AgentIndustry News

Credit crunch fixes? Policymakers need to get on with it

Commentary: Adequate supply of credit should be top priority now

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Long-term mortgage rates are beginning to trickle back down from the peculiar spike of the last two weeks. The lowest-fee mortgages went from 6.375 percent to 6.25 percent; the 10-year T-note went from 3.9 percent to 3.8 percent -- the immense spread is a measure of deepening crunch. The data continued a pattern going back to last fall. The job market is holding surprisingly well: New claims for unemployment insurance have been steady for two months at an elevated but nonrecession 350,000 weekly. Inflation is real, with the core rate way out of bounds at 2.5 percent, complicating the Federal Reserve's life. The Philadelphia Fed's newest survey continued to indicate recession, but this time a longer-term slowdown. The public policy response to the credit crunch here is paralyzed; not in Europe, where outright bailouts of banks by the dozen are underway from the U.K. to Germany. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson insists that this adventure is a normal, cyclical re-pricin...