Monday, November 21, 2011

Housing crisis.. government prepares to act (OH NO!)

The stupidest feature of the Blair-Brown government was they way that they responded to every situation with a detailed policy outline or eye-catching "initiative". No aspect of economic or political life could remain undisturbed for long. More criminal justice bills, for example, were passed in their period of office than in the previous ten governments put together. From bulldozers to benefits, more and more of our lives became subject to government intervention and regulation.


It was a disaster. The OCD Brown, both as PM and under Blair undermined our competitiveness, created a class of benefits dependents, demoralized teachers, health care professionals and the police- among others-  by repeatedly second guessing and overruling their experience and advice.


It was a breath of air to have the coalition put a pause on legislation and to seek to repeal some of the more crass mistakes of this Labour mismanagement. 


So it was with a feeling of groundhog day like despair that I read this morning that the government has decided to ACT on the housing crisis in the UK. Of course there is not a housing crisis in the UK yet, but on current trends there will be a problem soon, unless there is more construction of new housing permitted across the country. In the past the state has managed the process directly, by building social housing- council housing, we used to call it- but now the proposal is to provide government guarantees to banks to support mortgages to first time buyers.


Doubtless the ministers and the Prime Minister who is making the announcement this morning will congratulate themselves on an exciting and original idea to stimulate the housing market into growth once more.


Except it is not an original idea- FDR thought of it in 1930s America and created the federal mortgage protection agency that became known under the friendly acronym Fannie Mae. Yes, you have heard of it, because it is the essential bankruptcy of Fannie Mae that has been one of the major problems that the US government has had to deal with.


So, I have started my day shaking my head in much the same way as I used to when Labour were in power: muttering through gritted teeth "surely they can not be so self deluded as to not understand the consequences of this foolish action"


But of course, they are and they don't.     

No comments: