In need of a sheriff indeed:

(CNN) — The recent wave of defaults in the subprime mortgage sector that sent shocks through Wall Street has caught the attention of Congress.

More than 2 million people with subprime loans are facing foreclosure this year and nearly 20 percent of subprime mortgages issued between 2005 and 2006 are projected to fail, according to a December 2006 study by the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonpartisan research and policy organization.

Foreclosures in the subprime mortgage market are expected to cost American households as much as $164 billion in lost equity from 1998 through 2006, the center reported.

Yep. When you have to sell a house you bought for $180k for $150k, that’s a bad thing. The prices are being driven down due to a glut of houses and the continual building that went hand in hand with qualifying people in a negligent manner in order to unload all the “inventory”. Again, I know. I’m at ground zero for all of this. People who bought in good faith and are now trying to just move to a new job in another state are taking huge hits because of the unfair (and soon to be illegal I hope) practices of some of these lenders. I’m glad to see this get the attention it needs. I’m seeing stories all over the place. Some are even saying this mess will throw us into recession, others say it will continue to be painful absent a full-on recession.

There was an intitial upside to all of this. Home ownership did go up, especially among blacks and hispanics. The price we paid was pretty dear and the loan practices border on the criminal.