President Obama just got done announcing a plan to keep several million American families in their homes. Republican Congressional leaders Eric Cantor and John Boehner immediately drafted a letter to Obama which included the following 6 questions:
- What will your plan do for the over 90 percent of homeowners who are playing and paying by the rules? My reply: the 90 percent are not the problem. Let's provide veteran benefits for me, I never served but I would like the money. On a more serious note, why are you asking such a silly question? Play the politics of envy and greed, in order to undermine a plan which at least attempts to get a handle on the problem that started our economic slide, and which has to be successfully addressed if we are to avoid spending the next 5 years with a dead real estate market. Of course if the real estate market dies, that will help your chances in 2012. Next question, please.
- Does your plan compensate banks for bad mortgages they should have never made in the first place? Maybe, but so what? The homeowners are going bust, and so are the banks. They are both in a bad place, and the economy does not get better until they both get into a better place. By the way, what's your plan? Right, you do not have one.
- Will individuals who misrepresented their income or assets on their original mortgage application be eligible to get the taxpayer funded assistance under your plan? Maybe, but it is not going to be possible to kill this Beast without somebody being taken off the hook. The time to prevent this was years ago, back when you guys thought the banking system was doing wonderful things. Don't lie, you had nothing bad to say about Countrywide's ARMs back in the day.
- Will you require mortgage servicers to verify income and other eligibility standards before modifying mortgages? Look, the banks dug this hole, held hands, and jumped in. Bush tried for months to coax them into voluntary plans to end the foreclosure wave, and they mostly were just not interested. What do you want, to stand on principle, keep your hands clean, and watch the housing market die for the next five years? Yeah, we will check to see if the people have income, and we will not hand them $100,000 if they are penniless.
- What will you do to prevent the same mortgages that receive assistance and are modified from going into default three, six or eight months later? Nothing. Which is exactly what you did to prevent this mess, and exactly what you have done so far to fix it.
- How do you intend to move forward in the drafting of the legislation and who will author it? Obviously you will not author it. Why do you care who writes it, you are just going to sit back and take shots at it, the same way you dealt with the stimulus program. Have a nice day. When you are interested in non-partisan negotiation, let me know.