Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Obama Unveils 'Son of Stimulus' for Housing Assistance

Critics called the administration's now-failed jobs initiative the "Son of Stimulus." And now it turns out the housing assistance program has an offspring. See Alana Goodman, "Obama’s New Housing Plan Purely Political." And Felix Salmon's not wasting any breath on it, "Obama's pathetic refinancing initiative."

But see WSJ, "Obama Housing Plan Highlights Sharp Political Split" (via Google):
President Barack Obama on Monday went where his Republican White House rivals have so far refused to go. He asserted that Washington should help Americans refinance their mortgages at lower rates.

The president's move to expand an existing, little-used program underscored his administration's belief that government has a role to play in restoring the health of the nation's broken housing market. In contrast, Republican presidential hopefuls have been loath to address the housing issue at all, in part because they blame government for causing the financial crisis and housing mess.

In 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain proposed that the government buy up home mortgages that exceeded the value of houses, then re-issue them at market value. "He got killed," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the economic adviser who had urged Mr. McCain to make the proposal.

Months later, the tea-party movement took off after CNBC analyst Rick Santelli's on-air tirade in February 2009 after the new Obama administration suggested it would try to aid homeowners. "How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills?" he asked.

Ever since, politicians from both parties have feared aggressive action that would smack of welfare for McMansion dwellers.
Well, yeah. Bailing out over-leveraged homeowners? Still not popular.