The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Worst President Ever

Posted on | March 8, 2011 | 13 Comments

There can no longer be any question about it:

The Obama administration threatened to veto two measures being pushed by U.S. House Republicans that would eliminate programs aimed at helping people who are struggling to pay their mortgages, the administration said.
The House of Representatives is set to vote this week to kill an effort to lower mortgage payments for so-called underwater borrowers as well as an emergency fund for homeowners who have lost their incomes.
A statement from the White House Office of Management and Budget said the administration “strongly opposes” legislation that would cut the Federal Housing Administration Short Refi Option program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Emergency Homeowners Loan Program. President Barack Obama’s advisers would recommend that he veto the bills if they reach his desk. . .
Forty-four loans have been modified under the program since it began in September, according to the FHA. Because no borrowers have defaulted, the program has cost nothing so far, according to the FHA. The administration statement called it “vital to the nation’s sustained economic recovery.”

Holy freaking crap. How can a program that has affected only 44 loans in six months — less than eight per month — even merit the description “relevant,” much less “vital”?

As has been amply demonstrated, the administration’s mortgage “assistance” programs have had very little impact on the housing problem (see Megan McArdle here and here, just for starters). Even if these programs were based on sound economic policy, which they aren’t, they would face two basic hurdles to effectiveness:

  1. Mortgage holders in the most serious trouble are too far gone to be helped by the programs; and
  2. If the federal programs were changed to help every troubled borrower with an “underwater” mortgage, there would be so many applicants the programs couldn’t deal with them.

So what the administration is doing, really, is running Potemkin village programs merely for the political benefit of being able to claim they’re “helping.” And here is Obama threatening to veto any spending bill that doesn’t fund these useless programs, implausibly claiming they’re “vital” to recovery!

If it was not blindingly obvious before, surely now it is beyond dispute that Harvard Law School is the worst possible preparation for the presidency, especially in a time of economic crisis.

What America desperately needs now is a president who knows something about basic economics. But where can we find such a man?


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