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Quick quiz question: what was the first Executive Order issued by president Donald Trump? You are probably imagining some big newsy thing; what might leap to mind, something to do with borders or immigration or the 'making of America great again.' Or, if your mind is on the topic, you might think it has something to do with that hiring freeze, or with that recurring tradition by which every new administration of the opposing party prohibits or lifts the prohibition on foreign aid being used to talk to people about abortion.

In fact, it was none of these. The very first Executive Order to which Trump appended his signature, the one so urgent that it could not wait until the end of his Inauguration Day, was one raising the cost of mortgages on middle class home buyers.

You see, there's this government entity called the Federal Housing Administration. And what the FHA does is to insure mortgages, so that banks feel less skittish about issuing them, so more people can buy houses, with all the economic benefit home buying is understood to entail. But like any insurance, there's a cost involved, and this cost is passed to the home buyer, incorporated into their mortgage rate. And on the way out the door, as a sort of parting gift to America, outgoing President Barack Obama saw that this agency was taking in more than it needed to cover its obligations and cut this rate by a quarter point -- an amount which would, for the average home buyer, add up to a savings of $500 per year.

Now, one would think that any change which would cut the costs going from the pockets of consumers and into the pockets of a federal government agency would be applauded by those assertedly intent on lifting the burden of government costs from the people. But for whatever reason, here the opposite happened, and the yoke was plopped back on before it even had a chance to disappear. Which is especially curious as the choice for the very first act of a supposedly small-government favoring administration. So when you come to the end of the year and you're balancing your books, and find yourself wishing you had another $500 in your pocket, remember to thank your President for taking that away from you with that very first Executive Order of his.

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