Obama's latest homeowner mortgage relief plan is perfect for him: It both is consistent with his ideology -- duh -- and allows him to buy more votes with someone else's money, all the while pretending there is in fact such a thing as a free lunch.
The painfully superficial liberal approach to poverty gets old, as does its corollary tenet that conservatives who reject liberals' failed ideas lack compassion. Indeed, Obama seemed to devote half the words in his prayer breakfast speech to proving that Scripture compels liberal policies.
Obama's latest proof that he cares more than we do is his proposal to "give every responsible homeowner in America a chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage by refinancing at historically low rates. No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks."
This has all the elements. He frames the program as applying only to responsible mortgagors; he personally gets credit for handing out this money from his legendary "stash"; government, not the market, dictates what the interest rate will be; government will wave its magic wand forbidding "red tape" and bureaucratic obstacles; and banks, one of his favorite targets, are demonized and lined up to be punished.
But haven't we had enough of this man's top-down manipulation of the market in the guise of helping people? Is he ever to be held accountable for similar failed programs he's already tried? How about that $75 billion mortgage relief plan he implemented in 2009? You know, the one he said would "give millions of families resigned to financial ruin a chance to rebuild"? The one he said would save 7 million to 9 million mortgages.
Well, The New York Times reported in January 2010 that the plan had "been widely pronounced a disappointment." And "some economists and real estate experts," the Times went on, "now contend it has done more harm than good." By June 2010, more than a third of the 1.24 million borrowers who had enrolled in the mortgage bailout program had already dropped out. Nevertheless, the administration pressed forward, in complete denial that the program was failing and that the administration should be accountable. It cared, after all.
But if you buy your kid a car or give him a sweetheart loan to help him purchase one and he gets drunk and wrecks it, do you immediately buy him a new, more expensive one?
Moreover, is Obama ever to be held accountable for his entire range of economic policies that have grossly exacerbated our economic malaise and suppressed any chance of a real recovery?