President Obama speaking in Virginia yesterday.
Photo by Cliff Owen/Associated Press
It's presidential campaign season and though completely unopposed at this point, President Obama is in full campaign mode.
To wit, his latest gambit pushing for a $5 to 10 billion plan to help certain home owners, those currently keeping up on their monthly payments but whose mortgages are under water.
The proposal would affect 3.5 million homeowners with good credit, but can't refinance at today's low rates because their homes current value is less than what they owe.
His argument is these homeowners can't afford to let the housing market bottom out is a direct counter to Mitt Romney (his likely opponent next November) who remarked recently that the housing market needed to "hit the bottom" before it could recover.
So the president was clearly aiming a campaign jab solely at Romney intending to show their differences where he is squarely on the side of helping homeowners while Romney's remarks revealed he could care less about the homeowner's plight.
But really, it's all political theatre. The Republicans, particularly in the House, aren't about to endorse Obama's plan which was highlighted by House Speaker Boehner saying, "How many times have we done this? I don't know why anyone would think this next program would work." It has no chance of being enacted.
So Obama's plan is really dead in the water, but to borrow a phrase from ex-president, now wise man Bill Clinton, it shows Obama "feels your pain."
The bottom line is, if this president really cared about homeowners, he'd have pushed for helping ALL homeowners in distress way back in the first 100 days in his presidency in 2009.
Back then the sub-prime mortgage bubble had burst in 2008, millions were already being foreclosed upon, most couldn't get refinancing, their mortgages out valued by the homes current worth, people were walking away from their homes, many people were in bankruptcy court and judges weren't permitted to force mortgage holders to rework and refinance with homeowners i.e. reduce principal based on the current market value ("cramdown") which would have permitted people to remain in their homes.
Obama's supporting these types of real reform would have taken guts. It would have meant directly confronting intransigence on the right. It would have been politically risky. It would have meant taking on the big banks. And this was before the "robo signing" scandal that showed the big banks and other large mortgage holders were continuing to scam the system.
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