Election 2014  
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Mitt's Many Mansions and the Foreclosure Crisis

It is time for reporters following Mitt to start asking him some questions about the crisis we face in our housing markets.

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"It will get better," Romney told her, according to CNN's online video stream of the event. "It will not always be like this."

Taking the side of the bank industry lobby, Romney also wants to dismantle the Dodd-Frank law, and the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which strengthened protections for consumers, including homeowners, against predatory and abusive corporate lenders.

Across the country, millions of "under water" voters -- Democrats and Independents and even some Republicans -- are desperate. This is particularly true in many key swing states -- including Florida, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado. These voters, for whom the American Dream has become a nightmare, could be an important voting bloc in the November election.

The best solution is for the federal government to require banks to write down the principal on their mortgages so that their mortgages are worth market value. If mortgages were reset, this would not only fix the foreclosure crisis but also pump $71 billion into the economy annually and create over one million jobs a year.

The Obama administration has proposed a "principal reduction" fix, but only on a voluntary basis. Obama needs to ratchet up his demands on the banks, require them to modify "under water" loans that have put millions of families in economic jeopardy through not fault of their own, and contrast his approach with Romney's "Let it run its course and hit the bottom" approach.

By taking on the banking lobby, and helping millions of homeowners who are suffering because of Wall Street's risky and illegal practices, Obama will help guarantee his re-election in November. Then Mitt can go back to his homes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and California -- and perhaps buy another one in the Cayman Islands, where he can visit his money.

Peter Dreier is professor of politics at Occidental College. His new book, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, will be published by Nation Books at the end of 2011. He writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and American Prospect.
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