This week began with Mitt Romney telling The R-J Editorial Board that he wants to see MORE home foreclosures. Here’s what Romney said:
As for what to do for the housing industry specifically, and are there things that you can do to encourage housing? One is don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up. The Obama administration has slow-walked the foreclosure processes that have long existed and as a result we still have a foreclosure overhang.
And here’s reality.
Romney’s callous disregard for families losing their homes through no fault of their own is bad enough. But it’s also not true that speeding foreclosures is good for the economy, as every foreclosure drags down the value of the homes around it. The Roosevelt Institute Mike Konczal has pointed to research showing that “foreclosures were responsible for 15% to 30% of the decline in residential investment from 2007 to 2009 and 20% to 40% of the decline in auto sales over the same period.”
And, of course, focusing only on those homeowners entering the foreclosure process legally ignores the vast amounts of fraud that banks perpetrated in order to speed foreclosures, such as robo-signing and fake notarization of documents. Romney already has the lobbyist for a notorious foreclosure mill fundraising for his campaign — perhaps he should take a moment, while he’s in Nevada, to talk to those who are on the other side of the equation.
Now guess who’s piggybacking off Romney’s callous disregard for formerly middle class homeowners getting roughed up by the big banks? Oh yes, that’s right… New GOP frontrunner darling, Herman Cain!
Cain is championing the same group whose bad mortgage loans helped spur the financial implosion of 2008, has left over 1 million Americans with foreclosed homes, and may push an additional 5.9 million Americans to that outcome over the next few years. Banks and their lobbyists have openly “delayed, diluted, and obstructed attempts to address the problem.” Instead, banks unleashed “robo-signers,” officials who sign foreclosure forms without reading them, and managed to set a foreclosure record last year despite their self-imposed foreclosure moratoriums.
What’s more, by calling for an end to the Dodd-Frank regulations to protect foreclosure victims, Cain is jeopardizing key consumer protections for those looking to own a home. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency — which Republicans are hell-bent on obstructing — is designed to stop predatory lending by helping prevent mortgage brokers from putting borrowers into higher interest loans, regardless of their long-term ability to pay. The Dodd-Frank bill also stops banks from selling off an entire loan to avoid the risk of mortgage default, another problem that contributed to the financial meltdown. The law requires lenders to retain 5 percent of every loan — a policy banks are desperately trying to repeal.
They don’t get it. They really don’t get it! Nevada is still on top of the foreclosure heap, families are still losing their homes to foreclosure, and the Republican candidates have nothing to offer.
Perhaps this is why #OccupyLasVegas shouted out on Tuesday when CNN was tossing out the usual pre-debate spin. CNN was trying to keep the focus on the inane and insane inside The Venetian, but they couldn’t entirely drown out the voices of the people outside. The 99% refused to be ignored.
“The Republicans want to take us low-income people, they want to take more taxes from us and give to the rich,” Las Vegas resident Quenton Gavin said. “They’re robbing us for what we don’t have.”
Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation and an ongoing foreclosure crisis. The GOP debate held there offered few solutions, focusing instead on attacking undocumented immigrants, repealing health care reform, slashing taxes and easing regulations.
“It’s just the same broken record,” Las Vegas resident Judy Ostapow said. “Deregulate, cut taxes for the wealthy, and this is going to stimulate jobs. Well it hasn’t stimulated jobs in all these years that they’ve had these tax cuts and deregulating and it hasn’t done anything. It’s just made the problem worse.”
Again, there’s a reason why these people have been taking to the streets. There’s a reason why they’ve become so frustrated with the current political system. And there’s a reason why they couldn’t relate to the crap being tossed at the Sands Expo stage on Tuesday.
Right now, the media are focusing on the RNC tag-teaming with New Hampshire Republicans to try to force the Nevada GOP to give up its early caucus. And right now, it looks like the Nevada GOP may cave to a certain extent and push its caucus back to January 17, or perhaps all the way back to February 4. What’s so hilarious about this fiasco is that it all started when Florida (again) broke GOP rules by moving its primary to January 31, which drove all the “officially approved early states” to leap-frog Florida. Yet so far, Nevada looks to be the state that will be punished the most for Florida’s original sin. RNC Chair Reince Preibus is now promising Nevada Republicans he will do his part to “preserve Nevada’s early status in future elections”, but how can he be believed when the RNC couldn’t stop Florida twice?
And really, this dating drama is just a small part of the bigger picture. More importantly, why won’t any of the GOP candidates propose anything to halt the foreclosure crisis, put people back to work, and invest in our economy? Why are a few TEA-nuts more important to that party than the strong majority of the American people? Is it really all about the cold, hard cash?
Nevadans especially want answers on how to solve the foreclosure crisis, how to get people back to work, how to create and implement a 21st century energy plan, and how to move our country forward. But instead, all we hear from the GOP candidates, and their fanatical fans, is how to “take our country back” to The Gilded Age by repealing Wall Street oversight, repealing health care reform, and repealing the entire New Deal. There’s a giant elephant in this room that GOP leaders and media pundits either can’t see or won’t see. No wonder why we keep seeing poll numbers like these.
(As always, you can also find my fairly unbalanced rants at Nevada Progressive.)