The massive lawsuits that the federal government brought last week against many of the largest U.S. and global banks underscore the deepening tension within the executive branch with regard to housing.

At issue is how to allocate the staggering, debt-fueled losses that stem from the bursting of the housing bubble starting in 2007. Families that borrowed to buy homes will obviously bear a large share of the losses. The rest of the tab will ultimately be divided between lenders, private investors and U.S. taxpayers. How much each group will pay is still to be determined.

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