Mortgage Meltdown: 12 million homes “under water”

TIME TO WAKE UP. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT IN DEFAULT THE MORTGAGE MELTDOWN IS GOING TO HURT YOU UNLESS YOU ACT NOW. GET INVOLVED! THERE IS NO “MIDDLE GROUND”

Most projections put the number at over 20 million homes, which means that over 95% of the people negatively impacted by the mortgage meltdown either didn’t purchase or refinance their homes or if they did are not in default and think this situation will pass them by — after all “I’M NOT BEHIND IN MY PAYMENTS. I’M FINE!” No you are not!!! 

If this mess is not cleared up by aggressive government intervention you will permanently lose equity in your house, see your real estate taxes soar, and watch as inflation eats up that comfortable margin you think you have in income. 

Bernanke is no give-away liberal. He wants this because it is absolutely necessary and at that only a partial step. 

Write your congressmen and senators. We cannot afford stick our heads in the sand on this one on some ideological grounds protecting taxpayer bailouts or whatever. It doesn’t matter whether or not the mortgage meltdown started with borrowers being stupid or Wall Street being greedy. It happened. And now it’s a train wreck headed your way.

 

Anatomy of a Fight

Over Mortgage Bill

 

By JOSEPH SCHUMAN

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE

 

A surge of partisanship has placed in jeopardy a bill aimed at helping homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. But the political resonance of the issue could prompt the measure’s Republican critics and Democratic backers to find middle ground.

 

The bill would try to lower risks for both the lender and the borrower, by offering government-backed insurance to lenders willing to reduce the principal for loans made to some people who owe more on the property than the home is now worth. It passed through the House Financial Services Committee with 10 Republicans joining Chairman Barney Frank and the panel’s other Democrats. But after President Bush yesterday came out and threatened to veto the bill, Republicans threw up legislative roadblocks to keep the measure from the House floor, as the New York Times reports. Mr. Bush says the bill would “reward speculators and lenders” without making a big dent in the country’s mortgage and housing-market crisis. Moreover, Republicans argue, it means taxpayers could be stuck with bad loans newly insured by the Federal Housing Administration. But the issue is more complicated than that.

 

Wall Street Journal columnist David Wessel boils down the debate to a question of whether Washington should push the lenders to help Americans whose home values sank below the size of their mortgages “even if it may cost taxpayers some money,” with the White House saying “No!” and Mr. Frank, quietly backed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, saying “Yes!” Citing research from Economy.com, Mr. Wessel puts the number of families with such “underwater” mortgages at about four million, and notes that number is predicted to reach around 12 million by early next year. While many of those families will keep paying their mortgages, “many won’t, and are at risk of losing their homes,” he says. Since “no one in Washington wants to help the ‘speculators'” who bought homes as investments, and most there agree people who bought houses they can’t afford are probably beyond aid, “the debate revolves around the ‘preventable foreclosures,'” he adds.

 

And no one, from the homeowners to the lenders to the politicians and economists like Mr. Bernanke, wants to let “preventable foreclosures” go unprevented. The bill, while crafted to exclude people who don’t need the help or wouldn’t benefit, “could allow some homeowners to get a deal they don’t deserve; that’s the unfortunate byproduct of any rescue,” Mr. Wessel notes. But the Treasury and Fed, he argues, “surrendered the let-the-market-work-it-out high ground when they agreed to risk nearly $30 billion of taxpayer money to shield Bear Stearns, its creditors and counterparties from losses.” Democratic legislators yesterday were mentioning the Bear Stearns bailout again and again.

 

The housing downturn is an economic problem with as much political resonance as gas prices, and if no relief is provided, it could be a poignant issue ahead of November’s elections. Even as Mr. Bush was threatening a veto yesterday, Keith Hennessey, director of the White House National Economic Council, was saying the differences between congressional Democrats and the administration aren’t “insurmountable,” the Journal reports, adding that this leaves the door open for an eventual deal.

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