16 November 2016

HAMP: the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Foreclosure Rates

Swing states
There appears to be an interesting correlation between rates of foreclosure and states where Hillary Clinton underperformed.

This is not a surprise. Tim Geithner admitted that all of the foreclosure aid programs were about helping the banks by screwing the ordinary people. as I've occasionally noted over the years:
I don’t expect anyone to really come up with the perfect explanation for why Clinton lost and Trump won the presidential election. But I do spend some time looking at these maps:


I was involved, to a small degree, with homeowners, activists and lawmakers that tried to deal with the issues and problems in the foreclosure crisis, some of which is documented in David Dayen’s excellent new book, “Chain of Title“. As Dayen documents, the government response to the issues was ultimately terribly unsatisfying and at best, had the effect of sweeping the issue under the carpet.

The consequences of the government’s response played out in this presidential election.

Clinton was aware of the problems caused by the wave of foreclosures: last fall the NY Times reported that the campaign was frustrated that the crisis had displaced so many homeowners that their database of voters was disrupted. Perhaps this is why the campaign’s get out the vote efforts in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and other states were much less effective than the campaign had hoped for. Some reports were that up to [25%] of the voters the campaign contacted were actually Republicans or potential Trump voters. In fairness, Clinton was probably concerned about the economic plight of affected homeowners and communities than she was about the technological issues it caused, but that was hardly the dominant campaign message.

How much of an impact would a compassionate outreach have had on these neighborhoods? It’s also worth remembering that the people hit by the foreclosure crisis were generally middle class – prior to the crisis they owned homes, held jobs, were members of the community. Where were they by the time the 2016 election came around?

Certainly, it’s a complicated issue and made more complicated by the fact that the Obama Administration didn’t cover themselves in accolades during the mess.………


Of course, it’s easy to second guess the campaign now. I, and many others, spend hours over several years trying to get the Obama Administration or state governments to improve their response to the foreclosure crisis. By 2016, many of the people I worked with back in 2011 to 2013 on housing issues were exhausted and frustrated. I can only imagine how the people living with the foreclosure crisis must have felt.

Still, a few thousand votes in three key states would have been enough to change the outcome of the election. And when you compare these maps, it’s hard not to see the lost opportunities.
In choosing between the banksters and their victims, Obama went with the banksters, and Hillary Clinton, with her close ties to Wall Street, was in a situation where the optics were particularly indefensible.


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