I like this.
You may remember Mitt Romney's remarks last year that we need to foreclose and foreclose and let the market hit bottom:
As for what to do for the housing industry specifically, and are there things that you can do to encourage housing? One is don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up. The Obama administration has slow-walked the foreclosure processes that have long existed and as a result we still have a foreclosure overhang.
Today, President Obama responded on behalf of the 99% in what I think will be the first of many contrasts:
"It is wrong for anyone to suggest that the only option for struggling, responsible homeowners is to sit and wait for the housing market to hit rock bottom. I refuse to accept that and so do the American people."
And the President is trying to do something about it:
President Obama on Wednesday rolled out new proposals aimed at helping troubled homeowners, including a plan that would allow more borrowers to take advantage of record-low interest rates and lower their monthly mortgage payments.WaPo
Up to 3.5 million people who do not currently have federally backed loans might be eligible for the program, administration officials said. Another 11 million people who currently hold government-backed loans from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also could potentially benefit.
A central piece of the president’s plan would allow qualified homeowners to refinance their mortgages at current historically low interest rates. Unlike earlier proposals, the new refinance measure will cover not only home loans guaranteed by federal mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but also those owned by private investors, according to senior administration officials.
The cost of undertaking those refinancings, Obama said last week, would be paid for by a fee on large financial firms to ensure “it won’t add to the deficit and will give those banks that were rescued by the taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.” The program’s estimated price tag is between $5 billion and $10 billion.
“While the government cannot fix the housing market on its own, the President believes that responsible homeowners should not have to sit and wait for the market to hit bottom to get relief when there are measures at hand that can make a meaningful difference,” a White House statement said Wednesday, “including allowing these homeowners to save thousands of dollars by refinancing at today’s low interest rates.”
This may not be a panecea; it may not help everyone. But it will help some, and, to me, that's good. Of course, the Republicans will try to prevent it.
There will be a clear contrast in the 2012 election. Mitt Romney is the .0001% The President represents the people.
Update I: More details from Meteor Blades excellent front page diary:
• The Department of Justice is establishing a working group of at least 55 DOJ attorneys, analysts, agents and investigators from around the country who will join existing state and federal resources investigating similar misconduct under those authorities.
• A refinancing plan will help "responsible borrowers" save an average of $3,000 per year.
• The Homeowner Bill of Rights will include: access to a simple mortgage disclosure form, so borrowers can better understand the loans they are seeking; full disclosure of fees and penalties; guidelines to prevent conflicts of interest; support to keep responsible families in their homes and out of foreclosure; and protection against inappropriate foreclosure, including right of appeal.
• Provide a full year of mortgage-payment forbearance for borrowers looking for work.
• $15 billion in federal funds to put construction workers on the job rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses.
Ckeck out MB's diary for more details and links. This will help some folks.