By JLP | January 30, 2012
I read this last Friday in the WSJ: The Loan Quota Rule
For the latest example of regulatory overreach, look no further than the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is pushing through a rule to support racial loan quotas a few months before the Supreme Court will rule on whether that’s legal. The Obama Administration’s “fair housing” agenda, apparently, just can’t wait.
At issue is the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination “because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin” (our italics). The language clearly implies an intent to discriminate. But courts have brushed the pesky text aside over the years, citing language in other 1960s-era statutes that allows the use of “disparate impact” analysis, which doesn’t require intent and relies instead on statistical data about lending outcomes over larger populations of borrowers.
That prohibition against discrimination is not the same thing as quotas. I’m all for fair lending standards. If a person qualifies for a mortgage based on finances, then they should be able to get the loan. However, I am 100% against giving them a loan in order to meet some sort of racial quota regardless of whether or not they can afford the loan. It seems as though we have been down this road before.