Tim Geithner’s principal hypocrisy


By Neil Barofsky – In 2009, $50 billion in TARP funds had been committed to help homeowners through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a program that the president announced was intended to help up to 4 million struggling families stay in their homes through sustainable mortgage modifications. Hundreds of billions more were still available and could have been used by the White House and the Treasury Department to help support a massive reduction in mortgage debt. But Geithner avoided this path to a housing recovery (pdf), explaining that he believed it would be “dramatically more expensive for the American taxpayer, harder to justify, [and] create much greater risk of unfairness.” That program incongruously left it to the largely bank-owned mortgage servicers (and to Fannie and Freddie) to determine if such relief would be implemented.

Treasury reinforced Geithner’s early statements, refusing to do so primarily because of fears of a lurking danger: the ”moral hazard of strategic default.” (pdf) The message was clear: No way, no how would Treasury require principal reduction, even when Treasury’s analysis indicated it would be in the best interest of the owner, investor or guarantor of the mortgage. more> http://tinyurl.com/9qtnvo3

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