Will Obama Target Housing Crisis During State Of The Union?

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy at Shaker Heights High School,Shaker Heights, Ohio, Jan. 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

We really haven’t seen President Obama insert himself directly into the housing crisis, but there are rumblings that he may do just that during Tuesday’s State of The Union address.

The fact is that is what homeowners have been clamoring for. A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found 58% of Americans want the government to do more to help people keep homes.

According to HousingWire, Ohio senator Sherrod Brown told reporters today that there was evidence that Obama would address the robo-signing case which involves several major banks. A North Carolina congressman even said there were rumours that Obama would announce a settlement, something HUD secretary Shaun Donovan suggested last week was ‘very close’, as we mentioned in our Week In Review on Friday.

For the record, Obama’s press secretary refused to confirm any details, saying only that the President was “focused on the issue of housing”.

Between Dononvan’s comments and the recent white paper sent out by the Federal Reserve, it seems that more and more top government officials are finally realizing how important the housing market is to our economic recovery, not to mention their own political survival.

This is not news to us here at the South Florida Law Blog.

In the Huffington Post last September, Roy Oppenheim called housing the “thousand pound gorilla in the room” in the 2012 election, as many of the states with the highest underwater mortgages, such asFlorida, are also key electoral swing states. The pressure on Obama to be more aggressive on the banks is growing in Washington, and it’s about time.

In fact without addressing the housing market dead-on, we wonder if the President can be re-elected. The foreclosure crisis has affected too many of his supporters for him not to. His Republican rivals are now starting to address it; he’ll have to as well.

We’ll be watching tomorrow night’s speech, hoping for some specifics.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, banks make lousy neighbors, so Obama needs to evict them, not the homeowners!

The President needs to look at are programs where people can stay in their homes by paying the bank or an investor rent so that pools continue to be cleaned and lawns continue to be maintained. We really want to hear the President address the need for true principal mortgage modification down the road. Talk about modification to date has been just that, all talk.

The Wall Street Journal today cited several examples that economists believe could get us back on track, such as using local investors to drive the recovery in their own communities. The truth is without real movement from Obama and his administration we will never see housing prices stabilize, and as the Journal stated the ‘overhang of debt’ in the nation’s most troubled housing markets will linger for years.

So Mr. President, what say you?

Tags: barack obama, foreclosure, gallup poll, housing and urban development, housing crisis, HUD, Huffington Post, president, President Obama, principal reduction, republican, Roy Oppenheim, shaun donovan, sherrod brown, state of the union, usa today, Wall Street Journal

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