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薛兆丰

 
 
 

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次贷危机是典型的政府失败  

2008-10-13 10:07:12|  分类: 金融政策 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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次贷危机是典型的政府失败

薛兆丰
2008年10月9日

既是因为忙着其他事情,也是因为不相信太阳下有新事,依然对所谓的“次贷危机”提不起特别兴趣,但因为日前回答朋友提问说过几句(详见这里),所以有必要根据新情报,作扼要的跟进。

次贷危机是典型的政府失败,而不是什么市场失败或资本主义失败。那两家要破产的公司,名字起得花里胡哨,叫Fannie Mae和Freddie Mac,好像个私人公司,好像代表市场。其实,Fannie Mae是Federal National Mortgage Association(联邦全国按揭联会),而Freddie Mac则是Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation(联邦家庭贷款按揭公司),两者均为所谓GSEs(government-sponsored enterprises),即“政府资助企业”。那么,政府资助企业的失败,要政府再出一笔钱来救,属于市场失败还是政府失败?

再根本的原因,是政府为了让更多人拥有自己的房子,刻意从制度上拔高,迫使私人银行放宽购房贷款的信贷审核条件,而让“政府资助企业”来承诺购买那 些高风险的债券,而当经济出现下滑,无法偿还贷款的个案剧增,就使得这些“政府资助企业”以及由此波及的私人金融机构陷入危机。 

威廉斯(W. E. Williams)教授日前写道(详见这里):

从1977年的“社区重建法案”开始,……国会就开始威胁银行和其他金融机构,要他们向高风险的住房买家和企业发放更多贷 款,这些贷款就称为次级贷款。这些银行和金融机构得到的甜头是,“政府资助企业”Fannie Mae和Freddie Mac将会购买这些高风险的债券。任何脑子重量超过一盎司的人都能明白,这是酿造灾难的配方,可国会却齐声否认。

Starting with the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, that was given more teeth during the Clinton administration, Congress started intimidating banks and other financial institutions into making loans, so-called subprime loans, to high-risk homebuyers and businesses. The carrot offered was that these high-risk loans would be purchased by the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Anyone with an ounce of brains would have known that this was a prescription for disaster but there was a congressional chorus of denial.

罗伯斯(Russ Roberts)教授则指出,现在政府出来救,出的钱其实不算很多,所以最大的问题不在这笔钱的数目上,而在于给出了一个先例,给人一个信号说“你做错了不要紧,后面还有政府来兜底,用不着太担心风险”,而这才是最大的“代价”和“非常可怕的错误”。见这里(尤其是第3分30秒到5分16秒)。

更早地,在梅森大学的马凯特斯中心(Mercatus Center,我以前翻译作“市场研究中心”)工作的梅森经济学博士Jay Cochran,与在Cato工作的Catherine England,在2001年就撰写过长篇研究报告,指出“政府资助企业”Fannie Mae和Freddie Mac带来的隐患并建议对这两家公司作私有化处理(见这里)。

最新的,经济学家莱博维茨(Stan J. Liebowitz)也撰写了一篇长文,指出次贷危机是政府多年来刻意推低购房贷款标准造成的(详见这里):

This report concludes that, in an attempt to increase home ownership, particularly by minorities and the less affl uent, virtually every branch of the government undertook an attack on underwriting standards starting in the early 1990s. Regulators, academic specialists, GSEs, and housing activists universally praised the decline in mortgage-underwriting standards as an “innovation” in mortgage lending. This weakening of underwriting standards succeeded in increasing home ownership and also the price of housing, helping to lead to a housing price bubble. The price bubble, along with relaxed lending standards, allowed speculators to purchase homes without putting their own money at risk. The recent rise in foreclosures is not related empirically to the distinction between subprime and prime loans since both sustained the same percentage increase of foreclosures and at the same time. Nor is it consistent with the “nasty subprime lender” hypothesis currently considered to be the cause of the mortgage meltdown. Instead, the important factor is the distinction between adjustable-rate and fi xed-rate mortgages. This evidence is consistent with speculators turning and running when housing prices stopped rising. 

要救就救吧,但不要说这是政府的成功拯救市场的失败。这是政府用纳税人的钱拯救政府的失败。

相关阅读

  1. 救市产生了道德腐败的诱因
  2. Walter E. Williams, Lessons From the Bailout
  3. Jay Cochran & Catherine England, Neither Fish Nor Fowl: An Overview of the Big-Three Government-Sponsored Enterprises in the U.S. Housing Finance Markets
  4. Stan J. Liebowitz, Anatomy of a Train Wreck: Causes of the Mortgage Meltdown
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