Mark Zandi is chief economist of Moody's Analytics, where he directs economic research. He is co-founder of Economy.com, which was acquired by Moody's Analytics in 2005. Prior to founding Economy.com, Zandi was a regional economist at Chase Econometrics... (wikipedia)
The most important point is, in a time of crisis, there is no way out but for the government to be bold and aggressive.
President Obama's reelection started the countdown for lawmakers to address the fiscal cliff and the statutory debt limit. Unless the President and House Republicans can agree on changes to current law, the U.S. economy will be in recession by spring.
Potential home buyers have a two-step decision process. First, they determine whether they can afford to make a purchase - does their income safely cover their mortgage payment? Then they determine whether owning is a better financial choice than renting - are the costs of owning a home lower than the cost of renting it?
It is hard to be enthusiastic about the economy's prospects when house prices are falling: Households spend less, small business owners can't use homes as collateral for loans and local governments are forced to cut jobs and programs as property-tax revenue disappears.
In a normal time, I don't think economic policy makes a large difference one way or another. But in times of crisis it makes all the difference in the world.
The clearest way to cut some of this fiscal drag would be to extend the current payroll tax holiday and increase it - as proposed by President Barack Obama. This would cut the fiscal drag by almost half.
Past experience with fiscal austerity at home and overseas strongly suggests that it is best for the economy's long-run performance to restrain government spending rather than raise taxes.
It is easy to be pessimistic. These are extraordinarily difficult times, and the collective psyche is teetering. But we are closer to righting the wrongs that got us into this economic mess than most of us believe.
Housing was ground zero for the Great Recession. Between early 2006 and Obama's inauguration in 2009, average house prices fell by a third across the country. In certain areas, including cities as diverse as Akron, Orlando and Las Vegas, house prices fell by more than half.
The FHA's success provides strong evidence that government can and should play a role in the nation's mortgage finance system. It also demonstrates that although government intervention in the economy during the Great Recession was messy, things would have been a lot messier without it.