Reads Around the Internets - Where Do Jobs Come From?

shocknews Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the economic and financial finds that made our eyes pop.


Where Do Jobs Come From?

Economist Jared Bernstein has laid out in simple, easy to understand terms, the theory of stimulating the economy to indirectly create jobs. This article is in reference to Uncle Ben's latest quantitative easing.

FHFA Firestorm!

firestormThe FHFA just pooped on half a million Americans and denied those underwater on their mortgage to obtain partial debt forgiveness. Millions of American homeowners holding out hope are outraged. Acting FHFA director Ed DeMarco:

Today, I provided a response to numerous congressional inquiries as to whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) would direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to implement the Home Affordable Modification Program Principal Reduction Alternative (HAMP PRA). After extensive analysis of the revised HAMP PRA, including the determination by the Treasury Department to begin using Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) monies to make incentive payments to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHFA has concluded that the anticipated benefits do not outweigh the costs and risks.

Given our multiple responsibilities to conserve the assets of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, maximize assistance to homeowners to avoid foreclosures, and minimize the expense of such assistance to taxpayers, FHFA concluded that HAMP PRA did not clearly improve foreclosure avoidance while reducing costs to taxpayers relative to the approaches in place today.

HARP Another Siren Song for Homeowners

siren with harpWith much fanfare and headline buzz, Obama announced a new program to help homeowners.  What is it?  They simply lifted the 125% refinancing cap for mortgages attached to residential properties.  Previously one could not refinance a home more than 125% of it's current value.   Now you can refinance your mortgage where the principle is twice what the value of your home is.  Nice huh?  Mortgages only held at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will qualify and the program is only open until 2013. Your bank must approve and any mortgage sold to Fannie, Freddie after May 31, 2009 also doesn't qualify.

house mazeWe have a name, HARP, for this program. Yet another mnemonic, similar to hopeless HAMP which was also released with much fanfare. Homeowners found HAMP to be a labyrinth of bureaucratic no help, designed to be a rat maze pretending somewhere there was some cheese.

Washington Post:

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, working with the Obama administration, said that up to 1 million “underwater” borrowers might benefit from an expanded program that targets homeowners who owe more than their properties are worth.

Saturday Reads Around The Internets - All About the Banks

Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.


Help For Homeowners Is Only Help For Banks

Whistleblowers are now speaking out on the scam HAMP really is. Instead of helping homeowners is pushing them into foreclosure Dylan Ratigan interviewed the Whistleblowers in the below clip.


COP Report on The Sham Called Helping Homeowners Through HAMP

The latest COP report just rips into Treasury for the lack of help for homeowners. Here's the juice:

HAMP will prevent only 700,000 foreclosures -- far fewer than the three to four million foreclosures that Treasury initially aimed to stop, and vastly fewer than the eight to 13 million foreclosures expected by 2012.

Get worse, the report basically says it's too late to really do anything about it. Nice huh, press releases, lots of warm buzz claiming government will help homeowners only to send them to a rat maze and they still lose their homes.

It is too late for Treasury to revamp its foreclosure prevention strategy, but Treasury can still take steps to wring every possible benefit from its programs. Treasury should enable borrowers to apply for loan modifications more easily -- for example, by allowing online applications. Treasury should also carefully monitor and, where appropriate, intervene in cases in which borrowers are falling behind on their HAMP-modified mortgages. Preventing redefaults is an extremely powerful way of magnifying HAMP's impact, as each redefault prevented translates directly into a borrower keeping his home.

The report also sums up nicely the fact foreclosure pays and that's due to the securitization process:

An Update on the Foreclosure Mill

Grinding the middle class one family at a time, the foreclosure wheel keeps turning. Did you know Treasury blocked aid to homeowners facing foreclosure?

19 states which are recipients of the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF)—a portion of TARP money set aside to help homeowners in states struggling with the highest unemployment rates and steepest declines in the housing market.

Some of those states, including Ohio, let Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner know as far back as this past spring that they wanted to use some of those funds to assist legal aid groups that help individual homeowners. Seems like a reasonable request—unlike the absurdity of handing over trillions of dollars to robo-signing, foreclosure-mad banks, no questions asked.

Treasury solicited the opinion of an outside law firm, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. Never mind that the firm's clients include BB&T Corporation and payday lender CNG Financial Corp. The firm said, in essence—sorry, no can do on the legal aid. Not permitted under the TARP.

Huh? Hold on a sec—is this the same TARP that granted the Treasury Secretary all those "extraordinary powers" to protect people's home values, preserve home ownership, promote economic growth, etc.?

Senator Sherrod Brown held a hearing and said Mortgage Servicers Akin to Predatory Lenders:

The predatory practices of the mortgage servicing industry are remarkably similar to the predatory practices that led to the subprime crisis.

The foreclosure tsunami has struck

It's sometimes amusing to see how hard the media tries to spin bad news into good news. For instance, this article from ABC today.

(Reuters) - U.S. mortgage foreclosure filings dropped for a second straight month in February, and notched the smallest annual increase in four years as housing-rescue efforts contained activity, a report released on Thursday showed.

It sounds like good news, huh? There's just one problem: the foreclosures report that was released today concerned the whole first quarter, including March numbers.
Since when did the news media start preferring outdated data over recent data?