The #1 issue absent from Presidential debate

More than 40 million Americans tuned in to the Presidential debate October 3.  The focus was on domestic policy and in 90 minutes we got to hear a lot about taxes, jobs, Wall Street regulation, some education and the occasional political jabs between contenders.

Noticeably missing from this debate was the issue of underwater homeowners.

We could chalk this up to neither candidate allowing the moderator to actually moderate the debate and time ran out, but that would be too generous a supposition.  After all, what’s more “domestic” than one’s home?

It’s plain shameful that housing policy got a mere two second mention in the early minutes of the debate and no more.  This is an issue that directly impacts 15 million homeowners in America at this crucial moment.

Americans’ homes have collectively lost $6 trillion in value since the Great Recession because Wall Street banks artificially inflated the housing bubble and then crashed the market.  $700 billion (roughly the size of the TARP bailout) of that loss is negative equity in homes that are now underwater, chaining the American economy to a crushing housing debt load.

What the American people need, and deserve, is a President that will aggressively push for widespread principal reduction to reset homes to fair market value.  This not only helps the underwater homeowner but their neighbors and neighborhood as well.

Being underwater is the number one predictor of default, while restructuring this debt saves homes, saves assets and is the closest thing to a silver bullet on the housing, jobs and economic crisis that we have.  In a loss for the American people, none of this was addressed in the debate on October 3.

So many futures and American Dreams should not be the casualty of political grandstanding.  Both candidates have a chance to lay out a bold housing agenda at the next debate on October 16.  Until then, if we were to hand out a grade on this particular issue, given its size and scope, both President Obama and Governor Romney would get a resounding “F”.

 

 

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