For those of us who own houses and who are working hard to keep up with our mortgage payments, it has been difficult to hear about multi-billion dollar bailouts of Wall Street banks and financial institutions who have failed to make good on their commitments.
However, according to the New York Times article, Washington’s New Tack: Helping Homeowners, the Treasury Department is considering a plan that would subsidize 30-year mortgage rates so people would have the opportunity to get such mortgages at an interest rate of as little as 4.5%.
This strikes me as a very promising idea, and not only because my family and I would benefit from it. By essentially cutting the monthly cost of living for all current homeowners, the government will be increasing the amount of money middle income families can inject directly back into the economy. Further, the plan would help the banks insofar as there presumably would be fewer loan defaults and the fees generated by the millions of people electing to refinance existing mortgages would be a windfall profit for them.
There is a qualified version of the proposal, however, that concerns me. The Real Estate lobby is apparently suggesting that these subsidized mortgages be limited to new home buyers. While this would be cheaper for the government insofar as fewer people would be able to take advantage of it, there is no reason to impose such a limitation if a more inclusive relief package would still make the offer available to new home buyers and thus stimulate the housing market.
I think the proposed subsidized mortgage stimulus package, if enacted in an inclusive rather than exclusive way, would be a far more effective stimulus to the economy than writing individual rebate checks to all tax payers. To have a reduced monthly payment built into the lifetime of a 30-year mortgage would have a profound and lasting impact on the overall wealth of those who are working hard to afford their first home or who are, like us, working to pay off the remainder of a hefty mortgage.
If you agree, write your Congress members, the President and the President-Elect:
- Write your Representative: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
- Write your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
- Write President-Elect Obama: http://change.gov/page/s/yourstory
- Write President Bush: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
For those who live in Pennsylvania, you can write to our Senators here:
- Senator Casey: http://casey.senate.gov/contact/
- Senator Specter: http://specter.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm