The 1970s was a decade of economic hardship for many. High inflation and sluggish growth were combined with mounting uncertainty about the relevance of well-established Keynesian theories, as noted in Chapter 4. Following the deep recession of the early 1980s, the nation entered a period commonly described as the great moderation. Policymakers eschewed active fiscal policy, placing greater faith in markets. For the next few decades, steady growth, low unemployment, and price stability led many to hope that the business cycle had been tamed. For many Americans, the period also brought a new affluence. The stock market rose to new levels and home ownership rates broke all records. President Clinton and President Bush both vigorously promoted the expansion of homeownership as a social policy goal. As Clinton explained when announcing his 1995 National Homeownership Strategy, an effort to leverage the resources of lenders, community groups, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac to meet ambitious housing goals:

Home ownership encourages savings and investment. When a family buys a home, the ripple effect is enormous. It means new homeowner consumers. They need more durable goods, like washers and dryers, refrigerators and water heaters. And if more families could buy new homes or older homes, more hammers will be pounding, more saws will be buzzing. Homebuilders and home fixers will be put to work. When we boost the number of homeowners in our country, we strengthen our economy, create jobs, build up the middle class, and build better citizens. 1