Last summer, the Obama Administration threw $50 billion of your tax money down the mortgage foreclosure rat hole. Yesterday came news of what happens when Washington showers another $75 billion on mortgage holders without even requiring evidence that they can pay it back. It's called the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, and it's imploding:
The Obama administration's flagship effort to help people in danger of losing their homes is falling flat.
More than a third of the 1.24 million borrowers who have enrolled in the $75 billion mortgage modification program have dropped out. That exceeds the number of people who have managed to have their loan payments reduced to help them keep their homes.
A major reason so many have fallen out of the program is the Obama administration initially pressured banks to sign up borrowers without insisting first on proof of their income. When banks later moved to collect the information, many troubled homeowners were disqualified or dropped out.
As more people leave the program, a new wave of foreclosures could occur. If that happens, it could weaken the housing market and hold back the broader economic recovery.
Credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings projects that about two-thirds of borrowers with permanent modifications under the Obama plan will default again within a year after getting their loans modified.
Apparently the brain trust in the White House just discovered that people without incomes tend to default on mortgages, even after the government restructures the terms. That's one heck of an expensive experiment.
How did we get here, and how does it affect Ohio's 13th District? We can thank our Democrat Congresswoman, Betty Sutton.
Surely someone like her with lots of documented Warm Fuzzy Feelings™ toward "the little guy" knows exactly how to solve the crisis, right? Silly voter! Of course she knows what we need. It's the answer to all our problems: more government control and more government spending!
Almost exactly one year before the economic crash of October 2008, Betty displayed her prescience and her knack for decisive action by calling for Congress to pass a bill establishing a commission to study the connection between home foreclosures and people with crappy credit. Inspiring leadership, to be sure. I nearly fainted in response.
At the risk of over-stimulating your senses, I offer you the composition of what would have been Betty's commission:
- A commission chair appointed by the Speaker of the House
- The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
- The Chairman of the Federal Reserve
- The CEO of Fannie Mae
- The CEO of Freddie Mac
- 2 members appointed by the Speaker of the House
- 2 members appointed by the House minority leader
- 2 members appointed by the Senate majority leader
- 2 members appointed by the Senate minority leader
Did you notice the CEOs on the commission? They're the geniuses running the two biggest culprits (other than Congress) behind the foreclosure crisis and the current economic collapse.
Betty's commission would have reported back to Congress eight months after the bill's enactment. If Congress had acted at light speed and passed her bill on the same day she introduced it in September 2007, this would have left Betty and friends all of four months before the crash to respond again ... no doubt by adding government regulations to the over-regulated mortgage industry, and increasing government handouts to people with underwater mortgages and crappy credit. Or maybe they would have just created a new commission to study the report of the first commission's studies.
Two months later in November 2007, Betty voted in favor of a 189-page bill adding new layers of federal regulation to the mortgage lending market. Before it left the House, she tacked on an amendment mandating new federal notices warning mortgage holders of basic contract terms that any honest person with an ounce of common sense would examine before taking out a loan. Three cheers for more mandatory paperwork!
In May 2008 Betty voted to spend $8.4 billion of your money on grants to state governments so they could buy foreclosed homes. Let's hear it for more government interference with what used to be a free market!
In June 2008, Betty supported a bill adding yet more government interference (including a mortgage refinancing scheme for people with crappy credit) and federal regulations in an effort to "fix" the home foreclosure crisis. Please hold your applause, Ohio, because we're just getting started.
In October 2008 the government-distorted economy finally crashed, much to the professed surprise of government-worshiping Democrats. It didn't stop them from riding the public's panic into office, but Betty and her friends sure put on a convincing shocked face.
After a mere four months of Democrat histrionics against the regulation-hobbled market for cruelly failing to prevent the inevitable, and one day after signing the gargantuan $1 trillion stimulus into law, President Obama responded to this crisis as he always does; he proposed federal entitlements and regulations to solve a problem caused by federal entitlements and regulations. Thus was the $75 billion Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan born. When Obama gave a stultifying speech demanding Congressional action, Betty cheered:
I also look forward to working with President Obama to help the millions of Americans who are struggling to stay in their homes. Last month, Ohio ranked tenth in the nation in foreclosures. Many families are watching their home values decline and owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. President Obama has a plan to help these families continue to pay their mortgages and avoid the loss of their home. I am hopeful that this plan will effectively help those in need.
Watch how she used subtle understatement to get her point across:
Voting against this $75 billion boondoggle would have caused mass suicides by NE Ohio grannies!!!1!!1! How could could she say no?
In March 2009 Betty and friends passed the bill, which grants bankruptcy court judges the authority to unilaterally break legal contracts and reduce interest rates or extend repayment periods up to 40 years for mortgages. She would have preferred a more heavy-handed solution, like mandating kickbacks to ACORN, but it was the best she could do at the time.
Now here we are, a little over a year later, watching the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan crash and burn. Betty Sutton enthusiastically pushed it through, but she needs to distance herself from this latest failed government intervention. There's an election in 133 days, so she's practicing her shocked face and trying to figure out how to escape responsibility for the problems she caused.
Whenever the evening news reports a problem, Betty Sutton sees a new opportunity to grow the power of the federal government, spend your tax dollars on her friends, and score piles of campaign cash. The foreclosure crisis is just another excuse to exploit your difficulties and stoke your resentments. She'll blame George W. Bush, Republicans, special interests, mortgage lenders, lobbyists, corporations, rich white men, the Illuminati, sunspots, and your neighbor's dog if it will convince you to send her back to Washington and spread some more of that magic Obama Money™ around. Pay no attention to that long unbroken record of central governments failing to manage economies. This time it'll be different. Betty and her socialist friends just need one more crack at it. Pinky swear!
Does this pattern strike you as good government? Is the solution to every problem more intervention by a lethargic, unresponsive, and corrupt central government? Is this good stewardship of your tax money by Congress and the President? Are these the actions of a wise Representative who believes in personal responsibility, free markets, and ordered liberty? If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you probably think it makes sense to do the same thing over and over while expecting a different result, and you'll vote for Betty Sutton in November.
But if you can see through the false hope, you'll change who occupies our seat in Congress.