It turns out that governments might not be that great a giving out mortgages

So is the government really able to do a good job lending out taxpayer money? Does a default rate three times higher than other financial institutions in the area look good? Of course, DC has lots of extra money that they don't mind throwing away. From the Washington Post:

D.C. housing officials have routinely subsidized home purchases that low-income buyers could not afford, paving the way for foreclosures, liens and financial hardships.

Nearly one in five buyers participating in the city’s 35-year-old loan program for first-time homeowners is behind on mortgage payments, city officials said — a default rate that’s at least three times higher than the overall rate in the region. Nearly 50 buyers have received notices of foreclosure in recent years, while more than 50 others have struggled with homeowner association or utility liens, The Washington Post has found.

DeAngelo McDonald, a Metro bus driver and father of six who earns $61,000 a year, financed a $338,000 house in 2008, in part with a loan from the city, paying double what city loan officials had estimated he could afford. His three-bedroom home in Southeast is now in foreclosure.

“I was a first-time home buyer thinking that everything was on the up and up,” said McDonald, 48, who declared bankruptcy in 2009. “At any minute, we could be out on the street. It’s heartbreaking. It’s scary. I don’t know what could happen, especially with my kids.”

For more than three decades, the District has helped buyers offset the cost of housing with loans for as much as $77,000. . . .

Now the state legislature in Washington State is talking about setting up a state bank.

The idea of a state bank - a favorite of the Occupy movement that sees it as an alternative to Wall Street - has strong support among the Democrats who control the state House. Speaker Frank Chopp called it a top priority last week in a speech opening this year's session of the Legislature.

"I think people see this as a form of empowerment, that we're going to try to do something in our state to regain control over the safety of our finances," said David Spring, a community-college instructor from North Bend who has spoken at Occupy rallies.Skeptics wonder where the money would come from to accomplish the bank's goals, such as making low-interest loans to college students and to local governments for public works.

Republican lawmakers and the Democratic state treasurer, Jim McIntire, say government programs already exist to serve those functions. The Public Works Trust Fund loans out hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Washington's local governments for infrastructure, and an alphabet soup of agencies have similar goals, including the Community Economic Revitalization Board, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and the Transportation State Infrastructure Bank. . . .

"Why set up a whole new bureaucracy?" asked Rep. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor. "And one step leads to another step and next thing you know we have a full-blown financial institution that is in direct competition with our financial industry - which by the way is very good in this state." . . .

The proposed Washington state bank is modeled on the 93-year-old, state-run Bank of North Dakota. . . .



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