THE BLOG
11/07/2012 03:33 pm ET Updated Jan 07, 2013

President Obama: Your Second Term Is Your Second Chance to Get Housing Right

Congratulations President Obama! What an amazing victory.

In 2004, President Bush won 286 electoral college votes. A few days later, he held a press conference to declare that he had a mandate. Last night, you won more than 300 electoral college votes - sweeping nearly every swing state and helping usher in even more Democratic Senators.

It is now time for you to declare a mandate and aggressively pursue the hope and change that propelled you into office in the first place.

A second term means that you get to tackle the many challenges and opportunities in front of our country with a renewed vigor. With this incredible opportunity (and no worries of another election to slow you down), you also get to correct the mistakes of the first term.

And that means doubling down, straightening out, and yes, moving forward, in helping the millions of homeowners still suffering from the Great Recession caused by Wall Street abuses. From principal reduction to putting Wall Street criminals in jail--the answers have been laid on the table and, now, it's time to act.

This election season, underwater voters and homeowners from all over the country sent a clear message to both you and Governor Romney that their vote was a vote for home. Tens of thousands of people were touched and mobilized by The New Bottom Line's "Home Is Where the Vote Is" campaign over the last few months, and many called on both of you to address the housing crisis on the campaign trail and in the debates. They met one-on-one with top representatives of your campaign, delivered petitions and held protests outside campaign offices Meanwhile, from Nevada to New York to Florida, members of the Home Defender's League, knocked on doors, phone banked, and held town halls in an amazing GOTV effort focused on underwater homeowners.

Just one week after the launch of "Home Is Where The Vote Is," the local and national press including NPR, PBS NewsHour, Bloomberg, Politico, and many more reported on both campaigns' silence on housing. While Governor Romney never responded, we were pleased to see you address homeowners in the waning weeks of the election when you appeared on Jon Stewart and Jay Leno.

Words are great. But action is so much better. Despite reports that the housing market is starting to stutter towards recovery, millions and millions of Americans are and will continue to suffer. They are still drowning in debt they shouldn't owe. They have lost life savings and college funds for their children. Too many have unfairly had their home ripped away from them by Wall Street banks' abuses and incompetencies.

And let's not forget that a full economic recovery is dependent on a housing market recovery. Principal reduction--or resetting mortgages to fair market value would save the average underwater homeowner $543 per month, pumping $104 billion into the national economy every year. This would create 1.5 million jobs nationally.

Mr. President, from supporting the DREAM Act to gay marriage, you've shown your willingness to make bold moves and decisions. It's time to make bold moves on behalf of homeowners and our entire economy. Here's what you can do:

  • Fire Ed DeMarco. We've said it before and will say it again. DeMarco, the interim director of Federal Financial and Housing Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is single-handedly blocking relief for millions of homeowners and benefits for tax payers. This Bush-holdover beuraucrat is betraying the role and goals of his agency. Nominate a replacement to DeMarco--someone who will protect and fight for homeowners, not someone who will betray them. The Financial Times recently reported that you were ready to replace DeMarco--we will fully support this course of action. But it needs to be done sooner, not later.
  • Increase the resources and your personal support of the RMBS Task Force-the combined state and federal investigation you announced during the 2011 State of the Union. into big bank fraud and crimes. We've started to see small, but critical, lawsuits against JP Morgan Chase to Bank of America filed over the last few months. We need more lawsuits and they have to result in hundreds of billions of dollars principal reduction for homeowners and frankly, put some Wall Street criminals in jail. The people that crashed our economy are still pulling the strings of power on Wall Street. You can stop them from causing another financial meltdown, if you take bold and much-needed action.
  • Take this second chance to get it right on housing and use your mandate to help the millions of underwater homeowners across this country.

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