Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Home-Foreclosure Picnic

Hearts aching for millions of Americans in danger of losing their homes, the Senate has been working hard on the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which will provide billions of dollars in tax breaks for airlines, automakers, alternative energy producers and home builders.

As they always do, lobbyists have been hijacking the bill that has bipartisan support in an economic crisis to lard it with help for their clients, everybody but homeowners.

“The Senate legislation gave corporations and Wall Street billions in tax breaks,” the president of the Laborers International Union of North America said at a news conference yesterday. “Tax breaks for corporate home builders won’t help stabilize the housing market, won’t create jobs and won’t prevent a single foreclosure.”

In the House, New York's Charles Rangel is pushing a bill to give tax breaks to first-time home buyers, but the realtors lobby would like it to apply to all buyers as would the National Association of Home Builders, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Council of Federal Home Loan Banks.

Meanwhile, the only help beleaguered home owners are getting is from some states and cities. "This month alone," the Washington Post reports, "Philadelphia's sheriff delayed foreclosure auctions of 759 homes...Maryland extended the time it takes to complete a foreclosure. State leaders in Ohio recruited more than 1,000 lawyers to aid distressed borrowers."

Nine states have committed more than $450 million to loan funds to refinancing mortgages of at-risk borrowers, according to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Some have brokered deals with lenders to ease terms for troubled loans. A few states have lengthened the time it takes for foreclosure.

When they face the voters this fall, members of Congress may have trouble figuring out why some of them are so...bitter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But it warms the heart to read in the NY Times,"One manager, John Paulson, made $3.7 billion last year. He reaped that bounty, probably the richest in Wall Street history, by betting against certain mortgages and complex financial products that held them."

This is where capital punishment might actually be beneficial to society.