Barack Obama, his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination bolstered by endorsements, told a cheering union hall on Friday that he would provide relief for homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments and deliver tax cuts to the middle-class.
“We’re going to put money in the pockets of hardworking Americans who deserve it. That’s what I’m fighting for,” Obama told hotel and restaurant workers packed into the steamy union hall of the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226. The Illinois senator said he identified with their economic hardships.
How about identifying with responsible homeowners and responsible taxpayers who’ll be paying for all this election-year largesse–much of it not to Americans “who deserve it,” but to people who shouldn’t have been taking out home loans they couldn’t pay for and mortgage companies that shouldn’t have taken them on as customers?
How about them?
More on the candidates’ various flavors of Hillarycare from the WSJ:
The top three Democratic candidates have called for various measures that move beyond the current administration’s effort to get lenders to voluntarily modify troubled loans. The Democratic plans share elements, including the creation of a federal fund to help homeowners refinance onerous mortgages, legal protections for lenders to free them to alter individual mortgage terms, and tighter regulation of lenders to prevent future crises.
But the plans from Democrats contain some differences, which could become accentuated in Nevada, and later, in big states such as California. Both Mrs. Clinton and John Edwards have said that if the mortgage industry doesn’t voluntarily agree to enlarge and lengthen the terms of a plan backed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and agree to a foreclosure moratorium, they would force the lenders to do so through legislation.
Barack Obama opposes making laws to force such moves. An Obama adviser says that a mandatory moratorium and rate freeze — which could force lenders to hold loan interest rates below market levels — could deter them from re-entering the market and would delay the return of liquidity.
There could also be legal issues, the adviser says. “There would certainly be some serious constitutional issues to consider from the government trying to directly change the terms of millions of mortgage contracts after the fact,” the adviser says. Mr. Obama thinks the industry should make these changes voluntarily.
What about the GOP?
Republicans for the most part support President Bush’s approach on the issue, to get lenders and mortgage-bond investors to agree voluntarily to modify some troubled loans. They haven’t unveiled separate plans like the Democrats, but two candidates, Mitt Romney and John McCain, have indicated that more might need to be done should the situation worsen, a view echoed by Mr. Paulson earlier this week…
…Republicans for the most part support President Bush’s approach on the issue, to get lenders and mortgage-bond investors to agree voluntarily to modify some troubled loans. They haven’t unveiled separate plans like the Democrats, but two candidates, Mitt Romney and John McCain, have indicated that more might need to be done should the situation worsen, a view echoed by Mr. Paulson earlier this week.
“There’s clearly an additional need to consider other measures,” Mr. McCain said Wednesday. “I will know within a very short period of time whether these policies are succeeding or not,” he said of Mr. Paulson’s plan to persuade lenders voluntarily to modify some troubled mortgages. Mr. Romney has called for the creation of a business cooperative that would pool the bad loans in one entity that would then be able to handle individual solutions with homeowners. Romney’s aides also say he favors increased funding for a government chartered housing-services agency called NeighborWorks America.
Mr. Huckabee mentions the housing market in his new ad. But he hasn’t proposed government intervention. He said in Iowa that he fully supports the administration’s voluntary plan.
Messrs. Obama and Edwards support a bill currently in the Senate to amend bankruptcy law to allow judges to alter the terms of a mortgage.