NDN Backgrounder: Economic Recovery and Keeping People in Their Homes

Over the past two days, NDN has offered important, leading commentary on economic recovery and the need to keep people in their homes. Dr. Robert Shapiro, Chair of NDN's Globalization Initiative, wrote "Obama's Post-Partisan Plan Almost Where It Should Be."

While the chorus of complaints about President Barack Obama’s spending and tax package was dispiritingly predictable, the post-partisan surprise is that its basic structure is evolving to just about where it should be. The legislative process is adding its normal quotient of special interest subsidies on both the spending and tax sides -- think of it as a "congressional tax," because they really can’t help themselves. And compared to the last decade of limitless tolerance for the unregulated escapades of Wall Street financiers that’s now pushing many of the world’s economies over a cliff, the partisan outrage at this conventional if distasteful part of the legislative process seems pretty hollow.

The important matter here is that at its core, the package should do roughly what we want it to, given the gravity of current conditions and our equally serious, longer-term problems with wages and jobs. (There is one gaping exception: nothing serious yet to address the foreclosure and housing crisis). In effect, the Administration has cleverly packaged some broadly useful, longer-term economic and social initiatives with some traditional “stimulus,” and it’s selling it as the answer to the crisis. It provides some of that answer -- unfortunately, not all of it by a long shot -- but it also offers the Administration’s first responses to other legitimate matters on which President Obama happened to win his election.

Read the full piece here. 

On the need to keep people in their homes, an issue NDN has led on since the financial meltdown, NDN Fellow Michael Moynihan argued that "What America Needs is a Fixed 4% Mortgage."

In short, America needs three things to stimulate the economy: the recovery package that is now approaching passage; a plan to revitalize the banking sector, which the Treasury Department should release soon; and finally, a 4% fixed-rate mortgage to address the housing crisis. Fixing the housing problem was mysteriously absent from the Bush efforts to address the crisis. Now that Obama economic team is in place, the Administration and Congress should work rapidly to develop this critical third piece of the economic recovery.

Read the full piece here.

For more of NDN's leading work on keeping people in their homes, please see the following pieces and click here for the Keep People in Their Homes page:

  • Notes on the Financial Crisis by Michael Moynihan, 9/26/2008 - Moynihan examines the panic fueled by the Bush Administration's inadequate response to the financial meltdown.
  • Back to Basics: The Treasury Plan Won't Work by Dr. Robert Shapiro, 9/24/2008 - As the financial crisis unfolded and the Bush Administration offered its response, Shapiro argued that, while major action was needed, the Treasury's plan would be ineffective. 
  • Keep People in Their Homes by Simon Rosenberg and Dr. Robert Shapiro, 9/23/2008 – At the beginning of the financial collapse, NDN offered this narrative-shaping essay and campaign on the economic need to stabilize the housing market.


Housing starts by Kaleigh R (not verified)