly intellect in such a manner as to brilliantly dissect out the truth from the chaff. Every American should not only read but also study this work in order to be properly informed on the present economic disaster confronting us all. Our politicians should also read it, but for them truth is usually trumped by political expediency, and they can be expected to ignore it. For this reason, the American public will ignore this work at all of our peril.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2010

    Intellectually dishonest

    This book is intellectually dishonest. Mr. Sowell distorts statistics, facts, and quotes to fit his agenda while railing against others who do the same. There is not one footnote in the book, only a collection of references in the back. This makes fact checking incredibly, and intentionally, laborious.

    Mr. Sowell gloated in a column promoting this book, "Most people don't have time to spend digging into the Congressional Record and other sources to find out the ugly truth being covered up by the blizzard of lies coming out of Washington and echoed in much of the media. But my research assistants do that for a living."

    Apparently Mr. Sowell doesn't have time either, and maybe he should look for some more honest research assistants. In the book he quotes Barney Frank as having said, "I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation." This quote is, first of all, inaccurate and secondly, taken out of context. What Mr. Frank said back in September of 2003 hearing about whether or not to move oversight of the GSEs to Treasury (years before the boom in subprime lending) was: "I want to LOAD the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing." His point being that if they were moved to Treasury, they would be little different than an ordinary bank.

    "Roll the dice," implies outright gambling and provokes an angry emotional reaction.

    "Load the dice," implies weighting a given outcome - not so emotional, and not so good for selling books.

    When citing quotations it is intellectually (AND GLARINGLY!) dishonest to change the words to suit your agenda. Now this inaccurate quote has spread everywhere including FOX News, the Wall Street Journal, and all over the internet. Mr. Sowell's "ugly" inaccuracy has already succeeded in its attempts at poisoning the discourse. Here is a link to Mr. Frank's ACTUAL statement:

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/178357-1&start=18220

    Further review reveals just how out of context the statement is taken.

    In a conniving attempt at appearing nonpartisan, Mr. Sowell only occasionally mentions Republican actors in the crime (despite the fact that they were the majority party at the time). However, one will note that all of the Republicans mentioned have either had their terms expire, retired, or announced their retirement. In short, they are now inconsequential. In contrast, he repeatedly attacks Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, Democrats, and the most powerful figures in the House and Senate Finance Committees today (Dodd announced his retirement after the book was published). Further, he makes little mention of the investment banks and dishonest mortgage brokers who bear a great deal of the responsibility for the crisis.

    Mr. Sowell contradicts himself by calling for decreased regulation, while simultaneously blaming Democratic politicians for failing to adequately regulate the market - despite their attempts to, and the fact that they were in the minority in Congress.

    Mr. Sowell points to Houston, Texas as some sort of urban utopia(!) despite the fact that he, himself, chooses to live in the exclusive Palo Alto area of California

    This book is an overly focused, simplistic, and ideological view of the housing crises. It reminded me of reading Edward Bellamy's book of the opposite ideology "Looking Backward." I don't recommend either as a glimpse at reality.

    3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    A must read...by Dr. Thomas Sowell The Housing Boom and Bust

    This is an excellent, timely book by my favorite author. I read every article in IBD by Dr. Sowell. What a talent. I hope that he has more books on the way. He is the Westbook Pegler of the 2000's. Thanks for
    explaining The Housing Boom and Bust so well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2009

    Essential for understanding the key drivers in the housing bubble.

    After you read this book, lend it to a friend and keep it moving. The author is one of the few in the media who understands the difference between the symptom of a problem and its root cause. The housing bubble isn't something that happened overnight. If you want to understand why banks began doing what they did, look no further than the policies, legislation, quotas, and lawsuits imposed by various politicians and government agencies over a span of many years. The author gives us the facts and evidence in simple English, and they dispel much of the knee-jerk reaction we were fed by many politicians and the press. Indeed, the key politicians who got us into this mess are now revising history, and want us to believe that they can fix the problems with additional legislation and oversight. The most compelling section (also noted by another reviewer) on how wrong things can go, pertains to statistical data manipulation regarding alleged racial profiling of housing loans. This book is easy to read - I strongly recommend it to everyone who wants to become informed on the true causes of the housing crisis.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    Should be required reading for all Americans

    As usual, Thomas Sowell is sensible, insightful, clear, and very readable. He provides compelling analyses detailing what the true consequences of our political machinations are. He demolishes lots of "sacred cows" in a calm, rational manner. He is a true American genius. I wish all Americans would take the time to read this small, very readable book. Then, I wish it was required reading for our President and Congress. Maybe, then, they would learn what their misbegotten policies really do.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    Impressive

    Dr. Sowell explains economics to the lay person to be understood. A great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2009

    Housing Boom and Bust

    Thomas Sowell is probably the best writer on economic issues as is out there today. He hit the nail on the head with this book. All of the guilty parties were laid out to be seen.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Insightful, compelling, effective literature that dissects the crisis.

    Dr. Sowell accomplishes his goal of soliciting information that is informative and comprehensive. His scholarly rhetoric allows the readers to thoroughly understand the nature of the economic crisis. Re-reading the chapters really captures the essence of his argument, especially about the chapter on racial discrimination on bank loans. This is a must read for readers wanting to understand the scope of the mortgage crisis.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2012

    " This book explains the housing boom/bust more clearly &am

    " This book explains the housing boom/bust more clearly & accurately than you're likely to find elsewhere. An easier read than some of Sowell's other work (That's not meant as a criticism... the man is truly brilliant)."

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  • Posted January 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Money well spent !

    It is truly amazing to see the feeble attempts by those who are so intrenched in their mythical view of the world as to making an attempt to discredit Dr Sowell's supported well researched and factual detailed account and his superb analysis of the many complex factors that played into this unnecessary national tragedy . It is well said that one cannot argue with fools and drunks , although there is some hope for the drunk .He can sober up .

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A view from the right into the causes and consequences of the policies behind the housing bubble.

    Economist and political commentator Thomas Sowell provides a readable explanation of the US housing market bubble and its aftermath. His point of view is not in question - it is decidedly on the right, as one might anticipate from a Hoover Institution scholar, so read it with awareness that other experts just as firmly believe opposing views. Sowell lambastes politicians who, he feels, pushed a disastrous policy that made home ownership available to most Americans, including those least able to pay. His style is not always felicitous, but it is accessible, and that is more than you can say for many economists. getAbstract thinks that anyone who wants to understand the housing market that contributed to the 2008-2009 economic crisis will find this illuminating.

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  • Posted May 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The best explanation of the source of the current economic crisis out there

    The global economic crisis that started in the late 2008 is considered to be one of the worst ones in decades, perhaps the worst one since the Great Depression. It has started in the United States, but its ramifications have been felt globally, reminding us once again that we live in a very interconnected world. The source of the crisis seems to be rather obscure, and involves many hard to understand factors. Indeed, there is no single effect that can be blamed for the entire crisis, but one factor looms much larger than all the other ones, and that is the housing boom and bust. This, in a nutshell, is the basic premise behind Thomas Sowell's latest book. He describes and analyzes how the overregulated housing markets in a very few regions in the United States, coupled with the governmentally imposed quotas for the wider availability of housing loans, skewed the housing market and prevented the simple market mechanism from operating and correcting the ensuing market imbalances. Far from being caused by the lack of regulation of the banking sector, the crisis was brewing for years, decades even, and was caused exactly by the presence of too much regulation in one of the biggest parts of the overall economy. The bottom line is: the crisis was caused by the faulty politics, not the faulty economics. Not taking home this fundamental lesson has very dire consequences. The same people who lobbied and pushed for the legislation that has brought us to the current situation are the ones who are now leading the charge for its fixing. Predictably, the proposed solutions are along the lines of the policies that brought us to the current crisis. This is probably prolong the crisis and have unforeseen consequences in the years to come. Hopefully, before that comes to pass we will learn from the past mistakes and avoid making a whole host of new ones. The best first step in that direction is understanding what really happened with the economy in 2008. And for that, Thomas Sowell's book is an invaluable guide.

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  • Posted December 1, 2010

    Far more people need to read this book

    Much of the trouble our housing market is in arose from politicians and community activist groups forcing banks and mortgage companies to make loans to people who could not pay them back. This needs to be said, and names need to be named: ACORN, Barney Frank (who tried to deny he had done it until Maria Bartiromo told him she had the tapes), et al. Sowell lays it all out here; let's hope people read and absorb.

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    Posted September 13, 2009

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    Posted October 25, 2010

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    Posted July 20, 2009

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    Posted March 27, 2010

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    Posted July 11, 2009

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