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Carter seeks spadework to ease mortgage costs

President Carter has created a task force to investigate the problem of high interest rates and recommend ways to reduce mortgage costs and help the construction industry. Signing a bill authorizing $31.2 billion to assist in building low-cost housing, Mr. Carter criticized banks and mortgage lending firms, saying the high rates resulted from an overreaction by financial institutions and were not justified by the state of the economy. Inflation and high interest rates are a threat to the President in this re-election battle. After dropping when inflation eased earlier this year, rates have soared to 14 percent in recent weeks.