A commentator in a recent diary suggested I "stop whining" after perceiving an anti-Obama sentiment regarding recent EPA actions on the environment. Although a life-long environmentalist and democratic party activist, I do recognize the importance of preventing the Republicans from taking over 3 branches of government. At the same time, the Obama campaign needs to hear criticism from its base when such criticism is needed. Environmental concessions in a perceived effort to solidify moderate votes is not news, agreed. I do applaud the Administration for not including eastern Gulf of Mexico waters in its recent decision to reopen leases for oil and gas drilling.
There is another huge issue pending related to the title of the diary, and the Obama campaign needs to recognize the huge risk it is taking in following through with the AG Foreclosure Settlement deal. Georgetown Law Professor Adam Levitin outlines the pros and cons of the deal and his anger is palpable.
The deal doesn't buy peace for the banks or stability for the US housing market. It just blows the government's last wad on a sideshow issue, robosigning. Consider all the critical issues the settlement does not (and cannot) address:
•The $700B in negative equity in the US.
•Clouded title from MERS
•Clouded title from wrongful foreclosrues
•Billions in investor putback and securities fraud claims
•Investor suits against trustee banks
•Disposal of the REO inventory and the shadow REO inventory
If the deal is to help the US housing market on a macro-scale, it has to take a major bite out of negative equity. $20B isn't even a scratch.
It gets better, take a look:
He ends with a warning for Obama:
The Administration Only Gets One More Bite at the Apple
A final thought. Yves Smith made a trenchant political observation at the AmeriCatalyst mortgage conference yesterday: the Administration only gets one more bite at the apple in terms of getting the housing market right. If the Administration flubs this, as they have consistently flubbed the housing issue, by going small bore and trying to sweep problems under the rug, rather than addressing them, there are serious political implications. It doesn't take a lot to connect the dots between the multistate settlement and the deep national demand for accountability for the financial crisis that is manifesting itself in OWS and the need to take real action to deal with the housing market problems that are at the core of the US's economic woes.
I'm not sure where the Administration's political team is on this one, but imho, it seems like they are letting Treasury drive the 2012 campaign off the cliff via this settlement that will confirm the perception that the Administration works for Wall Street, not Main Street. And if you think I'm nuts on this, just read the first line of the NYT editorial: "The banks want California, and the Obama administration hopes they can get it." In a country craving accountability for the financial crisis and its aftermath, being cozy with the banks is the wrong place to be when approaching a general election.
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