Neel Kashkari: This Is The Fundamental Reason Homeowners Have Not Been Saved

Neel Kashkari

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

While some argue the U.S. housing market has bottomed the tidal of wave foreclosures expected this year leaves room for debate.Recent data shows that over 4 million mortgages in the U.S. have been delinquent for at least 90 days or are in the foreclosure process writes Neel Kashkari in The Washington Post.

Kashkari says that since the housing bubble burst both democrats and republicans have tried numerous programs to help rescue the U.S. housing market but with little success. He says the refusal to use taxpayer money to help out homeowners is the one fundamental reason homeowners have not been saved. From The Washington Post:

“Political constraints have forced government housing programs to target homeowners who need limited assistance. Even this use of taxpayer money has angered many Americans who sacrificed to live within their means: Why should their tax dollars support those less prudent? This political constraint is the fundamental reason more homeowners have not been saved. Unless as a nation we are willing to spend substantial taxpayer dollars to help those who need a lot of housing assistance, any new foreclosure program, even the latest silver bullet of principal write-downs, is likely to have only limited reach. 

It is important to note that we did not constrain ourselves this way when we used the Troubled Assets Relief Program to stabilise the financial system. If the federal government had limited TARP funds to banks that needed moderate assistance, several large banks would have failed, bringing down the financial system. Those bailouts were also politically unpopular, but we overrode political concerns for the sake of preventing another Great Depression — and sparked tremendous political backlash as a result. In effect, because of both political constraints and limited resources, bailout recipients had to be deemed systemically important or not that troubled. Those deemed not critical to the system and deeply troubled have not been helped by government programs. Unfortunately, many individual homeowners have fallen into this category.”

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