If Conservative Republicans can be placated, the financial rescue package (the $700 billion bailout) is on track to be approved by one and all, and this looks to be the case this weekend. In an era of lack oversight and trickle down economics (which has never worked), we still have leaders who are concerned that we follow this path. The Bush administration, which once touted “compassionate conservatism” as its goal has never shown much compassion, but at least one program from HUD is moving in the right direction.
I am a believer in balance, and this applies to my views of government as well. I have never seen this blog as a setting for a political agenda; however, I do feel that much of our current crisis is due to policies associated with the idea that more de-regulation of business is better. The SEC finally conceded that its voluntary oversight program has been a failure, and that it helped lead to the current financial crisis. It has bothered me that the SEC, which was meant to protect the investor, has sided more often with the financial industry. Yes, sometimes they need to side with industry, but at other times they should have protected the small investor from the excesses of those firms. Since the SEC did not wish to do its job or do it properly, the task has now fallen to the Fed to oversee investment banks.
I have been following some programs at HUD recently, and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program is a good step. Secretary Preston has begun offering grants ($3.92 billion worth) to local and state governments to deal with rising foreclosures in certain areas. There is a two-fold means of dealing with this issue: allowing local authorities to purchase foreclosed lands and homes to demolish them or deal with them by other means; and/or offer loans to assist homeowners facing foreclosure so that they can stay in their homes. HUD has some strict requirements who can qualify. They want the money to go to areas which are in the most need, and Congress has determined that these grants need to be used in 18 months. As long as the stated goals are adhered to, I feel that this program will be the best method for dealing with abandoned areas due to foreclosures. Having seen the state of these homes during my home inspections, I know that they can be a problem for their neighbors. You can read more about the HUD program here.
Whichever way our government heads next year, I hope that our leaders recognize that targeted programs with specific goals are needed, and that we taxpayers should be on their minds, instead of which firm contributed to their campaign.