I have always had what I considered a jaded view of the electorate. Overall I think citizens tend to vote with their wallets.
So I continue to be amazed at the delayed response and awareness over the last year on a federal level to the housing market problem as it related to the economy. The Federal Reserve began to react in late summer, but it was at minimum, a year late. Here we are well into the presidential campaign, and only now, does housing begin to take a bigger role in policy declarations by the candidates.
A few weeks ago, the WSJ published an article and a series of charts that seemed to suggest the current administration, through laissez-faire, had enabled the current housing market downturn.
John McCain has only provided very general recommendations for housing but lacks specific solutions nor does he intend to provide them:
“I will not play election-year politics with the housing crisis,” he said, adding he would evaluate all proposals. ”I will not allow dogma to override commonsense.”
Of course that doesn’t address election-politics to applied to all other issues being discussed. Again, a disconnect on the federal level continues to apply to housing.
”I will consider any and all proposals based on their cost and benefits,” the certain GOP presidential nominee, who has acknowledged the economy is not his strong suit, told local business leaders south of Los Angeles.
Hillary Clinton addressed her approach to the problems only this week.
On Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed several remedies to the home mortgage problems, including aggressive federal intervention to ease the strain on homeowners.
Among her ideas is to create an Emergency Working Group on Foreclosures to deal with the growing foreclosure crisis. These would include Paul Volcker (former Fed Chair), Robert Rubin (former Treasury Secretary) and Alan Greenspan (former Fed Chair). All are distinguished individuals and sharp financial minds. I can’t help but note the irony of having Greenspan on the panel since he was at the helm during the housing market build up and argued that housing was not a problem.
Barack Obama has also proposed more involvement at the federal level with creation of a foreclosure prevention fund, although it is smaller than Clinton’s proposal.
Senator Obama’s proposed $10 billion foreclosure fund is a mere one-third the size of Senator Clinton’s, yet another failure on his part to acknowledge the size and scope of this crisis. When Senator Obama says that Senator Clinton’s plan will “reward people who are wealthy and don’t need it” he shows himself to be out of touch with average Americans. Senator Clinton’s plan only helps subprime borrowers, a population that is disproportionately low-income.”
The problem is, the credit markets won’t likely recover before the fall election and with the economy continuing to erode, housing will likely continue to erode.
So where are we?
In banking jargon, the analogy that housing would be “too big to fail” but I think in political jargon, it’s more appropriate to say the housing/credit market problems are “too big to see.“
In other words, let’s not be pigs…
Tags: Alan Greenspan, Sub-Prime, local market knowledge