If Rip Van Winkle had just awoken from a long coma and tuned in to the weekly blather, he would have gotten the impression that happy days are here again, that the American dream of homeownership is once more within the reach of the average Joe or Jane, that there is no chronic unemployment and wage stagnation, there is no record income disparity, and that President Obama has always sided with regular people over the unpunished and unregulated predators of the banking industry.
Today's presidential propaganda, actually addressed obliquely to the slavering deregulated greedheads constituting the political donor class, is aptly titled Growing the Housing Market and Supporting Our Homeowners. I say apt, because the ugly reality is that a big chunk of today's home-buyers are Wall Street investors grabbing up distressed property right and left, even as much of the foreclosure inventory is deliberately being kept off the market by complicit realtors. The price of real estate, therefore, is once again being artificially inflated to bubble-icious proportions. The vulture capitalists-turned-landlords are now renting the looted homes back to their own victims, only to re-kick them back to the curb once the resale price is again right.
In case you missed Barack's soothing pat on the head to his property-grubbing pitbull paymasters -- let the parsing begin!
Hi, everybody. Our top priority as a nation is reigniting the true engine of our economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class. And few things define what it is to be middle class in America more than owning your own cornerstone of the American Dream: a home.
Grrrrr! How about a new speechwriter, someone who can come up with a better lead/theme than Reigniting the Middle Class Engine? That metaphor ran out of gas a long time ago. Home ownership as the cornerstone of the American dream? Not so much anymore, given that a record number of people have yet to wake up from the Great American Nightmare. Besides, people will be too busy paying back six-figure student loans while working two or three McJobs to even think about marriage and children, let alone owning a home in their lifetimes. Obama does not mention that this sad state of affairs is seizing up that middle class/family values engine of his.
Today, seven years after the real estate bubble burst, triggering the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and costing millions of responsible Americans their jobs and their homes, our housing market is healing. Sales are up. Foreclosures are down. Construction is expanding. And thanks to rising home prices over the past year, 1.7 million more families have been able to come up for air, because they’re no longer underwater on their mortgages.That old bubble just magically burst all by itself! Obama gives subprime lenders (including his sugar mama, Moneypenny Pritzker) a huge pass. No mention of fraudulent credit rating agencies and toxic mortgage-backed securities, followed by the double whammy of fraudclosures by too-big-to-exist banks. Our housing market is not healing. It's a festering sore covered up with a private equity bandaid. Prices are rising only because another artificial greed-bubble is inflating. People are being priced right out of the market.
From the the Wall Street Journal,
Currently, cash buyers—largely investors—make up about 32% of sales nationally, according to the National Association of Realtors. In Southern California, a favorite target for investors, absentee buyers accounted for 31.4% of purchases last month, up from an average of less than 17% between 2000 and 2010, according to DataQuick MDA, a real-estate research firm.And incidentally, those checks being mailed to fraudclosure victims (assuming that they actually clear) are so paltry that they often don't cover a month's rent to the new bankster-landlord.
Obama, meanwhile, continues:
From the day I took office, I’ve made it a priority to help responsible homeowners and prevent the kind of recklessness that helped cause this crisis in the first place.Recklessness is Obamian Newspeak for unindicted epic conspiracy, fraud and grand larceny. And since the day he took office, his top priority was to screw the little guy and "foam the runway" for banksters to spread their widespread real estate theft out over time. They were given bailouts with no questions asked and suffered no consequences when they simply pocketed TARP funds instead of using them to recompense victimized borrowers. The Dodd-Frank reform law is still only one-third operative, deliberately underfunded, and rapidly being whittled away to nothingness by armies of lobbyists and complicit federal judges.
My housing plan has already helped more than two million people refinance their mortgages, and they’re saving an average of $3000 per year.Lies, lies and more lies. His initial HAMP housing plan was never implemented. And wasn't that the whole plan, right from the get-go? To be seen as trying, but passive-aggressively doing the exact opposite. ProPublica investigated:
The program was launched with President Obama’s promise to help three to four million homeowners avoid foreclosure. Three and a half years later, the program is only approaching 1.1 million modifications. It’s spent just $4 billion  of its original $50 billion budget.
A recent study found a big reason for the program’s failure was that, despite all its rules, it didn’t change the behavior of the biggest banks . The banks did a poor job of modifying loans before HAMP was launched and weren't much better after.Oops. But President Obama glides glibly on:
My new consumer watchdog agency is moving forward on protections like a simpler, shorter mortgage form that will help to keep hard-working families from getting ripped off.Notice how he arrogantly calls it "his" consumer watchdog agency rather than ours, failing to give credit for its existence to Elizabeth Warren. And if you're unemployed or retired or disabled, forget about it. Obama does not even deign to acknowledge your existence, let alone your rights against ripoffs if you are not a "hard-working family".
But we’ve got more work to do. We’ve got more responsible homeowners to help – folks who have never missed a mortgage payment, but aren’t allowed to refinance; working families who have done everything right, but still owe more on their homes than they’re worth."We've got more work to do" is another overused weasel phrase which translates into "We have done jackshit." And the above paragraph again inserts the typical moralizing against those families (victimized by the likes of mega-donor Penny Pritzker), who were steered into subprime mortages with ballooning payments, or had the poor taste to lose both a job and the roof over their heads. "Working folks" and "responsible homeowners", on the other hand, can be translated into upper middle class professionals in the monied 'burbs who never once missed a payment. Unlike those marginalized wrong-doers, they did everything "right." Obama's Romneyesque "taker v. maker" libertarianism and subtle racism are glaringly put on display in the paragraph above.
Last week, I nominated a man named Mel Watt to take on these challenges as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Mel’s represented the people of North Carolina in Congress for 20 years, and in that time, he helped lead efforts to put in place rules of the road that protect consumers from dishonest mortgage lenders, and give responsible Americans the chance to own their own home. He’s the right person for the job, and that’s why Congress should do its job, and confirm him without delay.Mel Watt? As a congress critter from Wall Street-South and Financial Services committee member, he's raked in more than $5 million in campaign cash from such stand-up deregulated institutions as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Obama no longer even has to pretend, because the clock has just about run out on the statute of limitations for bank prosecutions. Maybe he'll recess-appoint Mel Watt. Maybe the GOP will overlook Mel Watt's race in deference to their common allegiances. It's a toss-up.
And they shouldn’t stop there. As I said before, more than two million Americans have already refinanced at today’s low rates, but we can do a lot better than that. I’ve called on Congress to give every responsible homeowner the chance to refinance, and with it, the opportunity to save $3,000 a year. That’s like a $3,000 tax cut. And if you’re one of the millions of Americans who could take advantage of that, you should ask your representative in Congress why they won’t act on it.All well and good, but this ephemeral tax cut is already more than wiped out by failure to extend the FICA tax holiday for working Americans. And if Obama's chained CPI method of reducing earned benefits goes into affect as part of his Machiavellian Grand Bargain with Republicans, it will constitute yet another stealth tax hike on what's left of his vaunted middle class. He doesn't want to reignite any middle class engine at all. If anything, he's pouring sugar into it and stalling it out.
Our economy and our housing market are poised for progress – but we could do so much more if we work together. More good jobs. Greater security for middle-class families. A sense that your hard work is rewarded. That’s what I’m fighting for – and that’s what I’m going to keep fighting for as long as I hold this office.
Thank you. And have a great weekend.Poised for progress the way the burnt-out wreckage of the Hindenburg is poised for flight. How many more weekends of this drivel can we stand, until Hillary or Chris Christie come to the rescue, to seamlessly continue in the grand bloviating tradition?