Washington Looks to Keep People in Their Homes

With news coming today that the United States lost 533,000 jobs in November, policymakers have begun to realize that, in addition to TARP like bailout plans and the stimulus package that President elect Obama will indubitably pass as his "first order of business," more must be done to address the underlying causes of the financial meltdown. High among these is instability in the housing market, and as NDN has argued since September, more must be done to keep people in their homes.

Thankfully, the effort to do just that is gaining steam, both here and abroad. British Prime Minister announced his effort to staunch foreclosures, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke "warned that the soaring number of foreclosures threatened the economy. He then proposed some ideas — government-engineered loan modifications, and more taxpayer money to help people refinance — to keep people in their homes."

More on the ideas being floated from the New York Times:

"The public policy case for reducing preventable foreclosures does not rely solely on the desire to help people who are in trouble," Mr. Bernanke said. "More needs to be done."

At the Treasury Department, meanwhile, top officials continued to work on a plan to bolster the housing market by subsidizing 30-year home mortgages with rates as low as 4.5 percent — a level that home buyers have not seen since the early 1960s.

Both actions highlighted how economic policy makers have come almost full circle. Since the financial crisis began last summer, both the Fed and the Treasury had focused almost exclusively on patching up the financial system — propping up banks, Wall Street firms, money market funds and issuers of commercial debt.

Months ago, NDN President Simon Rosenberg and Globalization Initiative Chair made the economic case for doing more to keep people in their homes. For more on that campaign, click here.