Addressing The Foreclosure Crisis Must Be Part of Obama Appeal To Middle Class

Jan 13 2012 Published by under Featured News

Anyone who has seen the full version of the wonderfully devastating video “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” should come away convinced that Mitt’s opponents have learned a thing or two about Mitt’s beloved term “creative destruction” themselves. Because this lengthy ad is one of the most creative pieces of creative destruction – as in destruction of a candidate – that I have ever seen. It’s never, ever over ’til it’s over, but right about now it feels pretty good not being a Republican. Kind of like roasting an elephant-shaped marshmallow over a fire.

That being said, like I said, it’s never over ’til it’s over. And in that spirit it would seem that as a significant part of President Obama’s defender of the middle class re-election strategy his administration should pay more close attention to the ongoing fallout from the foreclosure crisis that has wreaked havoc on so many middle class families. More specifically, what drew my attention back to this issue were several relatively recent articles in Time Magazine , CBS News Moneywatch, and The Hill.

There’s a lot to digest, but the bottom line message is that those institutions that contributed so greatly to the foreclosure crisis – institutions such as Countrywide Financial Corp. need to be held far more accountable than they have been thus far for the willing role they played in destroying so many lives, and that much more needs to be done to stem the continuing tide of home foreclosures. To quote CBS News’ MoneyWatch:

Bank of America will pay $335 million to settle federal allegations that its Countrywide unit discriminated against minorities in the years leading up to the housing crash. Does the punishment fit the crime?

Not in my book. Countrywide, the nation’s largest peddler of subprime loans in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act in overcharging more than 200,000 black and Hispanic borrowers for mortgage loans. As a result, minority borrowers paid hundreds or thousands of dollars more to get a mortgage than did similarly qualified white customers. The government also said Countrywide steered blacks and Hispanics with good credit into subprime loans.

In other words, discrimination at Countrywide wasn’t unusual — it was embedded in the lender’s business model.

And in The Hill it’s reported that a group of California Democrats are openly pushing for the President to replace the temporary head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, accusing Edward DeMarco of not sufficiently utilizing the agency’s powers to more forcefully address the foreclosure issue. DeMarco makes the argument that he wasn’t brought in for such a broad fight and was only tasked with trying to help fix the mess of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which may or may not be true. I honestly don’t know for sure. But what is apparent is that the issue of foreclosures is still looming large enough on the radar screen for a not-insignificant contingent of California Democrats to be making noise about it to Obama during an election year.

 

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