Important News on the Housing Bill

When something important happens, with potential market effects, we interrupt our normally scheduled programming for an update.

We intend to publish the answers to the economics quiz and to announce the winners.  Meanwhile, potential entrants have another day to win this prestigious contest!

The Housing Compromise

At "A Dash" we have written a series of articles on  housing problems and possible solutions.  Since the government steps have been incremental in nature, the market has not really responded.  At some point, there will be a realization that something important has happened.

Last week we pointed out that investors should be watching Sen. Richard Shelby as the indicator of a real compromise.  A Senate Banking Committee compromise was reached today.  While there are more steps in the legislative process, we see this as the real hurdle.

The Significance

We note with interest the opinion of Nouriel Roubini, an outspoken bear on the housing situation.  In two articles, Roubini discusses the merits of the proposal and responds to critics of his viewpoint.  Here is a key portion of his argument, but readers should consult both articles.

few reflected on the substance of this proposal and its strong economic
logic that would benefit borrowers, lenders and even the government as
the fiscal cost of no action (a systemic banking crisis that would
trigger a costly fiscal bailout of banks given deposit insurance) is
much higher than the potential modest fiscal cost of this proposal.


This is good news for the housing market, the economy, and the stock market.  We shall delve more deeply into the proposal and the effects in future articles.  We shall also examine the reactions of economists and prominent bloggers.

UPDATE, 5/20/08, 1 PM CDT

The editors at have kindly moved my article on the Frank/Dodd legislation to the non-subscription portion of the site.  Readers of "A Dash" can check out this article for insights from Doug Kass and Jim Cramer, the description of the remaining steps before it becomes law, and the reasons I believe President Bush will sign the legislation.  The process is going to take another six weeks or so, but it will get more attention before then.

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  • RB May 20, 2008  

    The government needs to get more creative in getting more money into the pocket. What the government should do is to inflate the CPI measure, to say 12%. The Fed will look at core and say inflation is not a problem. Employers will be forced to track this however in cost-of-living adjustments. Within two years, the housing market will have stabilized and the consumer will come roaring back.

  • Chri May 21, 2008  

    How could you increase CPI to 12% without increasing the core? Have the government pay top dollar to stockpile large amounts of grain and oil?