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Surprise, surprise: 10,000 foreclosures daily in the U.S. This Reuters article says that:

More than 360,000 households with loans drew a foreclosure filing in July, a record dating back to January 2005, when RealtyTrac started tracking monthly activity.

As Columbia University sociologist Saskia Sassen notes in her eye-opening article on the future of finance capitalism,

An estimated 10-to-12 million households in the US will not be able to pay their mortgages over the next four years; under current conditions they would lose their home.

10-12 million homes is about 7.8% to 10% of the nation's entire housing stock of 128 million units, as of 2007.

Here's a roundup of recent interesting items. Readers, please ADD YOUR FAVORITE LINKS! And thanks in advance for your terrific comments.

Poll

President Obama's $75 billion Making Home Affordable program is

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| 34 votes | Vote | Results

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Wow, the comments to Part IV, posted yesterday, sure are interesting. Only a few of 'em so far - four sceptics and a naysayer - but they sure do tell a story.

The story has two parts. The Sceptics say Making Home Affordable (MHA) isn't working as promised. And the Naysayer says MHA was a bad idea to begin with, that it "will keep housing prices high, making it less affordable for new buyers/lower-income buyers to buy a home." How about that! Naysayer is silent on the problem of what happens to 10 or 12 million homeless American families. But his comment squares with a strong line of reasoning voiced at this Diary, namely that government bailouts of failed homeowners are just as harmful to economic recovery as government bailouts of failed banks.

This two-part story is confirmed by the experience of ADC14 (a Sceptic) and the (mostly sceptical) comments to his diary. Well worth a read.

OK, time to sum up. Bottom line, this diary's assessment of Making Home Affordable (MHA) remains HARSH. From what I've hearing, MHA seems to be working for perhaps 5% of applicants. The other 95% are frustrated, to put it mildly. Make sense to you?

Poll

HOW ACCURATE IS THIS DIARY'S ASSESSMENT OF MAKING HOME AFFORDABLE?

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| 10 votes | Vote | Results

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It sure is hard to get a handle on Making Home Affordable (MFA). Media coverage is scant and until recently, program information was hard to find and opaque when found. (But while still opaque, it at least exists now: see the Quick Links at the FinancialStability.gov MHA page.)

Our "Civic media" job at this diary is to assess MFA as fairly as we can and then to see if we can get media and government to respond and make needed changes. To this end, we've been asking if MHA is making a positive difference in your life or those of the 4-9 million at-risk homeowners MHA is supposed to benefit.

Hate to say it, but your 50 comments so far (from 20 commenters)in Parts I-III of this diary were not positive.

So today, in Part IV, we're giving a fairly negative assessment of MHA's effectiveness to date. You can validate or invalidate this assessment in today's poll. The more people who respond, the more weight this diary will carry if and when we start linking up with real estate reporters and government officials.

Poll

HOW ACCURATE IS THE ABOVE ASSESSMENT OF MAKING HOME AFFORDABLE?

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| 14 votes | Vote | Results

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With Making Home Affordable (MFA) President Obama allocated $75 billion to assist 4-5 million at risk homeowners (that's $15,000 per home.) We're gonna change the focus for this diary a bit. It will now focus on at risk homeowners who have applied, or may apply, to MHA. How is MHA working for you? Rate your own experience in the poll below. Here are some factors to consider:

∙ Availability of qualifying information for MHA at official sites like Making  Home Affordable
∙ Helpfulness of the counseling services to which your lender referred you
∙ Availability of useful coverage of MHA in media, pro or con.
∙ Helpfulness of your lender in processing your application
∙ Fairness of your lender's final determination of your application.

Have I missed anything? The life of this diary will be in your comments ahnd stories about how MHA has helped or hindered you, guided or misled you in your attempt to work with the program as President Obama said it would work.

Poll

My Overall Rating of Making Home Affordable (-5 is terrible, +5 is great)

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| 25 votes | Vote | Results

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Making Home Affordable (MFA) allocates $75 billion to assist 5 million homeowners (that's $15,000 per home.) So is MFA delivering on its promise to help homeowners? Is it helping to stabilize home prices or is it a waste of taxpayer dollars? Every Wednesday this diary will update you on these questions. We'll give you the best info we can find on MFA's impact, its application process, and its coverage in media (see the June 11 entry for starters). Each update will sum up poll results and comments on your experiences, opinions, discoveries and expertise. Our goal is to link up with other media and with the Obama administration. The President has promised to listen to the American people. Properly handled, this little diary can generate constructive dialog between citizens and the administrators of Making Home Affordable.

So let's get the dialog going!

Poll

Poll #2: How Do YOU Relate to Making Home Affordable (MHA)

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| 23 votes | Vote | Results

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Is President Obama's $75 billion Making Home Affordable program (MHA) important to you? The White House website describes MHA as follows:

Millions of hard-working, responsible families are at risk of losing their homes as home prices fall and jobs are threatened. The Making Home Affordable Refinancing program will expand access to refinancing for up to 4 to 5 million families who are current on their mortgages but otherwise unable to refinance because their homes have lost value.

You can give your opinion on the poll below. Use comments to elaborate or discuss the following:

  1. Do you qualify for assistance under MHA?
  1. Was your home foreclosed after you applied for MHA assistance?
  1. What would you tell someone who's thinking to apply to MHA?
  1. Is MHA a good or necessary? Will it make a positive or negative difference?
  1. Where are you finding USEFUL information about MHA?

Thanks!

Poll

How Do YOU Relate to Making Home Affordable (MHA)

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| 63 votes | Vote | Results

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Want to penetrate DEEP into heart of the GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS - get at the problems behind the problems behind the problems? That's my modest goal in Weathering the Storm, a civic media finance blog. I'm no financial pro, just an English teacher and Real Estate Broker who reads a lot and has an eye for the best financial writers - left, right and center - whose insights I pass along in this blog. (To be honest, I'm looking for more good writers from the center and right and would welcome your input.)

The blog also has a civic media purpose:

"World Cup Final? Imagine a World Cup civic media contest with an audience of billions participating in a search to find the best solution to the world's economic plight. I see no reason why this contest cannot happen today - except that the world's financial elite seem not to want to happen. The technology for it already exists: the contest would integrate the resources of American Idol, CNBC and social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter."

Poll

Would you watch or participate in an American Idol-type contest for the best solution to the world's economic crisis?

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| 6 votes | Vote | Results

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It's exciting to see American democracy reborn thanks to modern communications technologies. Sites like Daily Kos are at long last breaking network TV’s decades-long stranglehold on America's political decision-making process. Americans are still far from having a truly informed voice in the political decisions that affect their lives, but we're closer to this goal today than we were 10 years ago.

I want to help realize this goal via a non-partisan, issue-centered, decision-making civic media that makes citizens and government responsive and accountable to each other in solving the problems AND maximizing the opportunities that will shape the nation’s future. My sites:

Archive of 1990’s civic media work in Chicago. Focus: gangs and drugs
America’s Choice treatment for politically-themed reality TV  
Seeding Civic Media civic media formats
Weathering the Storm on the global finance crisis

Poll

Are you bothered by the dynastic presence in American politics?

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| 42 votes | Vote | Results

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It's exciting to see American democracy reborn thanks to modern communications technologies. Sites like Daily Kos are at long last breaking network TV’s decades-long stranglehold on America's political decision-making process. Americans are still far from having a truly informed voice in the political decisions that affect their lives, but we're closer to this goal today than we were 10 years ago.

I want to help realize this goal via a non-partisan, issue-centered, decision-making civic media that makes citizens and government responsive and accountable to each other in solving the problems AND maximizing the opportunities that will shape the nation’s future. My sites:

Archive of 1990’s civic media work in Chicago. Focus: gangs and drugs
America’s Choice 2006 treatment for politically-themed reality TV  
Seeding Civic Media Innovative civic media formats
Weathering the Storm How civic media can abate the global finance crisis

Continue Reading
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