It’s Time for the Candidates to Get Specific on the Homeownership Crisis

Now that the presidential tickets are set, it’s time for the candidates to get specific about problems and solutions critical to our economic recovery and future prosperity. Along with job creation, they should start with Home Opportunity—the cluster of housing, homeownership, and fair lending issues that are so central to the American promise of opportunity for all.

America continues to face a Home Opportunity crisis, with 2 million foreclosure filings this year, and millions more families at risk. That’s millions of senior citizens losing their economic security, children and families uprooted, neighborhoods blighted with vacant properties, and a continued drag on our economy.

What’s more, unequal opportunity and the discriminatory targeting of communities of color by unscrupulous brokers and lenders means that minority families continue to be especially hard hit. Major discrimination settlements by the Justice Department against Countrywide, Wells Fargo, and other major lenders reveal that, despite the progress we’ve made as a nation, Americans of color have been especially unlikely to get a fair deal from the banks. That translates to a historic loss of community assets and wealth that hurts us all.

Unlike employment, however, Home Opportunity has received inadequate attention in the general election campaign, despite its undisputed political, as well as economic, importance. For swing states like Florida (with 25,534 new foreclosure filings in July alone) and Nevada (with 26,498 filings), these questions are especially pressing. Amazingly though, neither campaign’s homepage includes housing, homeownership or foreclosures among the featured issues.

Early in his campaign, Mitt Romney famously told the Las Vegas Review Journal, “Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.” Months later, he appeared to shift position, saying in Florida: “The idea that somehow this is going to cure itself by itself is probably not real. There’s going to have to be a much more concerted effort to work with the lending institutions and help them take action, which is in their best interest and the best interest of the homeowners.”

Romney also said in a Republican debate that government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—the historic guarantors of the 30-year fixed mortgage for generations of middle class Americans—“were a big part of why we have the housing crisis in the nation that we have.” In neither case, however, have specific solutions followed. Romney has, by contrast, called for eliminating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Dodd-Frank legislation that created it.

As incumbent, President Obama has implemented multiple measures, including the Bureau, the Making Home Affordable program, housing counseling, and joining 49 state attorneys general in a national mortgage settlement with five major banks. (Intriguingly, Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan’s constituent services site refers Wisconsans with homeownership woes to the latter three programs for assistance).

Yet, most analysts agree that Making Home Affordable has fallen short of Administration goals, and that the national mortgage settlement, while helpful, does not reach the majority of homeowners who could benefit from its terms. Many argue, in particular, that the President can do more to extend principal reduction—shrinking the principal owed on mortgages to reflect homes’ fair market value—to mortgages backed by Fannie and Freddie. And while the Administration outlined three options for the future of those enterprises over a year ago, the President’s preferred agenda for them remains unclear.

The Obama Justice Department has been aggressive in settling discrimination suits against major lenders, but Candidate Obama has not discussed the role of discrimination in creating the housing crisis, nor the role of future equal opportunity efforts in solving it.

In short, the candidates, as candidates, have yet to articulate to the American people their respective visions for the future of Home Opportunity. How will each address the lender misconduct and inadequate rules that led to the current crisis? How will each ensure that families with the resources to be successful homeowners are not thwarted by future misconduct, arbitrary restrictions, or a lack of sound information? How will each help rejuvenate neighborhoods devastated by predatory lending and mass foreclosures? And how will each ensure that people of all races, ethnicities, and communities have an equal opportunity to pursue the American Dream?

With the tickets now set, it’s the candidates’ responsibility to get specific on these questions, so critical to the nation’s choice of the next president. As voters, it’s our responsibility to demand that they do.

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Candidates and Web Spending

Mediaweek's Mike Shields, via Reuters, not many candidates dumping dollars into web outside of search ads, social media:

...with six weeks or so to go before Election Day, not many watchers are expecting a sudden surge.

According to Borrell & Associates, political spending on digital media should double this year vs. 2008, reaching $44.5 million. Despite that hefty growth rate, “that’s really not much,” said Kip Cassino, Borrell’s vp of research. Some estimates place digital spending at 1 percent of total political media dollars...

Perhaps the biggest factor holding back digital spending is political consultants’ love affair with TV, which, according to Cassino, gets two of every three dollars spent in this arena. TV has a long track record of getting people elected, particularly in local congressional races, where a candidate might be running “for the 10th or 11th term,” said Cassino. “So they hand digital planning to the kid who comes in as a volunteer.”

A case of "you're not doing it because it doesn't work," or "It's not working because you're not doing it right?" 

No surprise that campaigns would be more hesitant than corporations in search of branding when it comes to taking a financial risk, and no question there is still surprisingly little empirical info out there to show the exact return conslutants and campaign managers need before spending, but I think it's less complicated than that.

It's a mid-term and older voters get online for Facebook, not news.

Committee's, candidates, and campaigns have realized the fundraising potential of younger web-savvy voters, and are happy to exploit it.  But when it comes to GOTV, the majority of candidates from both parties are still checking for AARP cards more than they are testing the most effective way to get younger voters out to... you know, vote.  Ignore the misleading headline and this NYTimes piece on "college voters" and you have all you need to know.  On issues from gay rights to the environment, these voters are progressives.  The DNC gets it, but doesn't know how to use it.  State parties are waking up to it, but don't know how to use it.  All of the risk is being placed on individual candidates, and individual candidates don't take risks when it comes to campaign spending.  They ask "what's working" and they're being told "TV."  Probably sound advice in many regions and races, but everywhere?  Still?  Doubtful.

Low hanging fruit and all with older voters in a midterm, but what opportunities have been (are being) missed not just in 2010 but in building a solid core of more progressive voters?

Given a choice between trying to woo voter who might at least partially be suspicious you have a death panel lined up for them on November 3rd, and the 2008 first time voter who just needs a reminder we have these things called midterms, I know where I'd be spending a little more time and money.

Hell, just give "the kid who comes in to volunteer" a team!

 

 

Candidates and Web Spending

Mediaweek's Mike Shields, via Reuters, not many candidates dumping dollars into web outside of search ads, social media:

...with six weeks or so to go before Election Day, not many watchers are expecting a sudden surge.

According to Borrell & Associates, political spending on digital media should double this year vs. 2008, reaching $44.5 million. Despite that hefty growth rate, “that’s really not much,” said Kip Cassino, Borrell’s vp of research. Some estimates place digital spending at 1 percent of total political media dollars...

Perhaps the biggest factor holding back digital spending is political consultants’ love affair with TV, which, according to Cassino, gets two of every three dollars spent in this arena. TV has a long track record of getting people elected, particularly in local congressional races, where a candidate might be running “for the 10th or 11th term,” said Cassino. “So they hand digital planning to the kid who comes in as a volunteer.”

A case of "you're not doing it because it doesn't work," or "It's not working because you're not doing it right?" 

No surprise that campaigns would be more hesitant than corporations in search of branding when it comes to taking a financial risk, and no question there is still surprisingly little empirical info out there to show the exact return conslutants and campaign managers need before spending, but I think it's less complicated than that.

It's a mid-term and older voters get online for Facebook, not news.

Committee's, candidates, and campaigns have realized the fundraising potential of younger web-savvy voters, and are happy to exploit it.  But when it comes to GOTV, the majority of candidates from both parties are still checking for AARP cards more than they are testing the most effective way to get younger voters out to... you know, vote.  Ignore the misleading headline and this NYTimes piece on "college voters" and you have all you need to know.  On issues from gay rights to the environment, these voters are progressives.  The DNC gets it, but doesn't know how to use it.  State parties are waking up to it, but don't know how to use it.  All of the risk is being placed on individual candidates, and individual candidates don't take risks when it comes to campaign spending.  They ask "what's working" and they're being told "TV."  Probably sound advice in many regions and races, but everywhere?  Still?  Doubtful.

Low hanging fruit and all with older voters in a midterm, but what opportunities have been (are being) missed not just in 2010 but in building a solid core of more progressive voters?

Given a choice between trying to woo voter who might at least partially be suspicious you have a death panel lined up for them on November 3rd, and the 2008 first time voter who just needs a reminder we have these things called midterms, I know where I'd be spending a little more time and money.

Hell, just give "the kid who comes in to volunteer" a team!

 

 

Candidates and Web Spending

Mediaweek's Mike Shields, via Reuters, not many candidates dumping dollars into web outside of search ads, social media:

...with six weeks or so to go before Election Day, not many watchers are expecting a sudden surge.

According to Borrell & Associates, political spending on digital media should double this year vs. 2008, reaching $44.5 million. Despite that hefty growth rate, “that’s really not much,” said Kip Cassino, Borrell’s vp of research. Some estimates place digital spending at 1 percent of total political media dollars...

Perhaps the biggest factor holding back digital spending is political consultants’ love affair with TV, which, according to Cassino, gets two of every three dollars spent in this arena. TV has a long track record of getting people elected, particularly in local congressional races, where a candidate might be running “for the 10th or 11th term,” said Cassino. “So they hand digital planning to the kid who comes in as a volunteer.”

A case of "you're not doing it because it doesn't work," or "It's not working because you're not doing it right?" 

No surprise that campaigns would be more hesitant than corporations in search of branding when it comes to taking a financial risk, and no question there is still surprisingly little empirical info out there to show the exact return conslutants and campaign managers need before spending, but I think it's less complicated than that.

It's a mid-term and older voters get online for Facebook, not news.

Committee's, candidates, and campaigns have realized the fundraising potential of younger web-savvy voters, and are happy to exploit it.  But when it comes to GOTV, the majority of candidates from both parties are still checking for AARP cards more than they are testing the most effective way to get younger voters out to... you know, vote.  Ignore the misleading headline and this NYTimes piece on "college voters" and you have all you need to know.  On issues from gay rights to the environment, these voters are progressives.  The DNC gets it, but doesn't know how to use it.  State parties are waking up to it, but don't know how to use it.  All of the risk is being placed on individual candidates, and individual candidates don't take risks when it comes to campaign spending.  They ask "what's working" and they're being told "TV."  Probably sound advice in many regions and races, but everywhere?  Still?  Doubtful.

Low hanging fruit and all with older voters in a midterm, but what opportunities have been (are being) missed not just in 2010 but in building a solid core of more progressive voters?

Given a choice between trying to woo voter who might at least partially be suspicious you have a death panel lined up for them on November 3rd, and the 2008 first time voter who just needs a reminder we have these things called midterms, I know where I'd be spending a little more time and money.

Hell, just give "the kid who comes in to volunteer" a team!

 

 

Candidates and Web Spending

Mediaweek's Mike Shields, via Reuters, not many candidates dumping dollars into web outside of search ads, social media:

...with six weeks or so to go before Election Day, not many watchers are expecting a sudden surge.

According to Borrell & Associates, political spending on digital media should double this year vs. 2008, reaching $44.5 million. Despite that hefty growth rate, “that’s really not much,” said Kip Cassino, Borrell’s vp of research. Some estimates place digital spending at 1 percent of total political media dollars...

Perhaps the biggest factor holding back digital spending is political consultants’ love affair with TV, which, according to Cassino, gets two of every three dollars spent in this arena. TV has a long track record of getting people elected, particularly in local congressional races, where a candidate might be running “for the 10th or 11th term,” said Cassino. “So they hand digital planning to the kid who comes in as a volunteer.”

A case of "you're not doing it because it doesn't work," or "It's not working because you're not doing it right?" 

No surprise that campaigns would be more hesitant than corporations in search of branding when it comes to taking a financial risk, and no question there is still surprisingly little empirical info out there to show the exact return conslutants and campaign managers need before spending, but I think it's less complicated than that.

It's a mid-term and older voters get online for Facebook, not news.

Committee's, candidates, and campaigns have realized the fundraising potential of younger web-savvy voters, and are happy to exploit it.  But when it comes to GOTV, the majority of candidates from both parties are still checking for AARP cards more than they are testing the most effective way to get younger voters out to... you know, vote.  Ignore the misleading headline and this NYTimes piece on "college voters" and you have all you need to know.  On issues from gay rights to the environment, these voters are progressives.  The DNC gets it, but doesn't know how to use it.  State parties are waking up to it, but don't know how to use it.  All of the risk is being placed on individual candidates, and individual candidates don't take risks when it comes to campaign spending.  They ask "what's working" and they're being told "TV."  Probably sound advice in many regions and races, but everywhere?  Still?  Doubtful.

Low hanging fruit and all with older voters in a midterm, but what opportunities have been (are being) missed not just in 2010 but in building a solid core of more progressive voters?

Given a choice between trying to woo voter who might at least partially be suspicious you have a death panel lined up for them on November 3rd, and the 2008 first time voter who just needs a reminder we have these things called midterms, I know where I'd be spending a little more time and money.

Hell, just give "the kid who comes in to volunteer" a team!

 

 

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