Leave it to Jay Leno to do what the national media couldn’t.
As the sole guest on “The Tonight Show” Wednesday night, President Barack Obama was given the opportunity to address the foreclosure crisis and the state of the nation’s housing market. Not surprisingly, his comments were more of a review of past accomplishments, and not a plan for the next four years, like much of the media, and I imagine the American public, has been clamoring for.
A brief light was shone on the subject during the vice presidential debate, but even then only Vice President Joe Biden cared to express an opinion, so the housing issue was really a non-debate as far as Congressman Paul Ryan was concerned.
Still, since neither Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney took advantage of their first debate on the economy to address housing-related issues, the popular late night talk show was a good forum for Obama to review what he believes his administration has accomplished to date.
No doubt the president’s people gave Leno’s people a list of questions the president was willing to discuss. However, a good section of that was devoted to the economy, particularly the housing market and mortgage rates, which Leno did question Obama about.
“There are a couple things we have focused on. Number one, we wanted to make sure we prevented foreclosures as much as possible. So we put together a program that helped about 5 million people avoid foreclosure,” President Obama responded.
“We went after the banks because they had been foreclosing people unfairly and we got a $25 billion settlement that is helping families all across the country, especially veterans because you had a bunch of vets who were, in some cases, employed overseas and then suddenly, without getting proper notification, ending up being foreclosed on. We are really making sure that those kind of abuses don’t happen.”
And the President had a definitive opinion of where the housing market has to go in order to take its traditional place of leading the nation out of a recession and back into a healthy level of economic activity.
“The biggest thing we can do right now for the housing market though is to help more people refinance their homes. It can actually save the average family about 3,000 bucks. But a lot of homes are still underwater. Folks owe more than the house is being appraised.”
To that end, Obama challenged Congress to come back from their break ready to work and pass legislation he is proposing that “could actually see millions of families essentially get a $3,000 tax cut.”
Net result: Americans have more money in their pockets to spend as they please to get the economy moving, or to put back into equity in their homes. In either case the nation’s economy will be stronger for it, he argued.
“It will be a great Christmas present for the U.S. economy,” Obama said.
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Here’s some other articles of interest for you from the RealtyTrac newsroom:
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Why Isn’t Foreclosure a Major Presidential Issue?