Mortgage Meltdown Movement: Start Now, Obama

OBAMA MOVEMENT IS LAST CHANCE FOR ECONOMY AND HOMEOWNERS.

CHANGE THE RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE REGARDING FORECLOSURES OF ALL TYPES.

As we have have repeatedly pointed out, there is no time for stimulus packages, legislative bailouts, or executive orders. 

The evidence is mounting because [a] the situation is as bad as it looks and it is getting worse and [b] the administration ran out of places to hide the mounting losses to the economy. 

The dollar continues its slide which will create devastating inflation within 6 months. Consumer buying power is now the lowest it is had been since 1945. Job losses are at record levels and more people, especially men are starting to simply walk away from their jobs because the pay does nothing for them. People are also getting ready to walk away from their homes and just leave the keys with banks who will try to dump their real estate inventory, perhaps with some new derivative security plan.

The financial industry cannot bail us out, the U.S. Treasury can’t bail us out, China can’t bail us out, the congress cannot bail us out, the President won’t or can’t bail us out, and the candidates for President will inherit the second Great Depression (GDII) unless something is done right now. The plain truth is that if you do the arithmetic, there isn’t enough money in the world to buy our way out of this. Leadership, agreements, cooperation and sharing are the commodities that will settle the financial claims and avert a general collapse.

Start with the obvious — 900,000 foreclosures and mounting. At the center of this meltdown is the mean fact that prices were artificially inflated and, as in every Ponzi scheme, eventually collapsed. The debt was as fake as the prices. But we are still pretending it is real. The monthly payments were in many cases procured by fraud and numerous violations of the Truth in Lending Act. 

Change the procedure, not the substance of the law. 

The change needed is to enumerate the requirements for initiating foreclosures such that Ponzi operators are deterred from filing foreclosures, the entire foreclosure process is slowed down, and the loans are reinstated, re- negotiated, or modified on some basis that will result in continued occupancy of homes, restoring capital to balance sheets of financial institutions, restoring some degree of quality to CDO’s that were sold, and adding liquidity to the economy without pumping more funny money into it — thus adding value to the dollar, and adding purchasing power to consumers and industry. We encourage immunity from criminal prosecution those players who are still in the chain and assist in the process of recovery. Those actions and investigations by State attorney generals will at best provide an empty victory in an empty marketplace.

CHANGE THE RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE REGARDING FORECLOSURES OF ALL TYPES.

The only hope is the judiciary, which handles the foreclosures. Everyone agrees, including the parties initiating the foreclosures and evictions, that the goal is slowing down the process, giving everyone a little hope and incentive, and creating a process where these cases are settled equitably by agreement or by the equitable powers of every court in which an eviction or foreclosure matter is pending. Foreclosure is an equitable remedy which grants wide latitude to the Judge. Procedures should be in place that force the initiators of foreclosure proceedings to slow down, force everyone into mediation and give some breathing room so the marketplace, the financial sector, and government has time to catch up with events that have overtaken them.

In order to accomplish this, the authority is usually vested in the State Supreme Court of each state. The State Supreme Court is usually the authority that creates, amends or changes rules of civil procedure. This plan is not sexy but it is quick and it will work. Change the rules as we have suggested in our recent posting “Send this to Your State Supreme Court”. 

As for the PRESIDENTIAL candidates it is a dismal picture. The candidates for all other public offices don’t look any better in any of the State, local or Federal elections.

While we applaud McCain for his honesty in admitting he doesn’t know much about economics, that is hardly the person we want making executive decisions during a deep recession or depression. 

While Clinton is good at creating four point plans, ten point plans etc., she has not demonstrated any understanding of the economics at work here. Her husband didn’t have any experience in economics beyond a small state with niche industries. Her “experience” might sell but it isn’t true. She was a tea and cookies first lady in Arkansas and in the White House. This is no Eleanor Roosevelt. We can only hope that, like her Husband, if she is the candidate, she will be lucky enough to have people around like Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin and others who not only understood the economy but knew how to grow it and that her personal political ambitions for a second term don’t get in the way of good judgment.

While Obama does have a close-up understanding of the economics of poverty, because he gave up Wall Street to work on Main Street, he also lacks experience in the macro-economic events that are in the process of burying our economy. He also is an academic, having taught constitutional law for 10 years, and brilliant analyst and fast learner. He also energizes people to out-perform which is exactly what we are going to need in the White House if we get through this in one piece. 

Obama is about leadership while Clinton is about tactical maneuvering. Both are valuable talents. But the truth is that Clinton would probably be one of the best Senate Majority leaders in history and at best a mediocre President for precisely those reasons. With Obama in the White House and Clinton and Pelosi in charge of Congress, it is hard to imagine a scenario where we can’t emerge from all this a little smarter and rebounding from the worst economic times in our lives.

There are no guarantees. Yet it seems like an Obama presidency will be a populist presidency directed by the people and for the people, while a Clinton presidency will be a Hillary presidency. McCain appears best suited to go to war and least suited to deal with any domestic issues. But none of them will like what is delivered to them on “Day One” unless something is done now. Obama too is at least as likely to attract energized geniuses in their respective fields to manage the difficult terrain ahead of us.

What Obama should do is what Obama does best — create a movement that moves the Supreme Courts of every state into action. All candidates for public office should sign on and all present office holders should introduce and pass remedial legislation in support of the movement. Obama is best suited to initiate this movement because his core constituency is the sector hardest hit by predatory lending practices, job losses, and NAFTA failures. 

The Obama Presidency should, as much as possible, start now. 

It is highly unlikely that Clinton’s last gasp pf political maneuvering and attack ads is going to change the math — Obama ends up with more popular vote, more states won, and more delegates one. Unless the convention turns to a compromise candidate like Gore, who probably won’t take the job, Obama is the only candidate that can be the nominee without tearing the Democratic party apart.

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