February 18th, 2009
09:33 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Housing Help

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/18/foreclosure.plan/art.foreclosure.gi.jpg caption="President Obama's $75 billion home foreclosure plan would benefit 9 million borrowers."]
Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight, we'll have the latest on Pres. Obama's $75 billion plan to help homeowners. It targets two groups: Homeowners who owe more than their home is worth, due to falling real estate values. And, those families without a paycheck and having a tough time paying their mortgage.

Pres. Obama says the plan will help up to nine million families restructure or refinance their mortgage so they can avoid foreclosure.

Some of the key parts of the rescue plan:

– Refinance loans for homeowners currently making payments, into a 15-year or 30-year loan with a fixed rate of interest.
– Encourage lenders to cooperate by offering them $1,000 for mortgages that are modified successfully
– Modify loans for those who are struggling to make payments. The goal is to bring payments to no more than 31% of a borrower's income

You can get more details on the plan HERE.

Pres. Obama stresses this plan is for only those who "played by the rules and acted responsibly."

"It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer money after bad loans. It will not help speculators who took risky bets on a rising market and bought homes not to live in, but to sell. It will not help dishonest lenders who acted irresponsibly, distorting the facts and dismissing the fine print at the expense of buyers who didn't know better," said Mr. Obama today.

Others aren't happy with the plan at all.
You'll hear from them tonight, as well.

Could your home join the nearly six million others in foreclosure or at-risk for foreclosure? We want to know what you think of the plan. Share your thoughts below.

And, join us at 10pm ET for this story and more.
See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. Andi

    Which came first-the sub-prime/exotic loan or the high price of housing? The housing market is plummeting because it should never have ballooned in the first place. Houses were not priced for what they were WORTH they were priced for what they could sell for. Where I live that is still the case. Now everyone is crying because there house isn't worth their mortgage-they are under water.

    Realtors have told me numerous times how they could put any price on a house and it would sell. As a buyer, over the last 3 years I have looked at 125+ homes (much to the dismay of my "real estate expert"). Not one of them is worth what is being asked-in my opinion. A $300,000. fixer upper-you have got to be kidding! I am a high school grad-I know what I can afford every month. When we go to the bank we'll tell them what we want-nothing fancy-we'll do it the right way-the old fashioned way-like our parents did. Excellent credit, money down, a rainy day fund and a15 or 30 mortgage. What I want to know is how reworking these mortgages will effect the pricing of houses currently on the market? Lowering the balance of a loan-are you lowering the principle(since it never was really worth what YOU agreed to pay)?

    We cannot blame Pres. Bush for all of this. There are plenty of people in congress and senate who made big bucks from these risky loans-bipartisnship at it's finest. Watching them grill CEO's would be laughable if it weren't so sickening and hypercritical.

    What happened to all the financial experts, the real estate experts?
    Much like others who have written-I'm angry, distrustful and fed up with all of this. Greed came to America and lived happily for a few years. I have lost trust in almost everything.......not only is America in a financial crisis it is also in a moral, ethical crisis. Maybe we could get the Catholic church or the Morman Church( I live in UT-though not "LDS") to bail us out .........What in the world have we done to our children and the world they inherit?

    February 19, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  2. Courtney

    Don't get me wrong. I am happy that the government is stepping in and helping those that may loose their homes...but what about all us that do not have a house and leave in apartments. I am 28, in no condition to buy a house, and I have lost my job, too. Now I will loose my "home" because I cannot make next month's rent and have to break the lease. I do not have years worth of working experience, extensive 401K, and ample saving reserves to survive on until I find another job. My husband was laid off first, and then myself, and we have a 7 month old daughter...Where is our help!! Are we less important to our government or less affected by this economy because we do not own a home? The home we are loosing is just as important to us as someone's home. But because we did not run out and buy a house right out of college, we do not matter? As a matter of fact we are living off of the little money we were able to save for our down payment...so now that is gone. Can we refinance our lease? We pay taxes too!!!!

    February 19, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  3. paul

    please help me understand. If get a loan with this plan of the Persident's say I get a loan for the cost of my home 300,000 my payment now is 3000.00 a month. with this plan I will allow 1000.00 per month, at the end of five years I am given 5000.00 off my loan. So now my loan is 295,000. but in that five years I have paid 60,000. will I not be in the same fix five years later? The best part will be the President will be in office one year into his next term before I will get forclosed on. Is this what people are looking at?

    February 19, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  4. Abby

    I am a Medical Doctor who attends to mostly medicaid patients and patients without insurance. I bought my house in 2006. It is a townhouse, so I did not buy more house than I could afford. The Bank gave me one of those predatory mortgages. The interest has since adjusted to several points higher and the house price has dropped 25%!
    Since it was the Banks fault that the house was wrongly appraised $100,000 more than the house sold for in 2005 (the bank chose the Appraiser and they are the experts that reviewed and approved the appraisals), I should be able to sue the Bank to court for malpractice.
    Doctors are sued all the time, why can't we sue the Bank?

    February 19, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  5. Sandeep

    Goverment to buy the diffrance between first mortgage and todays value from the Banks.

    Banks need to refinace the todays value at 4% with 60 year mortgage.

    Homeowner need to pay the diffrance between First mortgage and todays value at rate of 1%APR 50 year mortgage to GOV.

    2end Mortgage should be droped away because value have gone down dromaitcly.

    HomeOwner can't sell thier home on todays value. It have to be the loan amount until it get paid out or sell at todays value but diffrance that was paid
    by the GOV will add on to thier next home at same 1% or a lien need to be paid at rate of 1%APR.

    If homeowner can't to pay 4%APR for Fixed 60 year mortgage and Diffrance at 1% 50 year then you can't save that home buyer and should not be in the home and should rent.

    February 19, 2009 at 6:15 am |
  6. Diane Palmer

    Where is the incentive for those of us who live within our means? It would appear that recklessness and greed are rewarded, and diligence is scorned. I have worked for 45 years, raised two college-graduates as a divorced parent, and saved to buy the things we needed without using credit cards, loans, etc. When I recently needed to replace my 13-year old car, lenders laughed outright because I had no outstanding debt. I have a secure job, paid 25% down on a used car, and was penalized with a 25% interest rate for NOT HAVING ANY DEBT, and they expected me to be grateful for the opportunity. What is wrong with that picture? It's not rocket science to see who's bilking whom. If the feds are going to rescue banks, they have every right to impose reasonable standards on lending, rather than allowing banks to perpetuate fraud and predatory lending. The banks are paying themselves compounded interest on the money taxpayers have loaned them to increase their own liquidity as global investors pull out. Banks do, in fact, have the upper hand by sitting on their federal windfall and, yet, still beg for more.

    February 19, 2009 at 6:03 am |
  7. Tom

    Instead of all these banks that made bad decisions or practiced criminal behavior shouldn't be rewarded or get off Scot free. Fines or penalties levied against these companies would go a long way towards bailing out the housing market.
    AG Eric Holder said he wasn't going on a witch hunt for these financial people. To me witch hunt has meant somebody being persecuted for something that was made up, unknown, or unjust. Most of these financial people did obvious criminal behavior, just because there's a lot of them doesn't mean they shouldn't be prosecuted.

    I agree with Carl Adams about giving the general public each 250K. My figure was lower 100K, which by the natural process and human nature who have taken care of the U.S.s financial problems. Some would have spent on cars, toys, etc., some would have saved, some would have paid off or bought houses, so the general public having their own money would have cured the financial crisis.

    February 19, 2009 at 5:36 am |
  8. Debra L

    I consider myself a responsible homeowner. I was divorced 9 years ago and bought a small home, that I could afford. I could have bought a more expensive one, as I qualified, but declined. Common sense.
    How many of these home owners we are bailing out own 2 cars, expensive cars, every piece of electronic equipment there is , top end appliances, granite countertops, all new furniture, etc etc etc. I have none of these things, not because I wouldn't like them, but because I know I can not afford them.

    I make a decent wage as a nurse. Now I have to pay for other peoples lifestyles.

    People are greedy. They don't want to work for things, they want immediate gratification.....and worry about it later. They want to be better than the Jones's.

    Friends and I have been talking about the housing issue, and these mortgages for years now. Why is it the common person could see all this coming and the government couldn't. I do not want to bail many of these people out. Who is helping me pay my mortgage? Am I getting a reward for being on time for the past 9 years? Just because my mortgage is on time does not mean it is not hard.

    I just can't see how they are going to distinguish from those people who are truly deserving a helping hand.

    February 19, 2009 at 5:30 am |
  9. C. Howard

    In the next few months, I plan to purchase my first home. I've been watching the housing market for the last 2 years and living in the L.A. area, I could see there was no way possible for the housing market to sustain the type of growth that was occurring. Reading this blog, there are a lot of people with justifiable anger toward irresponsible people taking on mortgages they couldn't sustain. I just want to remind them that the blame extends beyond the homeowners, and on to banks, mortgage companies and wall street for this debacle. "We" as a nation were complicit and have been for the last 50 years in living beyond our means with credit and it's come back to bite us in the butt.

    This won't be the end of the aid for homeowners. There will be more...believe me. But it is a good step in the right direction. I understand there are people out there doing the right thing but suffering from lost equity. One of the best ways to solve that is to stop the house "blood letting" of foreclosures, get people in the house that can afford to be there and guess what?....property values will begin to come back up. This is not the time to moan and complain. I believe in the saying, "If you come to the table with a complaint, you better have a solution as well", otherwise you're just a complainer. It's time we all find a way to work together to solve these issues. Yes some people will be the "first to benefit", but eventually we all benefit from helping our neighbors put out the "fire" next door.......

    February 19, 2009 at 5:29 am |
  10. Becky Batchelder

    Well, for the first time in 26 years I will be in the "unemployment line" asking for help. It goes against every fiber of my being to receive help for my finances, but after 5 months of job hunting & close to 200 applications/resume submissions, here I am. A 53 year old female that cannot find a job no matter how vast my experience is in the accounting environment. It is beyond my comprehension how some people can just simply state "it's the homeowners problem & not mine". Well, wake up & smell the coffee!!! It's everyone's problem! I lost my job due to "Executive Management" poor decisions! I did nothing wrong but dedicate myself for a company for half of my life! But here I am, being discrimated due to my age, & no one can convince me otherwise.
    Bush & his cronies had 8 years to fix this, yes they knew it was coming, and they did nothing!! Help the people, & put the SEC, Mortgage Lenders, and Investors/Wall street itdiots in jail! Make them pay for their greed!

    February 19, 2009 at 5:25 am |
  11. Ken Milovac

    I have owned my home for the past 32 years. I recently refinanced to get a lower interest rate on this home. My home value has decreased about 40K$ in the past year. I still pay the same county property tax as before on the lower valued home. I think that the county is being dishonest and not giving me a refund on my property taxes for this lower valued home.

    Thank you,

    February 19, 2009 at 5:17 am |
  12. Michael, Encinitas CA

    This plan sounds like it was written to appease banks and make it easy for them to avoid doing anything. First, who decides what "play by the rules" means? How do we define "acting responsibly?" I'm a teacher. Two years ago, we downsized from 3,600 sq.ft. in Arizona to live near the beach in California. We simplified our lives a lot in order to spend more time together as a family. We put $100,000 down on a 1,200 sq.ft. $405,000 home (traditional 15 year fixed mortgage at 5-7/8%). We laughed, because back then in California a house under $500,000 was classified as "low income housing." So no one can tell me we were greedy, cheating or irresponsible. I read all the comments above and we're all in the same boat. How is it our government can overlook the needs of so many people who were really playing by the rules and acting responsibly? How do we fix this?

    February 19, 2009 at 3:26 am |
  13. sarah

    ok,listen up.They stated earlier that fready and fanny, made loans to people that could not make the payments above the red line so they lowered the payments and extended amount of years that they had to pay. now they said that their were thousands of loans that they did.now, where do you think the money is going? to all these people that live in their homes that we pay for, drive new cars,eat steak,and party every week end. now me.my internet is going to go away,my phone,my t.v. Im 66 yrs old,I live on less than $700.00 a mo, Im on social security.and I cant get nothing, so I work 2 days a week so I can have perscription Insurance.they took my money,and gave it away.now they take away from my grand children and give it to people who want some one to give them all they want. God help us

    February 19, 2009 at 3:23 am |
  14. Nick

    I opened business in late 2006 to conquer American dream which shattered into pieces early fall 2007. I paid my taxes and other personal and business payments on time, and made sure employees got paid on time while the employer suffered financially. We were sinking deeper in sand then anticipated because of lack in consumer spending. Chapter 7 was the only resolute path we saw towards financial releive. In this process, we lost past savings, tuition savings, part of retirement savings, our house, and ruined our credit. The injustice that I'm seeing today is towards Stimulus package favoring irresponsible consumers who don't have indepth knowledge of finance and got into bad loans vs. those who are responsible but failed becuase of their job loss or business failure both end up in the same bucket of bad credit back ground. There is a third category towards investor greed who tried making quick $$$ during big boom and now their assests are below market value but are seeking for stimulus releive as well. Where does one draw a line between those who are responsible but failed becuase of income loss, those who are responsible but became greedy, and then finally those "irresponsible" ones who acquired bad loans?

    February 19, 2009 at 3:00 am |
  15. Debbie

    I would like to see child protective services do thier job and review this mother of fourteen. Have a judge order a mental evaluation on this women. If see never made advanced medical, financial, and emotional steps to ensure a bright future for all these innocent children than they all need to be transfered to loving homes where they will be provided with all that they deserve in life. It is not their fault and they need not suffer. The doctor needs to have a medical board evaluation done and pay for all medical bills occured by the birth's of all the babies he helped produce! This women does not deserve to keep all the babies because it is not possible for her to care for them. The grand parents should not be responsible to continue to care and help.

    February 19, 2009 at 2:57 am |
  16. Michael, Encinitas CA

    Once again, our leaders have committed resources without proper conditions and controls. Now we have $75 billion allocated to a Mortgage Relief Program that cannot work because there is no requirement or valuable incentive for banks to participate. More details are expected in March and I'm hoping to read something like this. "All mortgage companies must contact all customers who have a loan balance greater than the current property value; the bank must offer to write down the loan amount to equal the current property value and modify the terms of the loan so that (a) the monthly mortgage payment including PITI does not exceed 31% of the borrowers gross monthly income and (b) the interest rate is fixed at 4.5% for the term of the loan; the bank may send an invoice to the government to recover the difference between the original loan amount and the adjusted amount." Of course, other terms would apply, but this would be a good start.

    February 19, 2009 at 2:41 am |
  17. Debbie

    Eric Holder is Attorney General and makes such disgraceful uneducated comments and saying our nation of peoples are cowards! That means black and whites and all ethnic back grounds. He stepped back in time or is on something. we need to be as one nation under GOD not the radical awful stupid comment. He needs to say he is sorry and our new president needs to follow thru and get him before the camera's and say how sorry he is and than Fire him!

    February 19, 2009 at 2:41 am |
  18. chris

    Ron is right on,our generation dosnt see racism in a monkey, people who wrote the bill are refered to as "silly monkeys".We need to stop looking for problems where they dont exsist....

    February 19, 2009 at 2:39 am |
  19. Patricia Emmons

    So, although my disabled husband and I have been in an extreme struggle to stay out of bankruptcy, keep our home, and stay afloat, paid all of our house payments ontime and done the right thing, because we are not financed by Fannie Mae, or Freddy Mack, we are not eligible to refinance. But we are eligible to pay extra in taxes to finance those who are eligible? I do not see the fairness in this.
    When I was unemployed (unpaid) due to illness, not work related and we could not afford to pay our bills or buy groceries we could not get ANY help from the government (social services) and now another slap in the face, we are not eligible to refinance to a lower interest rate, our rate is 10%. Where is this helping the average American?
    I struggle very hard to support myself and my disabled husband with NO help from anyone, I must pay my own health insurance, I cannot afford to insure my husband, but yet I am expected to foot the bill to insure those that are out of work, NO ONE helped me when I was out of work and uninsured. Why does this seem so unfair to the middle working class?

    February 19, 2009 at 2:37 am |
  20. ann

    purchased my home in 06 for 265,000 was told home apprasied at 285 closing cost were included for what ever reason i ended with a loan amount of 292,000 and still had to pay out an aditional 9500 total mortgage guy told me dont worry about the taxes they dont have to be paid till your 3years into home well guess what mortgage co paid the taxes on home and expected payments of over 5000 amonth. not do able turned to a modifcation co was told dont worry in 2 months well get you a lower interst rate lower payments dont pay your mortgage more hardship you show the better we can negotate. it is now 10 months later my credit is ruined im facing forclosure and loss of work is an issue asbut i still have my better half that is helping to keep us afloat does this make me a qualifing homeowner with exceptions because of the prior deceptions w/ my home or a irresponsible homeowner my family and i need help and for the last 3yrs ive been getting the run around who can i trust to save our home

    February 19, 2009 at 2:33 am |
  21. Mark Hughes

    I'm done with the banks. They were greedy in the first place and we have now let them off the hook from taking any responsibility in this mess. Complain about Obama's plan all you want; did I miss something or have we not heard from one bank with a proposal to assist property owners. I'm 4 days from having my home foreclosed on and they have not returned one of my calls or responded to any of my certified letters. It's apalling.

    February 19, 2009 at 2:20 am |
  22. Allison

    with all these peoples homes being taken by foreclosure, where is everyone going to stay? on the streets? have we really become a country that would let our neighbors sleep on the street? and if not the streets, shelters? well I dont think we have enough shelters.

    How about mortgage companies giving something back during this time.. they are the only people making a fortune during this time it seems.

    February 19, 2009 at 2:18 am |
  23. Ebony

    I feel this is a start to rebuilding America's economy. Yes it may not help everyone but it's a start. America is at the bottom right now and the only way is up.

    February 19, 2009 at 2:12 am |
  24. Lenny

    if we bail out homeowners, how will they pay for it next month?or next year?

    February 19, 2009 at 1:40 am |
  25. bryan

    America for sale Everthing must go!!!
    We sold out...

    February 19, 2009 at 1:30 am |
  26. Anthony Franck

    I do not think all the money they are throwing at the banks is such a bad thing.

    However The banks need to be forced to loan the money. I purchased my home for 174,000 5 years ago. Right now I am told my home is worth 100,000. I still owe 146,000. I put 20,000 dollars down on the home when I purchased. I have no problem paying the remaining balance on my home. I have a plus credit and I think these types of situations call for the bank to refi me for a loan of the remaining amount on a thirty year fixed.

    If the banks did this with people in my situation it would do three things

    1. People would be in their home. Not foreclosing, instead paying for there homes and investing in their neighborhoods values.

    2. Property Values would go up because loans are dictating new values. (based on the theory of comparable properties, when asking prices of sellers are being met by the buyers that dictates the value of the home.) If you use myself as an Example my property value would go up from 100,000 to 150,000.

    3. Peoples payments would go down allowing them to free up money, which would in turn be spent in our economy.

    February 19, 2009 at 1:29 am |
  27. Belle

    I bought a house in 2006, Alternitive Lending in Colorado Springs "helped me". I was going to back out because at the closing I found out that my payments were going to be over a 1000. a month. She said give me a couple of months and I will refinance for nothing and we will lower your payments. It was five months, they raised what I borrowed from 93,000. to 125,000. Lowered my payments by taking off the insurance and taxes, which I still had to pay for and kept another 30,000. from me. I never bought a house this way, and boy was I stupid, but as far as I'm concerned they ripped me off. There should be laws against such Crooks as Alternative Lending. Oh, I lost the house after a year.

    February 19, 2009 at 1:26 am |
  28. Steve

    This entire Wallstreet-Bank-Housing bailout is the greatest scam ever perpetuated on any people anywhere in the world. The talking heads on the media news channels have given the thieves a bully pulpit to baffel us all with verbose piffle. The Republican representatives are liars and thieves. The Democratic representatives are ignorant embarassing misfits. Where do we turn? The deck is stacked against the average Joe in America. Until the men in this country are willing to stand up and act like men; until they are willing to say no more to political correctness; until they are willing to put down their beer and sports entertainment; until they are willing to stand up and take back their country by force if nedessary; the trash on Capitol Hill will continue to destroy this great nation. Snap out of it! Wake up!

    February 19, 2009 at 1:26 am |
  29. James Hussher

    I am against the idea of judges, i.e. "the government" being given the power to "write down" the balance on a mortgage. This is directly removing cash from the lender's pocket that was loaned in good faith. If I loan you $200,000 to buy a home, I do not want some judge to come along 10 years later and say, "Oh, sorry, the home's value has fallen and is now worth only $150,000 so you have to eat the difference, the homeowner/borrower now only owes you $150,000."

    When the property is worth $300,000 years down the road when the housing market has recovered, can I go to the judge and ask him to raise the mortgage amount up to $300,000? I think not.

    February 19, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  30. Elaine Reed

    I'm sorry, I feel bad for all those hurting. BUT, people have got to become resposible for their own actions. This whole bailout issue has gotten out of hand. Most of us work very hard to keep our heads above water. I know people that are in the situation of almost losing their homes and guess what, they have more fun going out, going on vacations, etc. then when in a bind, wonder who will help them.
    It's going to get alot worse before it gets better!!

    February 19, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  31. Lulu

    I think it's a good idea. Now is the time to work together as a community and help each other. Being selfish along with irresponsibilty has put us in an economic hardship that we are facing today.
    If your'e not happy with the new bill then don't ask for the help. If you know you can't afford a mortage don't buy a house.

    February 19, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  32. George C. - Mill Valley CA

    Anderson – Here's an idea I sent the President. I figured you'd have a better chance of ever seeing it than he would! I think this will address people's concerns that people will be getting 'something for nothing.'

    President Obama – I have a thought for you as you work on policy for the housing crisis. If part of your plan will be to use government funds to help a bank restructure a homeowner's loan balance to a lower, more manageable level, why not include in the restructuring a provision that any homeowner whose principal is reduced agrees that if and when he sells his house – if that sale price exceeds the new reduced loan amount – he will repay to the government and bank an amount up to the reduction he received plus a percentage (e.g., 20%) of any amount over his original principal balance. This will help keep people in their homes, AND also give the government the potential to recover money spent to aid loan restructuring. In essence, the government will be buying a long dated option on a recovery in the housing market. Thanks for listening.

    February 19, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  33. Mike in California

    I work 70+ hours per week just to get my job done. I own a few investment houses that I bought over 10 years ago (in FL and AZ, of all places!) as part of my retirement plan as I am the owner of a small business with a very limited retirement plan. I've made every payment on those homes for all of those years even when I was hurting financially – losing money – due to not having tenants from time time, not fully covered hurricane damage in FL, etc. I did NOT take out low-interest adjustable loans because I thought it was too risky to have to refi later on. Now those that took risks and planned to flip their houses are being bailed out just like the investment bankers on Wall Street who made horribly risky decisions. All due to greed. Our gov't takes our hard-earned taxpayer money and gives it to the most greedy, while those that live within our means take the hit!! I'm sick and tired of this.

    February 19, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  34. Pam

    Why aren’t there incentives for the people, that are approaching in the next 10+ years, retirement, that have the means to purchase real estate without any need for bailout funds? There are many of us out there that have lived within our financial boundaries in order to plan for our futures. We could be the ones that actually kick start the economy

    February 19, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  35. Darryl

    I really would like to know where the line starts on March 4th.

    February 19, 2009 at 1:18 am |
  36. Darryl

    How do we differenciate between the needy and not needy. I believe that some people will figure out how to minipulate this government service like they do the rest of them.

    February 19, 2009 at 1:14 am |
  37. Kevin from Indianapolis

    This whole housing /banking thing has me and a few of my friends puzzled.Did we help bail out the banks and yet we now have to pay these same banks to loan us the money we need to keep our homes? how is it that the banks get to get money no questions asked and yet when I go to a bank I am asked all sorts of question such as first all "what am i going to do with the money "yet the banks don't have to tell any one what they are doing with our money!! This is crazy!!!, and no one can tell them what to do with it ,or know what they are doing with it. are we suppose to be that stupid!!! not all of us are.How can the congress just keep giving these banks our money with no question asked.Can I GET HALF A BILLION AND I'LL GET BACK AT YOU LATER?YOU DON'T NEED TO KNOW WHAT I'LL BE DOING WITH IT JUST GIVE IT TO ME.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:47 am |
  38. Brad

    I am a retired United States Air Force Sgt. After 20 years I came back to Califrinia in 1998, I could not afford a home right away. When I saw prices going up dramatically in this period, I knew I had to buy else risk being shut out of the market forever.

    I live in Solona County right outside the San Francisco Bay Area. I bought my house in 2003, for $305K, inexpensive for the Bay Area, a mere 1100 square feet. My house went to $454 in early 2006. There are now houses in my area going for $150K representing a 2/3 loss in value! If my house triples in value in 10 years, a crazy assumption, I will be back to where I was 13 years ago, (2019-2006). I can not afford to be under water for 10 years or so. The answer I feel is in the significant principle reduction as lowering interest rates will help some, but not enough. I would like to one day be married to my sweetheart, and her kids, and provide a nice home for what they deserve, outside my city, but I don't see that happening unless I can sell this home, for which I owe twice of what it is worth, even though I had a 20% equity position at one time.

    We may burden our kids with this debt, but they also get to buy houses @ lowere rates half of what we paid 6 years ago.

    My lender said they would take a short sale @ current market value, so I may do that and come back into market in 2-3 years..

    February 19, 2009 at 12:11 am |
  39. pat

    In regard to Eric Holders's comment concerning integration on social levels–that we are a nation of cowards. Would this not then also include black citizens? How insulting to all citizens . Can we not just move forward together, as a mature nation, recognizing crucial problems that so deeply affects all citizens, grateful for the progress that has been made, particularly race issues ,rather than imediately whipping up yet another diversification. Yes, I would love to go to dinner with Ron Christy. Pat

    February 19, 2009 at 12:09 am |
  40. Mary Traxler

    I don't understand all the Republicans in Congress criticizing the
    President and the recovery packages he has come up with; What have they done in the last 8 years? They didn't seem to object to Bush's practices... and look where he got us!

    February 19, 2009 at 12:00 am |
  41. Clarence Canty from Georgia

    Let's face it – Washington is not the land of perfection! Every situtation and everyone can not be addressed. Let us not bite the hand that will save 9 million but be glad for them. There is time to help more with more legislation. I've paid my mortgage every month for more than 8 years and was only late once (2 days) – however over the last three years medical conditions have forced me to be late on some credit cards – my mortgage holder will not talk about renegotiating my mortgage rate down because my credit score has gone down. Hey, if I'm paying $1,234 a month for eight years why can't I pay the $896 a month (what it would be at 4.5%). that savings would be a real stimulus for me.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:00 am |
  42. Luis

    Hopefully Obama and Tim Geithner wont blow up the damn tomorrow.

    The Markets are running on fear right now.

    February 18, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  43. Bob Fortier

    The feedback seems very focused on fairness, but keep in mind the need to stabilize the financial sector upon which American business depends. How about thinking of the crisis as a nation-wide Katrina that wiped out a third of all our equity. After negotiating the best terms, the Feds could then consider the following:

    Offer to assume up to 1/3rd of the mortgage commitment in return for a split of any future profits to the homeowner upon the sale of the home. Homes above the median home value (about $250,000) would be subject to foreclosure and resale at the government’s discretion with the homeowner having right of first refusal.

    In the event of a job loss, homeowners may request that the Fed “carry” the monthly obligation (at a 4% APR of the outstanding principal only) until the homeowner (1) resumes payments / sells or (2) the bank decides to foreclose following a period determined by the amount of homeowner equity.

    The Fed would agree to purchase any foreclosed properties at 2/3rds the outstanding mortgage.

    And let’s not continue soaking the diligent. Citizens not requiring any Federal help could receive tax credits equal to the per capita cost of all such assistance (about $4,500 for a family of four.) It won't help the deficit but it is certainly more fair and likely to spur the economy.

    February 18, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  44. Commander Reyes in Turkey

    In reference to the chimpanzee cartoon piece; Could the cartoonist’s intent have been based on the Infinite Monkey Theorem? (i.e., give an infinite number of monkeys and infinite number of typewriters and they will eventually write a Shakespearian play.) This cartoon may very well be a commentary on the complexity of the stimulus package, the amount of time it took to generate, and the drama it has created. That's just my overseas (5,200 miles) view.

    February 18, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
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