And You May Find Yourself in a Beautiful House…

One of my favorite bloggers ventures

into political-economy territory: was the subprime-mortgage bubble responsible

for the re-election of George W Bush in 2004?

I wonder if the mortgage and credit debacle is a clue. Could it reveal one

of the reasons poor or working people voted for Bush last time around? I wonder,

because for working folks voting Republican is usually and traditionally a

vote for Big Business, and therefore against the working man’s self


<Lucid 770-word explanation of the subprime bubble and bust>

Meanwhile the recipients — the workingmen and women who are barely eking

by — suddenly have loan offers thrown at them by the truckload. They

feel richer, more flush; things are going well it seems, and their situations

improving. It’s not so hard to pay the bills. They worry less and sleep

more. A sense of blissfully ignorant well-being pervades the land. The working

class and the under- and unemployed assume that the Republicans are somewhat

responsible for this new (virtual) wealth — and maybe they were. It

would follow that Mr. Joe Average might vote for the administration seemingly

responsible for his new sense of well-being.

I’d need to go back and look to see how big the subprime mortgage industry

was in November 2004; my feeling is that the era of crazy excess liquidity was

yet to come. The housing bubble predates the subprime-mortgage bubble: in fact,

you need a few years of housing bubble to get the low subprime default rates

necessary to inflate the subprime-mortgage bubble.

But the housing bubble was certainly well established by November 2004, a large

majority of Americans own their own houses, and any home-owning American’s net

worth probably grew substantially during the first George W Bush administration.

Which is not to say that incumbents always win elections if there’s a housing

bubble: look at what just happened in Australia, or at what happened in Spain

in 2004. But at the margin, it makes intuitive sense that a suddenly-wealthier

population might be more inclined to vote for the status quo.

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