Mitt Romney Housing Plan Short On Details (Again)

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to supporters during a rally Friday, Sept.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to supporters during a rally Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in Las Vegas. Romney campaigned in Nevada as aides released a 2011 federal income tax return showing he and his wife, Ann, paid $1.94 million in federal taxes last year on income of $13.7 million. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

NEW YORK -- If elected president, Mitt Romney would reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sell 200,000 vacant foreclosed homes owned by the government and promote "sensible, not overly complex" financial regulation that gets credit flowing again.

He would also "spare thousands of families from going through the foreclosure process" by making foreclosure alternatives easier.

How would he go about doing this? As with an abridged version of the plan that appeared on the campaign website a few weeks ago, this seven-page white paper (including the title page) called "Securing the American Dream and the Future of Housing Policy" includes no details.

It does, however, include a bit more blame.

President Barack Obama's housing programs "have been poorly administered with constantly changing terms and overstated goals that have never been met," the plan says.

Romney also notes in his plan that Obama's signature financial regulation law, the Dodd-Frank Act (which hurts small business, Romney says) did nothing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which currently owe taxpayers $140 billion.

Yet Romney's plan doesn't say what he would do differently. Instead, it makes broad policy statements that suggests the answer will include rolling back regulations.

Nor does the plan say how Romney would ween the mortgage market from these giants that now buy up most home loans made in the U.S.

Many housing experts share Romney's broad critiques. The Making Home Affordable mortgage modification program, for example, has been dogged by complaints that the banks charged with implementing it are unmotivated to do so, resulting in modification nightmares for many borrowers. It has fallen far short of the Treasury Department goal of helping 4 million borrowers obtain a permanent loan modification.

The Romney-Ryan plan says it "will reduce the outsized role of the government and revitalize the private sector's role in the housing market to end the housing crisis and preserve the American dream of homeownership."

Over the past four years, the Obama administration "has never offered a clear vision for the future of housing finance policy," the Romney plan says.

That may be true, but neither has Romney.



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