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Obama's Housing Plan, Privacy on Facebook and Fairness Doctrine 2.0

Daily Update

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Obama's Housing Plan, Privacy on Facebook and Fairness Doctrine 2.0

President Obama announces a $75 billion mortgage “rescue” plan.

Changes to the terms of service on Facebook raise a ruckus among privacy activists.

The White House signals that President Obama will not support a reinstatement of the “Fairness Doctrine” for news outlets.

More headlines: listen to the LibertyWeek podcast.

1. BUSINESS 

President Obama announces a $75 billion mortgage “rescue” plan.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs Director John Berlau on why a foreclosure is sometimes the least bad option for a troubled borrower: 

“While all foreclosures are difficult, they are sometimes the least bad option for an individual borrower. They allow borrowers to walk away from both the home and the loan, at a cost to their credit rating, but not nearly as big a hit as they would take if they declared a personal bankruptcy. Having borrowers continue to pay into a bad loan, even with reduced payments, takes away money they could be using to start over. Redefault rates from existing government-backed loan modification programs indicate that they are often ineffective. And in the case of borrowers facing job losses, staying in one’s home while being saddled with a mortgage can delay the necessary step of moving to an area with more job opportunities.” 

 

2. TECHNOLOGY

Changes to the terms of service on Facebook raise a ruckus among privacy activists.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Information Policy Analyst Ryan Radia on how the quick response got Facebook to back down rather than alienate its members: 

“[Users’] concerns were rendered largely moot [yesterday] when Facebook announced that it had decided to revert to a previous version of its Terms of Use, thereby nullifying the changes responsible for the uprising. Facebook’s move isn’t especially surprising, nor is it unprecedented. Back in late 2007, Facebook unveiled an advertising service called Beacon that tracked the buying habits of Facebook users for advertising purposes. Beacon allowed your friends to see your purchasing habits, sparking privacy concerns and much media scrutiny. After a few weeks, Facebook gave in to pressure and began allowing users to opt-out of Beacon entirely by changing their privacy settings.” 

 

3. POLITICS

The White House signals that President Obama will not support a reinstatement of the “Fairness Doctrine” for news outlets.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Policy Analyst Cord Blomquist on the consequences of letting government bureaucrats decide what’s “fair” in news reporting: 

“If Congress is somehow able to dupe the American people into accepting such speech restrictions—and President Obama doesn’t block a Fairness Doctrine 2.0—we can look forward to websites being patrolled by federal fairness cops, radio stations being staffed by stop-watch-toting FCC agents, and a presidential appointee sitting on the editorial board of every newspaper and magazine that still chooses to publish. Let’s hope the President takes his oath seriously and defends the Constitution.  Our basic freedom to speak our mind—the most fundamental of all freedoms—may rely on Mr. Obama’s resolve.” 

 

Listen to LibertyWeek, the CEI weekly podcast, here.