News & Politics

Obama’s Billions: $75B for Housing Market

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The new, transparent White House sends out the text of speeches ahead of time, so we don’t have to watch the President announce in Phoenix this afternoon that he’ll ask Congress for up to $75 billion to bail out the housing market. First, they’ll remove existing restrictions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that prevent them from guaranteeing a refi for mortgages valued at more than 80 percent of the home’s worth, and Treasury will write new, presumably more forgiving guidelines for all mortgage modifications. Then there’ll be “new incentives” (including a $1,000-a-year “Pay for Success Incentive” for mortgage servicers) to encourage renegotiation of sub-prime loans, and other “reforms.” None of the money is to go to “speculators or house flippers,” though. These changes are expected to help stem the growing number of foreclosures across the country, and Obama says “the estimated cost to taxpayers would be roughly zero,” which is an odd way of looking at a $75 billion dollar program, but the younger among us will see if it pans out.

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