Fed Taking Heat on Housing Policies

Some think the Federal Reserve crossed the line with its recent housing policy white paper.

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The Federal Reserve got an earful from the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, after the publication called the central bank's recent white paper advocating for more government and taxpayer intervention in the housing market "extraordinary political intrusion."

The 26-page white paper the Fed delivered to Congress last week—without invitation, the Journal noted—seeks to provide a "framework for thinking about certain issues and tradeoffs that policy makers might consider" when it comes to the ailing housing market.

That framework included discussion on how to best deal with the glut of foreclosures on the U.S. housing market's hands and how to assist homeowners on the brink of default or foreclosure.

But some think the Federal Reserve has crossed the line and overstepped its mandate with the white paper. The Journal even goes so far as to accuse the central bank of using the document to "provide intellectual cover for politicians to spend more taxpayer money to support housing prices," again dredging up the political independence of the Federal Reserve.

"Its Board of Governors is now dominated by Obama appointees who share the interventionist designs of their colleagues in the White House," the Journal wrote.

[Read: Is Foreclosure Relief Finally on the Way?]

But others aren't so sure sinister backdoor dealings are taking place between the Fed and the White House and have come out in support of the Fed's unusual move to urge Congress to revisit what's keeping the housing market in limbo.

"Good advice," a Bloomberg editorial lauded. "Housing is where the recession started, and it remains one of the main things holding back the recovery."

Whether or not the Federal Reserve stuck its nose where it didn't belong with the housing policy white paper, plans to sell government-owned foreclosures in bulk to investors—one of the Fed's recommendations—could be on the way.

What do you think? Did the Federal Reserve go too far with its housing policy white paper?

mhandley@usnews.com

Twitter: @mmhandley

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