Tag Archives: mortgage crisis

Protesters march on big banks to expose “underwater” mortgage crisis

Demonstrators call on financial giants to save drowning homeowners by reducing principal.

 

BOSTON – Sporting goggles, snorkels, flippers and life preservers, more than 150 demonstrators marched on the big banks recently to call attention to the scourge of underwater mortgages. Foreclosure victims lead by City Life and New England’s Bank Tenant Associations were joined by allies from MASSUNITING and the Occupy movement in calling on financial institutions to take meaningful steps to address the mortgage crisis.  Their primary demand of JP Morgan Chase, Fannie Mae, Bank of America and other big banks: reduce the principal owed on underwater homes.

Check out clips from the “underwater” march here: http://bit.ly/zk40Bg

“Millions of homes are underwater due to the greed of Bank of America, Fannie Mae, JP Morgan Chase and the rest of the big banks,” said Melonie Griffiths, an organizer with City Life/Vida Urbana. “They’re directly responsible for the mortgage crisis, and it’s about time they did something to clean up their wreckage and help drowning homeowners.”

More than 25% of mortgages are underwater nationwide – meaning the amount owed on the mortgage exceeds the value of the home. This growing problem has become one of the driving factors behind the ongoing mortgage crisis, leading many analysts to agree that comprehensive principal reduction is the only plausible path to reversing course. Yet, most major financial institutions have flatly refused to take the necessary steps to address the crisis.

“The big banks took trillions in taxpayer bailouts, but refuse to take even the simplest steps to get our economy back on track,” said Antonio Ennis, a Dorchester resident fighting foreclosure from Bank of America. “That’s why we’re marching today – we kept the big banks afloat, now it’s time for them to throw us a lifeline.”

President Obama has called on financial institutions to take action on principal reduction – even going as far as to provide incentives to participating firms. But the administration has yet to forward hard requirements, and the major banks have been largely unwilling to comply.

A progressive’s view of the federal and MA state budgets

By Grace Ross

Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is that fabulous definition of crazy. Yet economically as a state and nationally as a country, we continue the same economic policies somehow expecting that the ones that got us into this economic crisis are going to get us out.

One of my pet peeves is elected officials who seem to think that their responsibility as our representatives is to balance the budget of the level of the government to which they were elected. In fact, every single one of us elected these folks expecting them to have an eye on their district’s economy as a whole and balance their level of government’s budget so as to improve our economic lives and realities not just their “isolated” bottom line.

We all knew that the federal government should not give money to the very banks that got us into this mess. Instead, Congress lent not just hundreds of billions publicly but the Federal Reserve Bank lent them tens of trillions guaranteed by us taxpayers. Yet, we knew the big banks still would not rewrite all the bad mortgages or lend so our small businesses survive.

Obviously, our elected leaders need a complete rethink of the purpose and focus of government budgets: what makes our economy thrive and what doesn’t, not satisfying the economic desires of a few.

It’s staggering to hear our present governor, Deval Patrick, express such outrage that Fidelity now plans to take 1,000 jobs out of state. Surprised? We’ve just been through the whole debacle of the $56 Million Evergreen Solar infrastructure and tax sweetheart deal. They are a local grown business that could have played a central role in rebuilding manufacturing in one of the few growing sectors: green energy. But like most corporate money deals, Evergreen was not actually bound to anything for our state residents; that same money could have subsidized regular people being able to afford solar panels and thus create a burgeoning market to incentivize Evergreen to manufacture and create jobs here! (Of course, the Governor himself is planning to cut more jobs.)

In the 1990s, our legislature passed whole sector tax cuts: the military industrial sector break (known as the “Raytheon tax” break) and the financial sector break known as, you guessed it, the “Fidelity tax” break. These tax breaks were sold as keeping (maybe creating) jobs in Massachusetts. History, however, shows that these jobs have dwindled in our state since those tax breaks. Studies also show that companies don’t move somewhere primarily for tax incentives. Continue reading A progressive’s view of the federal and MA state budgets