Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bankrupting Black America

The Nation is carrying an absolutely brilliant article by Kai Wright on how the mortgage crisis (it seems like we have a lot of crises these days, doesn't it?) is affecting Black America. It's a painful article in many ways, detailing the tremendous transfer of wealth taking place from the Black community to various banks and investors (estimated by United for a Fair Economy to be between 164 and 213 billion dollars). What I appreciated most about the article was his utter demolition of the myth of the "predatory borrower" bandied about by Michelle Malkin and other running dogs of Wall Street. Wright shows that:

-More than half of all subprime loans were finances of existing home loans.

-More than half of all refinance loans to African Americans were subprime.

-Among low-income Black borrowers, 62% of loans were subprime, more than double the rate for low-income white borrowers.

Thus the mortgage crisis doesn't stem from the efforts of the greedy poor to live beyond their means in a million dollar mansion they knew they couldn't afford, but from people who needed a little extra cash to get by and were told their house would be a safe investment. Wright details how one family, struggling to put a daughter through college, was cold-called by a mortgage agent who offered to refinance at a much lower rate. This is predatory lending, red in tooth and claw.