Unless a person such as Charles Krauthammer or possibly George Will who write with the ease of the butterfly every now and then those of us who are not quite up to that level should bow out when a story such as this one by extremely able writers who one day will surpass Messrs. Krauthammer and Will. The story you are about to read is from their perspective and it appears as though no rock has been left unturned. I have already signed up for full subscription for Tim Mak & Josh Boak. We have of course taken license to illustrate how stupid a president can be and the like.
President Barack Obama will announce on Monday new terms for a federal mortgage refinancing program to help homeowners facing foreclosure, an executive branch action that intends to address some economic challenges without having to deal with congressional Republicans.
“Using the mantra ‘We Can’t Wait,’ the president will kick off an effort to put pressure on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act by highlighting a series of executive actions (Wake up & Look out America!) that his administration will take without help from Republicans in Congress,” a White House official told POLITICO’s Playbook Monday.
In Nevada, the state with the nation’s highest foreclosure rate, Obama is expected to promote new rules for federally guaranteed mortgages to homeowners, so that those with little or no equity in their homes can refinance and avoid foreclosure. Now foregoing all else isn’t this proposed action treating those who live in Nevada recipients of “special rights”?
Borrowers could save more than $2,500 a year with refinanced mortgages, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan told reporters on a Monday morning conference call. And as usual do not forget the fine print or especially reading the bloody thing. How many times have we been burned by these schemes?
“It’s the equivalent of a substantial tax cut for these families,” Donovan said. So why change what works? There has to be something amiss or dysfunctional to bypass the separation of powers.
Obama has been calling for passage of a $447 billion jobs package, which includes spending for infrastructure projects, targeted tax cuts and money to keep teachers and emergency personnel from being fired. But Republicans and Democrats oppose key aspects of that bill and can block the passage of the full package in the House. And it should be further noted that several of these projects have been encased so as to ensure that porkulus spending is honored.
Monday’s announcement will involve the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which under the new effort will loosen the terms of its existing Home Affordable Refinance Program that has failed to deliver the number of refinancing initially expected.
This is a flamboyant way of stating, “Hey our first plan did not work; and whilst we acknowledge that is has been seeing to it that several more people become recipients of ‘special rights’ which is what caused the bubble bursting mortgage crisis in the first place.
Gene Sperling, director of the president’s National Economic Council, said the number of people who would refinance their homes is “inherently uncertain,” though he noted an estimate from the Federal Reserve that 4 million borrowers could qualify.
HARP aids those who have been making on-time mortgage payments but have been unable to secure refinancing at a lower rate because of the dropping value of their home. A series of barriers stemming from the structure of the loans and fees associated with refinancing hurt participation rates, such that less than a million borrowers received new mortgages.
The new rules will remove those barriers so that more borrowers who have little to no equity in their homes can switch to a lower rate.
“Too many Americans who have done all the right things — they have paid their bills and are current on their mortgages — are still stuck in a 6 percent or 7 percent mortgage because home price declines have made them ineligible for refinancing,” an administration official told POLITICO Playbook.
“Today, the FHFA will announce a set of steps in to knock down these barriers which will help responsible borrowers with little or no equity in their homes take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates. Those will include removing caps for deeply underwater borrowers and cutting costs of refinancing,” the official added.
The move received some bipartisan support in a joint statement by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).
“This is a positive step in the right direction for the preservation of homeownership for those Americans who have been making their payments and met their obligations,” Isakson said.
But the exact pricing details of the change will not be published until mid-November, and refinancing under the new terms won’t begin until at least Dec. 1. Underwater loans in which the loans are greater than the current limit of 125 percent of the property’s value won’t be able to refinance until early 2012, says Reuters. Sound familar?
Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), who announced last week that he would be retiring from Congress at the end of his term, said on MSNBC Monday he was worried the new Obama housing aid plan was just “more of the same.”
“There has been far too little; it’s taken far too long,” said Cardoza, whose district has 70 percent of its homes underwater. “We proposed this proposal in January 2009, and it’s just now getting some traction. We met with …the administration’s point person on this, and he said maybe 800,000 more refinances, when the problem is 11 million.”