Department of Housing and Urban Development

Peter Schiff In the Octagon with Furious Congressbots

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Peter Schiff, broadcasting from somewhere on the North American land mass.

Peter Schiff, the investment seer and radio show host best known around here for engaging with Occupy Wall Street scenesters, got a chilly reception at a House hearing on Oversight of Federal Housing Administration's Multifamily Insurance Programs the other day, and has posted a highlight reel at the Youtubes. 

Schiff breaks out his plays of the day: 

6:06 – My Opening Statement

11:16 – "I don't know whether to go to Mr. Schiff or not, but I guess I will"—Judy Biggert (R)
I explain to Chairwoman Judy Biggert why federal involvement in home lending has created more problems than it has solved.

16:22 – "Despite all the sound and fury, there's not a lot of details…"—Robert Hurt (R)
My proposals that old regulations be repealed, rather than new ones proposed, in order for the free market to come up with solutions are repeatedly lost on Congressman Robert Hurt. 

25:16 – "Mr. Schiff, I just have one question…"—Emanuel Cleaver (D)
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II unsuccessfully tries to 'nail' me. Instead, a spirited discussion ensues in which I remind the congressman of the moral hazard and economic costs of government subsidies. 

30:38 – "Maybe that happens in an Ayn Rand novel…"—Dan Sherman (D) 
Congressman Dan Sherman asserts that as a practical matter the federal government, in one way or another, insures all homes, and that only characters in an Ayn Rand novel would believe otherwise. 

Correction: That's not Dan Sherman but Rad Brad Sherman, the Sherman Oaks Democrat, occasional critic of Obama Administration policies and weather machine expert who I was interested to see seems to have a substantial lead over smart-money favorite Howard Berman in their squabble over a jerrymandered San Fernando Valley seat.

Sherman, who voted against the 2008 TARP bailout, is refreshingly post-ethical in his calls for taxpayers to support lifestyles and political structures he knows to be unsustainable. In 2009, when I asked about the wisdom of having the Federal Housing Administration continue to underwrite loans on million-dollar houses, Sherman replied, "The economy of Los Angeles would tank if prices fell another 50 percent." The pattern holds here. His argument to Schiff is that government must subsidize insurance because to avoid doing so would subject Washington, DC to extortion during "front-page natural disasters."