Romney housing plan still short of specifics

From the Huffington Post:

Mitt Romney Housing Plan Short On Details (Again)

If elected president, Mitt Romney would reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sell 200,000 vacant foreclosed homes owned by the government and promote “sensible, not overly complex” financial regulation that gets credit flowing again.

He would also “spare thousands of families from going through the foreclosure process” by making foreclosure alternatives easier.

How would he go about doing this? As with an abridged version of the plan that appeared on the campaign website a few weeks ago, this seven-page white paper (including the title page) called “Securing the American Dream and the Future of Housing Policy” includes no details.

From Slate:

Mitt Romney’s Laughably Vacuous Plan To End “Too Big To Fail”

The economic policy failures of the Obama administration are real enough, especially in terms of how they’ve dealt with housing and foreclosure policies, so it was a little surprising to me that Mitt Romney released a new housing policy document during the Friday afternoon news dump period.

But when you read the plan, their motivation gets clearer. This for example is just embarassing:

End “Too-Big-To-Fail” And Reform Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac: The Romney-Ryan plan will completely end “too-big-to-fail” by reforming the GSEs. The four years sincetaxpayers took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, spending $140 billion in the process, is toolong to wait for reform. Rather than just talk about reform, a Romney-Ryan Administration will protect taxpayers from additional risk in the future by reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Macand provide a long-term, sustainable solution for the future of housing finance reform in our country.

The idea of “ending” “too-big-to-fail” is a great political slogan since it’s super-popular and nobody’s ever quite sure what it means. But there’s no possible meaning under which this makes sense. Back in 2008, the feeling among leaders in both parties was that if something terrible happened to Citi or JP Morgan or Bank of America or Goldman Sachs the best policy response was to inject new public money into the capital structure rather than liquidate the enterprise. If in 2018 the same thing happens again is something different going to happen?

From Business Insider:
Mitt Romney’s Housing Plan Has Got To Be A Joke

At this point, we have no choice but to conclude that the Mitt Romney campaign is just trolling whiny journalists who have complained about the lack of detail in his plans.

Yesterday evening (a Friday evening!) the campaign revealed a white paper titled Securing the American Dream and The Future of Housing Policy that’s so unsubstantial, we half-suspect the timing was done so that nobody would see it amid the release of the 2011 tax documents, which came out about 20 minutes earlier.

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47 Responses to Romney housing plan still short of specifics

  1. grim says:

    We need to execute the entire legislature for the criminal squandering of our money and resources. This is an embarassment. Why is there no outrage?

    New law bans slaughter of horses for human consumption

    Look, if someone wants to eat horse, let them eat horse. What is the big deal here? If I can pick up a package of baby cow at my local grocer, how exactly is this any different? Let’s focus on the pressing issues in the state, like which animals constitute food, you know, instead of the little shit like jobs, budgets, taxes, and foreclosures.

    Paterson declares its parks smoke-free zones

    Well there you have it, say goodbye to Paterson’s problems. Now, instead of getting cancer from second hand smoke AND getting shot in the park, you’ll just get shot.

    “Snookiville” Law Introduced by NJ Legislator

    … because reality TV shows need special legislation? Are the laws we already have not sufficient here? What is worse, Snooki or the fact that our legislature is wasting time and money talking about it? It would not surprise me to find out that the legislature spent the entire session watching all the seasons of Jersey Shore on Netflix.

    Doggie Seat Belts Loom in N.J. as Budget Challenges Grow

    No words left to describe this boondoggle. I think a law requiring the restraint of legislature (specifically ball-gags) would be signficantly more effective here.

  2. Fast Eddie says:

    For more than five weeks during the brutally cold winter of 1997, tenants suffered without any heat in a government-subsidized apartment building. The 31-unit building in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood had been “rehabbed” just four years prior at taxpayer expense, no less.

    How cold was it? Temperatures routinely dipped around ten below zero. With wind-chills factored in, the effective temperatures approached 30 below.

    And the residents of the building had no heat for more than a month.

    The building’s owner — Rezmar Corporation — didn’t bother to turn on the heat for weeks. In fact, it didn’t do so until it was sued.

    And the Englewood building wasn’t the only one of Rezmar’s properties that had scores of code violations. At least a dozen times, Rezmar had to be sued in order to simply turn on the heat in its properties.

    Rezmar’s properties turned out to be catastrophic failures: 17 buildings ended up in foreclosure, 6 are boarded up, hundreds of apartments are vacant and require repair… and taxpayers were stuck with millions in unpaid loans.

    All of these buildings were in — or just blocks away from — a single state senator’s district. A district belonging to a young, up-and-coming politician named Barack Obama.

    In fact, during the brutal winter of 1997, even while Rezmar refused to heat its Englewood apartments, it was donating $1,000 to state senator Obama’s campaign fund.

    During the winter or the scores of subsequent code violations, did state senator Obama ever lift a finger to protect his constituents from “predatory slumlords” like Rezmar?

    The answer appears to be a resounding “No”. In 2007, Obama’s own campaign staff stated, “Senator Obama does not remember having conversations… about properties that [Rezmar] owned..”

    The shivering tenants in in and around the district were left defenseless for weeks at a time. Assailed on one side by predatory slumlords like Rezmar, they were — for all intents and purposes — left out in the cold by their state senator, Barack Obama.

    There’s a simple reason Obama didn’t lift a finger to protest these horrific violations. His political patron, Tony Rezko, was the driving force behind Rezmar. And Rezko helped raise a quarter of a million dollars for Obama’s various campaigns.

    And after stating he’d “never done any favors for” Rezko, the Chicago Sun-Times discovered letters Obama wrote to city and state officials supporting Rezko’s bid for $14 million in taxpayers’ money for an elder-care facility.

    While Obama didn’t expend an ounce of energy to protest Rezko’s outrageous violations, he did take time to write letters on behalf of Rezko in his efforts to secure an additional $14 million in taxpayer funds.

    State senator Obama couldn’t effectively represent his abused constituents… perhaps because he was otherwise occupied helping his slumlord patrons advance their own agendas.

    And as a so-called “community organizer” and then a state senator, Obama — and close friend and confidante Valerie Jarrett, who was responsible for property management — couldn’t even keep huge, federally subsidized housing complexes like Grove Parc habitable. And ‘habitable’ is kind of a low bar, I would think.

    State Senator Barack Obama did a really lousy job representing his constituents in a tiny district in Chicago’s south side, appearing to side more often with corporate interests than his own, downtrodden citizens.

    And his cronies — like Valerie Jarrett — were linked to dozens of failed projects that burned through millions in taxpayer funds.

  3. grim says:

    Oh good lord I just looked at the legislative calendar for this week.

    Up for debate.

    Banning the sale of laser pointers
    Allowing NJ lottery winners to remain anonymous for a year
    Free beach passes for veterans
    Something about stormwater that I’m sure establishes another committee or panel to be staffed specifically through nepotism.
    New regulations for scrap metal dealers making the scrap trade as regulated as firearms.
    Free tuition/tuition assistance for victims of domestic violence (who pays for this?)
    A new law banning convicted felons from buying or possessing ammunition, because we know that convicted criminals will be dissuaded by this new law. If they can get guns illegally, I don’t think they’ll have any problem at all with ammo.

    Not sure if this one was last week or next… Establish a 6 expert panel to manage exotic animals in NJ (who is paying for this!?!??!), this is an attempt to curb the illegal tiger trade in NJ. So that’s it people, Tigers are more important than you are to the legislature. Frankly, I’m more than comfortable letting the tiger issue escalate to crisis levels before it’s addressed.

  4. willwork4beer says:

    Sorry I missed the DFH 120 discussion. Central Liquors in Flemington was selling half growlers (32 oz) of 120 on Friday. The bottles are nice but it’s better on draft.

  5. Juice Box says:

    Re: 2 none of that stuff stuck in 08 what makes you think Romney is going to use the history of machine politics of Cook county IL now? Do you think the swing voters care about what happened or didn’t happen in Chicago? O could have been a pimp there in those slums and they still won’t care.

  6. grim says:

    Having reviewed the last few weeks of bills, I’ve come up with a new taxonomic classification for NJ legislation:

    1) Bills that give shit away (without so much as a comment about how they will be paid for)
    2) Bills that make business more difficult.
    3) Bills that create meaningless government committees, task forces, and panels.
    4) Bills that address problems that don’t really exist.

  7. Fast Eddie says:

    Juice Box [5],

    I said it before, this guy can change his name to Sandusky and it wouldn’t matter. There are so many snags, swindles and distractions by this crew that people have become zombies. Most Americans can only focus on what’s on the spoon immediately in front of them. The country has become very dull-minded, brain-washed and bloated with poison. iSh1t 5 is all that matters. Push button, get cheesburger, f*cking yum yum.

  8. Fast Eddie says:

    grim [6],

    That looks like a read from the dem0crats play book.

  9. Fast Eddie says:

    If Romney had any b@lls, he would shove that 47% mantra in everyone’s face and say, “Yeah, I meant what I said.” People need to stop going wah, wah, poor me and get off their fat, f*cking @asses. I’ve been logged in to work since 4:30 this morning, poor me… NOT! Life su.cks, keep moving.

  10. grim says:

    From the APP:

    GOLDEN: Little relief on property taxes

    The arrival of property tax bills is an annual rite of passage for New Jersey homeowners.

    For some homeowners, the bill — which comes each August — is a holiday greeting card; for most others, it’s a ransom note.

    For years, the highest-in-the-nation property taxes have been the most serious issue facing the state, easily outdistancing education, environmental protection, crime or transportation.

    Despite some progress in dealing with it, the broad perception remains that the property levy is too high and will continue to increase year after year.

    Such a view has led to weary resignation, a stoic acceptance that taxpayers must live with the burden of property taxes the way Londoners lived with the blitz in the 1940s — it’s something that will always be there.

    Controlling property taxes has been a staple in gubernatorial and legislative campaigns for many years and will be again in 2013. Contributing to the pressure this year has been the collapse of the housing market and decline in home values. A record number of tax assessment appeals succeeded and a great many homeowners won significant tax reductions that had to be made up by other taxpayers who didn’t appeal or lost their appeals.

    There is, in short, no reason to believe the Legislature will undertake the kind of restructuring of the system that is clearly necessary. Many legislators have been candid in their assessment that the will to do so is lacking and any effort in that direction would be stymied by political and private interest pressures.

    Talk of a constitutional convention to restructure the entire tax system surfaces periodically, but hasn’t progressed beyond the talking stage.

    The cap on tax rate increases and requiring public employees to pay more for their fringe benefits were achieved only after furious political accommodation. Reaching even further is not something many legislators are eager to attempt.

    In the meantime, those ransom notes continue to arrive every August.

  11. Fast Eddie says:

    “I can afford to pay a little bit more,” Obama said. “And Mitt Romney sure can afford to pay a little more.”

    So, then you pay more, d0uchebag, and stop telling people what they need to pay. In fact, why don’t all Oblama supporters just contribute 10% more to the federal government? I mean, they’re concerned about the “pour” people so why don’t they lead by example? Show the others how it’s done.

  12. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Family that lost Wallington home in foreclosure sues

    Mario Podeia gripped a knife as he watched the sheriff’s officers sent to evict him from his Wallington home. Through a front window of the white-brick ranch, he warned the officers that he would kill himself before he’d lose the house.

    Trying to calm the distraught homeowner, Bergen County Undersheriff Brian Smith talked his way into the house on that steamy day in June 2011. Soon he was followed by Bergen County Police officers with pepper spray, and the standoff was over.

    Podeia would later say that Smith saved his life.

    But the Podeia family — Mario, his wife, Grace, and his two adult children — continue to struggle. More than a year after they lost their home to foreclosure, Grace, Mario and their daughter Tania are staying with friends and living out of suitcases, while their son lives in upstate New York. Mario Podeia, 60, once a successful restaurateur, is unemployed. The family lost most of their belongings, including family photos, when they lost the house.

    “Thirty-seven years in the Dumpster,” said Podeia.

    The Podeias ran into trouble after borrowing against the house to help support their business, a catering hall called the Princess Chateau in Lodi, during difficult economic times. They say they called their mortgage company to try to work out a payment plan, but without success. “Every door was closed,” Podeia said.

    The couple is suing the companies involved in their foreclosure, arguing that the paperwork documenting ownership of their mortgage was seriously flawed. The suit also alleges that the mortgage companies violated the Truth in Lending Act.

  13. grim says:

    It’s a terrible story, and I wish they could have had success in their business venture, but the fact is, they borrowed against the house and they lost. Why sue?

    Mario Podeia came to the U.S. as a young man in 1974, working in a number of jobs before entering the restaurant business, ultimately owning the catering hall.

    The couple paid $235,000 for the Wallington house in 1995. They refinanced the mortgage in 2001, borrowing $260,000 on an adjustable mortgage with an 8.5 percent interest rate.

    After the 2001 recession, business fell off at the Princess Chateau, which ultimately closed in 2009. The family took out another loan, for $1.2 million, to keep the business afloat. But business remained slow, and they couldn’t keep up with their loan payments. In early 2008, Bankers Trust initiated foreclosure proceedings on the $260,000 mortgage.

    Mario Podeia said he went to court several times to get an extension on his eviction. “I thought if I could get more time, maybe I could save the house,” Podeia said.

  14. freedy says:

    He ‘s a victim

  15. Juice Box says:

    Re: 13 – Seems his business did not keep up with the times, somebody else turned that place around. (Getting married on Rt. 46 is the new killing it?)

  16. grim says:

    Big bidding war on the foreclosure, was listed by Bankers Trust for $287,900, went into attorney review in 12 days. Must have been many bids since the sale went off at $350,000, $62k over ask.

    Interesting since he would have been able to satisfy the first lien for sure. Problem is the Commerce Bank loan of $1.23m, they would have never have agreed to a short sale, which would mean essentially losing all leverage over the borrower.

    Commerce bank is the big loser in this story.

  17. Ben says:

    Free tuition for victims of domestic violence? Lets now wait for the story of the father that beat the crap out of his kid so that he could go to school for free.

  18. chicagofinance says:

    I lived within walking distance of this area in 1995-1996. I know exactly what is being discussed here, and while I was unaware at the time, this fits the fact pattern exactly. Reminds me very much of living in Hoboken and learning the details after the fact, except Russo, Roberts and Scammarano and didn’t become President.

    Fast Eddie says:
    September 23, 2012 at 7:30 am
    For more than five weeks during the brutally cold winter of 1997, tenants suffered without any heat in a government-subsidized apartment building.

  19. chicagofinance says:

    My G-d!

    willwork4beer says:
    September 23, 2012 at 8:04 am
    Sorry I missed the DFH 120 discussion. Central Liquors in Flemington was selling half growlers (32 oz) of 120 on Friday. The bottles are nice but it’s better on draft.

  20. chicagofinance says:

    gary: I not really interested in piling on, but I find the Illinois connection to Obama really disturbing in terms of “foreshadowing”……..Obama’s perosnal social and business development was forged in an environment that brings the following…..

    Honestly, this makes me more physically ill than having the maggots in my kids playroom crawling on the toys….

    WSJ Editorial
    September 20, 2012, 7:26 p.m. ET

    An Illinois Pension Bailout?

    Governor Quinn wants you to guarantee his state’s pensions

    Now that Chicago’s children have returned to not learning in school, we can all move on to the next crisis in Illinois public finance: unfunded public pensions. Readers who live in the other 49 states will be pleased to learn that Governor Pat Quinn’s 2012 budget proposal already floated the idea of a federal guarantee of its pension debt. Think Germany and eurobonds for Greece, Italy and Spain.

    Thank you for sharing, Governor.

    Sooner or later, we knew it would come to this since the Democrats who are running Illinois into the ground can’t bring themselves to oppose union demands. Illinois now has some $8 billion in current debts outstanding and taxpayers are on the hook for more than $200 billion in unfunded retirement costs for government workers. By some estimates, the system could be the first in the nation to go broke, as early as 2018.

    Liabilities are also spiralling nationwide, with some $2.5 trillion in unfunded state pension costs. According to a paper released Thursday by the Illinois Policy Institute, the crisis will end up pitting states against each other as taxpayers in places like Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Utah will be asked to subsidize the undisciplined likes of Illinois and California.

    For years, states have engaged in elaborate accounting tricks to improve appearances, including using an unrealistically high 8% “discount” rate to account for future liabilities. To make that fairy tale come true, state pension funds would have to average returns of 8% a year, which even the toothless Government Accounting Standards Board and Moody’s have said are unrealistic.

    It’s no surprise that many of the states deepest in the red are public union strongholds. For decades, Democrats have bought union support in elections by using surplus revenue during good times to pad pension and retiree health-care benefits.

    Look no further than the recent Chicago teachers strike. The city is already facing upwards of a $1 billion deficit next year with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual pension costs for retired teachers coming due. But despite the fiscal imperatives, the negotiation didn’t even discuss pensions. The final deal gave unions a more than 17% raise over four years, while they keep benefits and pensions that workers in the wealth-creating private economy can only imagine.

    As a political matter, public unions are pursuing a version of the GM strategy: Never make a concession at the state level, figuring that if things get really bad the federal government will have no political choice but to bail out the pensions if not the entire state. Mr. Quinn made that official by pointing out in his budget proposal that “significant long-term improvements” in the state pension debt will come from “seeking a federal guarantee of the debt.”

    Look for Democrats in Washington to take up that call, and for such an effort to get some traction if Democrats control one or both houses of Congress next year. Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican, has seen this future and is already warning against it. He and Illinois Senator Mark Kirk have proposed a resolution opposing a federal bailout of state pensions, and we hope more sign on. States need to clean up their own fiscal messes.

    A version of this article appeared September 21, 2012, on page A14 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: An Illinois Pension Bailout?

  21. Fast Eddie says:

    ChiFi [20],

    They used to hide the fact that they’re blood-suck1ng leeches. Now, they’re just openly blatant about it. Instead of using rhetoric to dupe the masses, they’re just shy of punching tax payers in the f*cking mouth and robbing them. When you’re a junkie and feel that there’s a possibility that you’ll be cut off, you’ll sell your grandmother just to sustain that high.

  22. cobbler says:

    The problem is not pensions as such but the lack of will to budget for them, whether the state workforce is unionized or not. My CEO just “retired” at a ripe age of 53 and has a pension benefit of 60% of his salary (which made everyone go hopping mad) – nobody tells it will cause the company to go bust since the money was properly reserved.

  23. All Hype says:

    Gary (21):
    All the states will be bailed out by Uncle Ben. Count on it. The 40 billion/month will quickly go to 80 billion/month to bail out Illinois & California.

    There is no reason to hide anymore, they have the voting majority.

  24. Fast Eddie says:

    Hype [23],

    When the well starts to run dry, the country is going to turn into pockets of Mogadishu. The Founders told us how the country will most likely end. We had a meteroic rise in the span of history and our fall is just as hasty.

  25. Anon E. Moose says:

    “…includes no details.”

    1) We know more about Romney’s housing plan than we ever knew or still today know about Obama’s background.

    2) How many pages do you need to explain “benign neglect”?

  26. Mikewaited says:

    grim # 1 & 3 – You know I never looked into what they were doing (working on!), my god they must be out of there minds. Shaking head again concluding I need more ammo & clot/meat/ Ernest money is absolutely correct

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