Merits and analysis of Obama’s housing plan aside, I’m particularly interested in this bit of Republican rhetoric I’m seeing.
The GOP, perhaps predictably, was less enthusiastic. House Republicans released statements, suggesting Obama’s plan rewarded irresponsible borrowers at the expense of the vast majority of homeowners who pay their monthly bills on time.
He objected most to the main theme of the foreclosure plan – using monetary incentives to spur lenders and borrowers to do the right thing.
“The biggest outrage is that the president’s plan actually will use taxpayer money to pay people to do what they are already supposed to do – pay their mortgage,” Shelby said. “It also uses taxpayer money to pay banks to do what they should already be doing – modifying mortgages.”
So the mass job layoffs aren’t their fault, but people who are struggling to pay their mortgages are “irresponsible” and aren’t “doing what they’re supposed to do” by paying their bills–in other words, their non-payment is “their fault”? I guess in their perspective, you ought to be able to pay your bills with or without a job!
The Republicans seem willing to say that the economic downturn (and thus layoffs, increased credit card rates, and lower lines of credit) is beyond people’s control, but the impact of the economic downturn (housing foreclosures) somehow isn’t.
Their rhetoric also removes any blame for the abusiveness of the mortgage industry on the industry and solely in the hands of “irresponsible” Americans.
I also find it interesting that they claim that this is what the mortgage industry should be doing anyway, yet they don’t want any regulation making them do it and in the absence of such regulation, don’t want the government to incentivize good behavior they “ought to” be doing anyway? If it’s less advantageous to them financially, why on earth would they do it? Since when did the financial industry grow a conscience?
These statements are fascinating to me as well, because I have been wondering myself if our current economic crisis might change the way we think about, talk about, and approach public policy regarding the unemployed and working poor. (more…)