At President Clinton’s direction, no fewer than 10 federal agencies issued a chilling ultimatum to banks and mortgage lenders to ease credit for lower-income minorities or face investigations for lending discrimination and suffer the related adverse publicity.
President Obama says the Occupy Wall Street protests show a “broad-based frustration” among Americans with the financial sector, which continues to kick against regulatory reforms three years after the financial crisis.
“You’re seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place,” he complained earlier this month.
But what if government encouraged, even invented, those “abusive practices”?
Rewind to 1994. That year, the federal government declared war on an enemy â€” the racist lender â€” who officials claimed was to blame for differences in homeownership rate, and launched what would prove the costliest social crusade in U.S. history.