Glocal Econ 13: The Mortgage Death Grip

Homework Due:

  • Web of Debt Chapter 30
  • Wizards of Money 14: The Trade Federation and the Intergalactic Banking Clan

Extra Credit:

  • Catherine Austin Fitts on Guns and Butter, “Unpacking Mr. Global”
  • Also Unwelcome Guests #579 Financial Consolidation (Wars for Profit and More on Primordial Debt) Edward Griffin on the history of banking and Chapter 3 of David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years.

Questions on Web of Debt

Chapter 30: The Lure in the Consumer Debt Trap: The Illusion of Home Ownership

  1. What percentage of households owned their own homes in 2004? What percentage really owned their homes?  Research question: Is this higher or lower today?
  2. How did this affect the debt-to-household income ratio from 1957 to 2002? 1991 to 2001? 2001 to 2004? How does the total mortgage debt compare to the federal debt? Research question: What is it now?
  3. How does the lowering of interest rates affect the stock market? What was the federal funds rate in 2000? How did banks fan the flames of the housing boom? What percentage of mortgages were ARMs?
  4. What happens with an ARM with a five-year teaser rate? How much could interest rates increase by in the sixth year? With a 7% loan how many times the list price will the buyer pay? How about with a 5.3% loan?
  5. How do rising interest rates affect real estate prices? What were the Homestead Laws? How have 30-year mortgages affected housing prices? What would happen if mortgages were ratcheted down to 29 years, 28 years, 27, etc.?  How did Craig Harris describe what happened with the real estate market?
  6. What are “securitized” mortgages? What percent of bank lending was in the housing market by 2005? How does the current banking situation relate to the S&L crisis of the mid-1980s according to Gary North? What was the prime raised to at that time? What were the S&Ls earning?
  7. What is a subprime mortgage? Why would a bank loan money at a subprime rate? What ratio of subprime loans were predicted to default in a NY Times article? How many people might that effect? What did Peter Schiff predict? What was his logic?
  8. How is the Federal Reserve related to the housing bubble? What did this creative financing follow in 2000? What does Michael Hudson call “the new road to serfdom?”
  9. Discussion questions: Does the prime or the lending rate need to fluctuate? What would happen if it was held stable at 5%, whether it’s a long-term or short-term loan, so that the interest could never exceed the amount of principal?
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