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Obama Targets Affordable Homeownership in Weekly Address

Robert Ottone
Aug 13, 2013

President Barack Obama started off his weekly address this past Saturday discussing concerns of the past four years of economic downturn faced by the American people. “Over the past four years, we’ve worked to help millions of responsible homeowners get back on their feet. And while we’re not where we need to be yet, our housing market is beginning to heal. Home prices and sales are rising. Construction is up,” Obama said. “Foreclosures are down. Millions of families have come up for air because they’re no longer underwater on their mortgages.” The President continued discussing the potential dissolution of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with no real course of action laid out should the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) become things of the past. “We need to wind down the companies known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, make sure private capital plays a bigger role in the mortgage market, and end the era of expecting a bailout after your pursuit of profit puts the whole country at risk,” Obama said. “We need to preserve access to safe and simple mortgages like the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. We need to keep laying down rules of the road that protect homeowners when they’re making the biggest purchase of their lives.” Obama also highlights the fact that recovery won’t be immediate and that no piece of legislature is the magical cure-all for the housing market or the economic downturn. The President also continued his push for Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to take command of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). This would give Watt control over both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thus allowing the eventual dismantling of both GSEs to commence with little difficulty. So far, the President hasn’t laid out much of a plan. It’s interesting to note that if this was HBO's "The Newsroom," a fictional drama about a news program set two years in the past, scenes of reporters hounding a frazzled White House Press Secretary would revolve around Obama’s mythical plan for housing reform, which is, as of this writing, at best, nebulous. “I’ve been laying out my ideas for how we can build on the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class in America. A good job. A good education. Affordable healthcare when you get sick,” Obama said. “A secure retirement even if you’re not rich. And the chance to own your own home.”
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