Sunday, January 27, 2008

History is 20/20

Where were You When the Foreclosure Crisis was Starting?

I saw this morning one of the federal Administration officials was asked why they took so long to look for regulations to control the fraud within the housing market and specifically the sub-prime market? The Treasury Secretary said something like "Chris, you know that history is 20/20. I will leave what happened in the past to historians..." We raised this same issue when the state finally passed a foreclosure bill then gutted it with little or no penalty for consumer fraud in 2006. We said that the horses were all out of the barn by 2006 and that the hundreds of thousands were already harmed by the inflated appraisals, excessive fees, and fake documents while the state was busy studying the issue. I believe that this is the reason that citizens are hostile to government: they demand someone to step forward and take responsibility for massive mistakes. I know people are thinking, "We cannot trust these guys with our money if they never admit when they fail."

History is not just for the historians, Mr. Paulson, because the crisis is not over. Our federal officials failed us by allowing the robber barons to take over the housing industry. Our state officials did nothing for six years allowing 5,900 people to be foreclosed on in 2000 and see that rise steadily to 14,000 in 2006 just in Cuyahoga County before the week Ohio law was passed. Our local community tried to do something and was shut down by the court system. Why can't someone step up to the plate and say we fell down on the job, but we are committed to making this right? We realize we made a mistake and we will do everything we can to make things right. I guess that I am sucker and still trust the government. I believe that bureaucrats and elected officials can stop the bleeding, help those who have already lost their housing and put those who help to rape Slavic Village, Mt. Pleasant, East Cleveland, and Broadway of all the equity left in those neighborhoods into jail for a very long time. I have a soft spot for the underdog.

60 Minutes did a feature tonight on the "House of Cards" and the foreclosure crisis. If Steve Croft were submitting this for a grade, I would give him a 79% or a C+. He put too much emphasis on the individuals who did not stick to their fraudulent agreements, but Kroft did a good job of characterizing the scandal as just beginning to unfold.

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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