Insurance is critical to our economy and our lives and, taken as a whole, surprisingly big. Americans spend nearly as much each year on insurance coverage as on food. But insurance rests on a promise that, if the worst happens, you will be protected. Why should we believe that promise? Because for nearly 200 years, state governments have audited insurance companies’ books and watched their payment records to be sure they keep their word.
In 1934, the federal government replaced a failed system of home finance, which featured short-term loans, with long-term mortgages backed by federal loan guarantees. If you have a 15- 20- or 30-year mortgage, you can thank the federal government for it.