A new federal program that would be tasked with a massive refinancing of mortgages for strapped Americans has been chattered about for a while, though The White House has never indicated that the idea is on the table.
But the calls are growing louder. This time it’s from the NYT op-ed page, where former Bush advisor (and now Columbia business prof) Glenn Hubbard along with Columbia’s Chris Mayer are calling for exactly that — a massive new agency to bail out underwater homeowners via refinancing.
You can read the op-ed for details — Hubbard and Mayer anticipate $50 billion in annual savings for homeowners — though the one thing that’s not there is principal reduction. So underwater homeowners under their plan — though receiving lower interest rates — would still be underwater.
That being said, at least they’d be able to refinance, which they can’t easily do right now, so that would help.
Anyway, nothing like this is going to happen soon, but Obama needs to pull off something like this to start gaining momentum for 2012, and our guess is that this won’t require any Congressional approval, because it could be done through the GSEs, with plenty of funding from Treasury and the Fed.
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