The President’s Housing Plan–What You Need to Know

The White House

President Obama took Wednesday morning to answer your questions on housing during an online interview, and it’s worth a watch. It’s part of his push for a more secure foundation for middle-class home ownership.

We want to make sure you’ve got the facts about President Obama’s plan, and the resources that are already available for homeowners.

Here’s what you need to know: The President’s plan involves simple, commonsense steps that folks on both sides of the aisle agree on. That means making it easier for families to refinance, reforming the system so families aren’t on the hook for the bad behavior of certain mortgage lenders, and helping folks who aren’t homeowners yet get affordable housing that’s right for them.

Click here to find out more about President Obama’s plan.

And while  we need to do more, there are some resources we’ve already helped make available:

  • MakingHomeAffordable.gov is there to help get you mortgage relief and avoid foreclosure. If you or someone you know needs assistance, they can help you find programs that can help — both online and through a free, 24/7 support line that can connect you with housing experts.

Take a minute to share this information with your family and friends, so that people who might not know about these resources can start getting help if they need it.

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Under The Reading Lamp — 10/28/2010


Bank Transfer Day: A Guide to Closing Your Account
News Analysis: “The description and goal of Bank Transfer Day is straightforward: If you currently have checking and savings accounts (deposit accounts) with a big bank, the organizers encourage you to remove all of your funds, close your accounts, and place your money in a new deposit account with a not-for-profit credit union. The organizers ask that you do this by November 5. And since November 5 is a Saturday, you should definitely do it before November 5 since many big banks aren’t open on weekends.”


Goldman Sachs v. Occupy Wall Street
Video Report: “A controversy in the banking community has arisen around the Occupy Wall Street movement. Greg Palast investigates the story behind Goldman Sachs’ recent decision to pull out of a fundraiser for the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union in New York City after it learned the event was honoring the protesters at Occupy Wall Street. The investment bank withdrew its name from the fundraiser and also canceled a $5,000 pledge. Was the $5,000 a Goldman Sachs donation or actually American taxpayer bailout money Goldman set aside for community banks?”


GOP Presidential Candidates’ Tax Plans Would Benefit The Rich
Steven Thomma, News Analysis: “The flat tax — so called because it offers one flat rate for taxpayers in all income groups while taking away many or all deductions — would simplify taxes. It also would almost certainly give big tax cuts to wealthy Americans. Republicans believe that cutting taxes, especially on the wealthy, helps to spur investment, economic growth and hiring.”


Should Minimum Wage Earners Pay a Tax Rate 460 Times Higher than Millionaires?
Kyle Linzer, Special Feature: The question of the supposed simplicity and fairness of a flat tax keeps popping up every few years in political debate, most recently with the 9-9-9 plan of Herman Cain. I just wanted to look at what this kind of flat tax would look like for people across the income range to see how fair and simple it would be. One question needs to be addressed before we can begin to look at real numbers.


Robert Reich | Wall Street is Still Out of Control
Robert Reich, Op-Ed: “Next week President Obama travels to Wall Street where he’ll demand – in light of the Street’s continuing antics since the bailout, as well as its role in watering-down the Volcker rule – that the Glass-Steagall Act be resurrected and big banks be broken up. I’m kidding. But it would be a smart move — politically and economically.”


What’s Happened to the Big Players in the Financial Crisis
Braden Goyette, News Investigation: “Mortgage lenders contributed to the financial crisis by issuing or underwriting loans to people who would have a difficult time paying them back, inflating a housing bubble that was bound to pop. Lax regulation allowed banks to stretch their mortgage lending standards and use aggressive tactics to rope borrowers into complex mortgages that were more expensive than they first appeared.”


Flanders on Ed Schultz on Oakland Crack Down
Laura Flanders, Video Report: Whose servants? Whose safety? Whose space? The extreme violence of the Oakland police underscores the critical questions the Occupy movement is raising. Just what is the place of the public in the privatized state? Good for Ed Schultz, alone in prime time, for leading with this story Wednesday night.


Jim Hightower: “We the People,” Not “We the Corporations”
Jim Hightower, Op-Ed: “A year from now, Americans will be caught in an unprecedented blizzard of presidential campaign ads. We’ll be blinded by the whiteout and buried in the storm’s negativity. For the first time ever, most of this ad blizzard will not come from the candidates, but from ads secretly funded by huge corporations. This is because a five-man cabal on the Supreme Court issued an edict last year that perverts nature itself.”


Rick Perry Outlines Flat Tax, Social Security Proposals
Adam Beam, News Report: “The optional flat tax is the centerpiece of a broad economic initiative that includes Social Security and Medicare changes, spending cuts, freezing pending federal regulations and other steps aimed at bolstering the economy and balancing the federal budget by 2020. Perry described it as a ‘bold reform needed to jolt this economy out its doldrums.’ The flat tax would offer a major break for America’s wealthiest taxpayers by enabling them to move from the current top bracket of 35 percent into the 20 percent bracket.”


Perry: “I Don’t Care” Whether My Tax Plan Gives Breaks to the Rich
Pat Garofalo, News Analysis: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) today became the latest GOP presidential hopeful to release a tax plan, as he tries to catch up in the polls, some of which even have him trailing former Speaker Newt Gingrich and libertarian favorite Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). The plan, as Perry has been explaining, revolves around a 20 percent flat tax. Former pizza magnate Herman Cain and former Govs. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Jon Huntsman (R-UT) have all laid out tax plans that give huge tax breaks to the wealthy.”


Who Are these Occupy Protesters, and What Do They Want?
Lois Beckett, News Analysis: “At first glance, the synchronized protests that took place in more than 900 cities around the globe on Oct. 15 seemed to indicate that Occupy Wall Street had achieved a kind of worldwide resonance. But the truth is more complex. Many of the protests elsewhere grew out of movements that pre-date Occupy Wall Street and out of frustrations that, though similar in some ways, are also specific to their countries. Here’s a look at the origins, demands and affects of five of these global protests, as well as the criticism they’ve faced.”


Glen Greenwald: Immunity and Impunity in Elite America
Glenn Greenwald, Op-Ed: “As intense protests spawned by Occupy Wall Street continue to grow, it is worth asking: Why now? The answer is not obvious. After all, severe income and wealth inequality have long plagued the United States. In fact, it could reasonably be claimed that this form of inequality is part of the design of the American founding — indeed, an integral part of it. Many Americans who once accepted or even cheered such inequality now see the gains of the richest as ill-gotten, as undeserved, as cheating.”


Dean Baker: The Military Spending Fairy
Dean Baker, Op-Ed: “Faced with the prospect of cuts to the Defense Department’s budget, the defense industry is pushing the story of the military spending fairy on members of Congress. They are telling them that these cuts will lead to the loss of more than 1 million jobs over the next decade. Believers in the military spending fairy say things like “the government can’t create jobs,” but also think that military spending creates jobs.”


Obama Housing Plan Gets Faint Praise
Ben Hallman, News Report: “Obama’s new housing initiative, announced Monday in Las Vegas, may not be as bold as some had hoped, but it offers some underwater homeowners the possibility of relief. A week earlier at the Venetian casino, the leading Republican candidates said that the government should get out of the way and let the market sort out the foreclosure mess. The president’s plan will loosen restrictions on the Home Affordability Refinance Program (HARP), which was created especially for homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth.”


Occupy Wall Street, 1979
John Cavanaugh and Robin Broad, New Analysis: “Thirty-two years ago, the two of us and 1,043 other protesters were arrested for what one would now call “occupying” Wall Street. It was October 29, 1979, the 50th anniversary of the Wall Street crash that ushered in the Great Depression. We two were then graduate students at Princeton, and we had trained for weeks as part of an “affinity group” of about a dozen people prepared to commit acts of civil disobedience to prevent what we saw as a greater evil.”


Robert Reich | Why We Shouldn’t be Selling the Right to Live in America
Robert Reich, Op-Ed: “America is having a fire sale. Why not sell wealthy foreigners the right to live here, too? That’s the notion behind a bill introduced last week by Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Democrat Senator Charles Schumer of New York: Stoke demand for American homes by allowing foreign nationals to buy them. In return, give foreigners the right to live here (although not work here).”


A Fire Sale for Arsonists: The “Revised” Bank Mortgage Settlement Still Stinks
Richard (RJ) Eskow, Op-Ed: “Let’s imagine that the Mayor, the DA, and the Chief of Police said they’ve come up with a great “settlement”: The arsonists will pay a small fine, and they’ll never be prosecuted for arson. Plus, if they’re asked very nicely, they’ll also agree to provide a little help to 27 out of the 1,000 families they made homeless – although they’d control the ‘help’ process and the town might wind up footing the bill anyway.”


Recalling the Lost Paradise of Budget Surpluses
Froma Harrop, Op-Ed: “Hard to believe, but once upon a time, economists worried that the U.S. government would pay off all its debt. Also hard to believe, once upon a time was only 11 years ago. President Clinton had bequeathed his successor budget surpluses “as far as the eye could see.” He wanted some of them used to speed up repayment of the remaining $3.6 trillion still owed the public in Treasury bonds. He said it could all be paid off by 2013.”