Tags: schiff | fha | congress

Schiff: I Won't Apologize to Congress for FHA Comments

Wednesday, 20 Jun 2012 11:03 AM

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Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff says he won't apologize to Congress for his recent testimony about the Federal Housing Administration's policy on apartment lending.

"I can apologize for shaking up what would have otherwise been a sleepy and forgettable proceeding, but I won't apologize for trying to inject respect for the Constitution and free market capitalism into a venue that has been doing its best to destroy both," Schiff writes at the Business Insider.

"Although this was a fairly narrow issue, I told the congressmen the same thing I did last year when I was invited by a different subcommittee to testify about job creation: government programs don't solve problems, they just create new ones."

The subcommittee was considering whether to expand the activity of the FHA to insure loans for multi-family (apartment) buildings by extending FHA guarantees to pools of collateralized mortgages backed by multi-family residential housing units.

"In other words, Congress wanted to replicate the very dynamic that helped create the bubble in single family housing, which ushered in the financial crisis of 2008, the great recession, and left taxpayers on the hook after the bubble burst," says Schiff.

As one of the few people who warned about the dangers of federally subsidized mortgages for single-family homes, Schiff felt particularly qualified to warn Congress about repeating its error.

"I have absolutely no objection to the idea that a healthy rental housing market is needed," Schiff says. "However, I believe that market forces are sufficient by themselves to create it."

The average American family now only has $7,000 worth of savings, which would not be nearly enough to afford a 20 percent down payment on the average American house, notes Schiff.

"This means that most Americans should be renters and not owners," he says.

The Wall Street Journal reports that after funding cutbacks ended a New York City rental-assistance program earlier this year, hundreds of recipients-most of them children-have returned to the homeless shelter system, according to city statistics.

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