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Out: Pass This Jobs Bill! — In: We Can’t Wait!

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By Doug Powers  •  October 24, 2011 01:17 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

“Pass this jobs bill” has been abandoned in favor of something with a little more urgency: “We can’t wait!” It’s called “We can’t wait” because “Who needs Congress” sounded too brazen.

From CBS News:

With Republicans continuing to stall action on President Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill, the White House is taking action to help jump-start the economy with the message “We can’t wait.”

President Obama is going to begin a series of executive branch actions that will not require action from Congress – or the assent of Republicans.

With recovery in the housing market tied to economic recovery, Mr. Obama will today announce what senior officials are calling a “major overhaul” of the government’s underused refinance program for federally guaranteed mortgages, in order to aid homeowners having difficulty refinancing their housing loan.
[...]
Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s communications director, told The New York Times that truly attacking the country’s economic troubles requires “bold, bipartisan action in Congress,” but that Mr. Obama “believes we cannot wait, so he will act where they won’t.”

Last month President Obama said he’d like to work his way around Congress, so let’s at least not accuse him of failing to properly telegraph his intentions.

Not to sound ungrateful or anything, but I don’t want somebody who has presided over a $4 trillion increase in the national debt since taking office helping me with my finances. But I’m picky like that.

In any case, here are the five eligibility requirements for a mortgage re-fi through the Bank of We Can’t Wait by way of the Federal Housing Finance Authority:

-The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
-The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
-The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
-The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.
-The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with no late payment in the past six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey writes that the focus here is all off:

The real problem in the housing crisis isn’t mortgages, it’s unemployment. Even an underwater mortgage is still manageable as long as the debtor maintains an income level that affords the payments. Foreclosures don’t happen because of devaluation of property — they occur because payments don’t get made. Further, if homeowners have steady incomes, banks don’t need government interventions for refinancing and restructuring mortgages; they have plenty of motivation to perform those on their own.

In a manner of speaking, they’re trying to force-feeding the cat because the dog is starving. But the intent of course isn’t necessarily to fix a problem but rather to assign blame anywhere and everywhere except at the White House going into 2012. Saying mortgage problems are a cause of the economic downturn rather than a symptom incompetent and/or self-serving decision-making in Washington over the years helps to blame banks, which then leads to pointing the finger at Wall Street. And in the process, if Team Obama can bring the Peggy demographic back on board where they were in 2008, all the better.

Speaking of “We can’t wait,” two can play that game.

Update: From the President’s speech announcing the mortgage initiative:

The plan I’m announcing focuses on rescuing families who have played by the rules and acted responsibly: by refinancing loans for millions of families in traditional mortgages who are underwater or close to it; by modifying loans for families stuck in sub-prime mortgages they can’t afford as a result of skyrocketing interest rates or personal misfortune; and by taking broader steps to keep mortgage rates low so that families can secure loans with affordable monthly payments.
[...]
It will not be easy. But if we move forward with purpose and resolve – with a deepened appreciation for how fundamental the American Dream is and how fragile it can be when we fail in our collective responsibilities – then I am confident we will overcome this crisis and once again secure that dream for ourselves and for generations to come.

Did I mention that speech was from February of 2009?

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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