Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Republicans & Blue Dogs Are OK With Helping Banksters But Balk At Helping Homeowners


Sure, let's take their advice again

As Rush Limbaugh and his devotees in the Grand Obstructionist Party-- newest on the list is Indiana's most extremist kook, Mike Pence-- stick pins in Obama dolls and pray that he fail, the President's job approval rating with real Americans has continues to skyrocket. At the same time that Republican disarray and their circular firing squad is confirming in the minds of most Americans that they were right to cast them out of government, the Republicans-- along with corporate shills like Ellen Tauscher and their treacherous Blue Dog allies-- are seeking to further undermine social cohesion for narrow partisan gain. When I woke this morning, CNN was broadcasting some chilling new statistics: one in five mortgages are underwater. That represents 8.3 million homes. Obama and most congressional Democrats are moving quickly to staunch the flow of blood. But reactionaries-- more concerned with the vile banksters and Wall Street speculators who brought on this crisis than with their own constituents or even the nation-- are threatening to obstruct and filibuster every step of the way. Remember when there was talk of right-wing Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh being Obama's VP nominee? Now Bayh is positioning himself as a proto-Republican in the battle against working families.

It's important to not just blame George Bush for the economic mess he left behind. In fact it even goes beyond the Republicans in Congress (and their Blue Dog allies) who rubber stamped every item on his toxic and tragic agenda. The real culprit is the right-wing philosophy that deifies the Law of the Jungle. Haggling with Tauscher and other right-wing Democrats representing Wall Street and the Republicans, the House leadership has watered down the legislation meant to allow bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of some mortgages on primary residences. Republicans are still opposed to helping anyone-- except the banksters, of course.
On Tuesday, Democratic leaders made concessions to a group of balking lawmakers who had sidetracked the housing bill last week. They agreed to add to the bill (HR 1106) limits designed to make it more likely that the courts intervene only as a last resort.

Under current law, bankruptcy judges are permitted to modify mortgages on second homes, and can even reduce loan principal on second homes, but not on primary residences.

The banking industry has been lobbying furiously against the proposal to give judges the ability to do the same for primary homes.

The industry’s position is that such a change could raise mortgage interest rates for typical home buyers and cause a rush to bankruptcy by others.

Backers of the effort to give the judges more power say they want to give lenders an incentive to avoid foreclosure by reworking loans before a court intervenes.

The mortgage bill is expected to return to the House floor by Thursday, and backers will move to amend the measure then to reflect the deal.

Firedoglake managed to get its hands on the actual changes to the legislation and this morning the Obama Administration released their own guidelines.
The program has two major components: a refinancing program for homeowners with little equity in their homes, and a loan modification effort for borrowers at risk of losing their homes. It is expected to help up to 9 million homeowners lower their mortgage payments.

Nevada is in the worst shape-- with 55% of homeowners underwater. The Republican response is to call them all "losers." That would also apply to 40% of Michigan homeowners, 32% of Arizona homeowners and 30% of homeowners in California and Florida. (New York, Connecticut and New Jersey have the lowest share of underwater mortgages but it's odd that members of Congress from these three states vigorously favor the government helping out homeowners while Republicans and Blue Dogs in the most afflicted states are the most resistant to assistance. Let's hope the catastrophic announcement of private sector job losses for February encourages these hacks-- on both sides of the aisle-- to stop obstructing Obama.

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At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of spending a trillion dollars bailing out banks that took too many risks and car companies that make crappy cars, why not just give, say, $10,000 to every taxpayer?

That way, homeowners would get some serious help with the mortgage, debtors could pay off some debt, and renters, who had the good sense not to pay an outrageous price for a house with a preposterous mortgage, would have a little spending money.

At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Portuguese Water Dog are wonderful pets, their curly hairs are so handsome and they are good for allergic people. A good choice for the Obama family, now some questions remain: male or female, how will they call it?


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