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The Great American Stickup: How the Political Class Mugged America and Handed the Money Over to Wall St.

With so much opportunity, why has Obama presided over such an economic disaster?

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So when you say what we should do right now, Obama could call for a moratorium. A moratorium, what? Two, three years on mortgage foreclosures. You know, that’s what you do when you’re facing a crisis. He could call for and push through a regulation, as well as legislation, saying the bankruptcy courts—remember, we had the change in bankruptcy law to hurt consumers, make it harder for consumers to declare bankruptcy. Well, they could push for new regulation, new laws, say, no, we’re not going to leave it voluntarily, as he’s now doing with the banks to somehow make readjustments of which there have been very few, has not dealt with the problem. They should say, no, this is the ball game right now. The ball game is keeping people in their homes. The ball game is preventing all those boarded-up buildings in suburbs of South Florida, Riverside, California.

I mean, if you travel in this country, there’s enormous pain, because people’s life savings, their sense of their worth, their piece of the American Dream, were tied up in their family. When you lose that home or when you’re suffering or you’re facing foreclosure, you lose not only your pride, you lose your ability to retire, to send your kids to school. I mean, the dreams of Americans are wrapped up in their home. And I don’t know why we’re talking about anything else right now. If we want to get the economy going again, if we want to get people back to work, if we want to get consumption up, what you’ve got to do is help people with that nest and that nest egg, which is their home. And there’s very little, precious little in Obama’s speeches, and certainly almost nothing in his actions, to help those homeowners.

Goodman: And how do you help people who don’t have a home?

Scheer: Well, you know, I know—there’s lots of things to do to help people home. But let me tell you, this is not a division between haves and have-nots when it comes to home owning. And one of my anger with some of the liberals around in the Democratic Party who supported this deregulation, they said this was going to help minority people get homes. You know, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were as rapacious as any—as Citigroup or Goldman Sachs. And the so-called liberal—this is dealt with in great detail in my book, which takes very few prisoners on either side, in either party. But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with the support of people like Barney Frank and even many in the Black Caucus, said, "No, no, don’t touch Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They’ll help poor people get into their homes." Sure, a lot of minorities got into homes. They lost their savings. They’re now hurting. They can’t hold on to their homes. They’re being foreclosed. So, you know, the dream of American housing was not a have/have-not thing. It was supposed to be emancipation of Americans. It was supposed to be of them a piece of the pie.

So, first thing is, if we do this thing of keeping people in homes, we’re helping a lot of working people and poorer people. This is not something to benefit the rich. The rich make out like bandits in this kind of market. But secondly, if we can’t put a floor on housing foreclosures, if we can’t stem this bleeding right now, we’re not going to get consumption back, you know, and if we don’t get consumption back, because people were consuming based on their sense of what they’re worth, we’re not going to get the jobs back—jobs in construction, but jobs generally. And so, I would not divide the interest of homeowners and keeping them in their homes from the rest of the population.

 
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