You are here

Obama's Recent $75 Billion Mortgage Bailout Fails: Harmful to Economy, Housing, and Construction, Say Economists and Real Estate Experts

Economists and real estate experts are saying that a $75 billion mortgage bailout program designed by the Obama administration has backfired and harmed the housing market, reports The New York Times:

The Obama administration’s $75 billion program to protect homeowners from foreclosure has been widely pronounced a disappointment, and some economists and real estate experts now contend it has done more harm than good. . .experts argue the program has impeded economic recovery by delaying a wrenching yet cleansing process through which borrowers give up unaffordable homes and banks fully reckon with their disastrous bets on real estate, enabling money to flow more freely through the financial system.

That “'has the effect of lengthening the crisis,' said Kevin Katari, managing member of Watershed Asset Management. . . 'We have simply slowed the foreclosure pipeline, with people staying in houses they are ultimately not going to be able to afford anyway,' and 'banks have been using temporary loan modifications under the Obama plan as justification to avoid an honest accounting of the mortgage losses still on their books,'" delaying a recovery in the housing market and the construction industry.

The failed mortgage bailout is reminiscent of the government's attempt to reduce burdens on irresponsible credit card borrowers, through a new law, the CARD Act of 2009, that backfired and resulted in the return of annual fees, bizarre interest rate hikes for some responsible borrowers, and the elimination of many cash back and rewards programs.

Earlier, the government pushed through billions more in other mortgage bailouts, to bail out even reckless high-income borrowers, and forced financial institutions the government took over in the name of fiscal responsibility, like Freddie Mac, to run up billions in losses bailing out irresponsible borrowers.

Banks will now be pressured to make even more risky loans. The House has approved Obama's proposal to create the so-called Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Government pressure on banks to make loans in economically-depressed neighborhoods was a key reason for the mortgage meltdown and the financial crisis. Yet Obama’s disturbing proposal would empower the new agency to enforce the Community Reinvestment Act without regard for banks’ financial safety and soundness.  The Community Reinvestment Act was a key contributor to the financial crisis.

The mortgage crisis was also caused by the reckless government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and by federal affordable-housing mandates. But Obama’s proposed financial rules overhaul does absolutely nothing about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, admits Obama’s Treasury Secretary, tax cheat Timothy Geithner, even though he admits that “Fannie and Freddie were a core part of what went wrong in our system.”

Worse, the Obama Administration lifted the $400 billion limit on bailouts for Fannie and Freddie, so that they could continue to buy up junky mortgages at taxpayer expense, and showered their executives with $42 million in compensation.

Obama’s financial-regulation plan is “largely the product of extensive conversations” with two lawmakers responsible for the corrupt status quo, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, and it expands the reach of regulations that have been used by left-wing groups to extort pay-offs from banks.