In Las Vegas this Friday, while doing what Obama does best (campaigning), the President announced that “thanks to the leadership of Harry Reid,” (who he was there to campaign for) he would be allocating $1.5 billion to local housing agencies of the five most troubled states: Nevada, California, Michigan, Florida and Arizona.
This fund piggybacks the existing $75 billion Home Affordability Modification Program which has been called a colossal failure on all sides of the aisle. The Associated Press reports that only 12% of applicants have been helped and over 61,000 homeowners have dropped out of the program altogether. I think Obama’s intentions with HAMP were pure and that it was meant to help, but this additional funding feels more political in nature than helpful.
This move stinks of pandering for several reasons:
- Traveling to Vegas to campaign for Reid and conveniently announcing that help is coming to Nevada feels a lot like that speech a kid running for student council at my high school gave, announcing if he and his preferred VP candidate were elected, he’d make sure we got 30 extra minutes for lunch. Promises, promises.
- HAMP is a ridiculous failure, agencies have had to have even more regulation because they “lose paperwork” of applicants. Why throw more money at a problem that’s already out of hand? You don’t give a drowning man a glass of water… if the $75 billion isn’t helping, how the hell is another $1.5 billion going to change a darn thing?
- The plan is supposed to go to unemployed homeowners, but I’m weary of the qualification criteria and how many hoops people may have to jump through in order to get help if a simple modification program (HAMP) has put so many people through the endless loop of red tape, causing thousands to drop out.
So what do you think? Is Obama stumping for Reid, is he stumping for himself, or could this really save drowning homeowners? I feel like this is a wasted effort even though I do believe that Obama has good intentions, I really do, but throwing an extra few billion into an already overfunded, floundering series of programs feels like a campaign trick that makes Obama and Reid look good (“oh we tried, we gave every effort, and agencies couldn’t handle it, but we tried, oh we tried”).
Just like corn subsidies bought Iowa, so shall $1.5 billion buy Nevada?