House Republicans, led by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R – Alabama), “are halfway toward their goal of killing four federal programs meant to prevent home foreclosures,’ wrote Mary Orndorff of the Birmingham News Sunday. Last week, the body voted, mostly along partisan lines, to kill the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program and the FHA Refinance Program in the name of deficit reduction.
Eight Democrats voted with the majority while two Republicans voted against it.
The House also voted last week to eliminate the FHA Refinance Program that is aimed to give assistance to people whose homes have lost significant value. Votes were slated this week ending the Home Affordable Modification Program and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
These actions have attracted very little media attention although they are threats to the livelihoods and survival of millions of working people. One explanation for this dearth of coverage will be that the GOP sponsored measures are unlikely to get past the Senate and there is always the threat of a Presidential veto. However, in today’s Washington politics the ever-present scenario is the Republicans pass something outrageous, the White House negotiates it, and they come up with a “compromise.”
‘The president and his aides know that the G.O.P. approach to the budget is wrongheaded and destructive,” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote March 11. “But they’ve stopped making the case for an alternative approach; instead, they’ve positioned themselves as know-nothings lite, accepting the notion that spending must be slashed immediately – just not as much as Republicans want.
‘Mr. Obama’s political advisers clearly believe that this strategy of protective camouflage offers the president his best chance at re-election – and they may be right. But that doesn’t change the fact that the White House is aiding and abetting the dumbing down of our deficit debate.”
Ray Ray and the others could well end up on the couch more than a mite longer.
Over 1.2 million young adults moved home with their parents from 2005 to 2010, notes Venessa Wong, a lifestyle and real estate reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek. The reason? Rents are soaring.
In 2009, rents fell 5.9 percent: in 2010 they rose 4.2 percent, compared to an overall consumer prices that climbed only 1.6 percent. Citing figures from the research group AXIOMetrics, Wong notes that “last year was one of the best periods for landlords over the past 15 years.”
Furthermore, “Renter households are unwinding from two- and three-bedroom units into one-bedroom units after many tenants doubled up in 2009 to save money,” the researchers told Wong.
Wong writes that the metropolitan areas with the biggest rent increases are Greenville, S.C. (11.2 percent), Chattanooga, Tenn. (10.4 percent), Savannah, Ga., (8.4 percent) and Portland, Ore. and San Jose, Ca. (close to 8 percent). The reason for the increasing rent rates is simple: the still soaring foreclosures are forcing more people onto the rental market and high unemployment is dissuading workers from buying homes. Landlords are only doing what landlords have done throughout recorded history: charging whatever the market will bear (except in fortunate areas that retain some form of rent control or stabilization).
Surveying the scene Tubman wrote, “All for what — to prop up a bloated military budget and fund a war far away that most Americans think we should have stopped fighting years ago? We are wasting our money and bankrupting our future. A mind is a terrible thing to waste indeed.
“Don’t get me twisted. I think the economic stimulus probably helped save the global economy and put off the worst hurt. We have Obama to thank for that. But while Wall Street has made a big comeback, it’s been on the backs and at the expense of those who were fleeced. Black America is picking up the tab whether it’s on the no job front or the subprime mortgages we were sold — it ain’t fair and it ain’t right. And we still look to the Obama administration to help make it right. Because if our boats rise, so will a lot of other boats. I, for one, am still a believer yet am still waiting to see how the Obama administration will make a dent in black unemployment and ensure stronger futures for us and for all Americans who have been hit hard during the Great Recession.”
“We must continue to Hope for Change…
It springs eternal.
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