Currently, Tennessee ranks 12th nationally in foreclosures. The rate of foreclosures in Tennessee has increased 127% since 2006.
Looking at surrounding states, only Georgia ranks higher at 8th.
There is no question that the housing market was deeply flawed. There’s no question that some people got into homes and mortgages that they probably couldn’t afford. How they got there is a matter of debate. One thing is for sure, no one in their right mind would have entered into an agreement of this magnitude knowing they would be hung out to dry by the terms of the deal or the economy.
Compounding this issue is unemployment, which has increased almost 2% in Tennessee between November 2007 and 2008. Tennessee lost 19,500 jobs in that time. Considering the number of seasonal jobs that are in place in November, I feel certain that once the January numbers come out (in mid-February) we’ll see unemployment rise further.
Back in October, or whenever it was, that Congress authorized the first $350 billion of the TARP, the idea was that the government would buy up bad assets to help the balance sheets of the affected institutions. That soon shifted to, purchasing stock in the institutions because buying paper assets that were not worth the paper they were written on wasn’t making any sense. Now the talk is doing some of what we should have been doing in the first place, using the TARP to directly help people in need.
In a Daily Kos Diary newly elected Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley talks about why he voted for the TARP, while opposing it in the campaign. Merkley is taking some heat over his vote, but he explains the rationale nicely.
…I spent the last several days arguing this case at the highest levels of the Obama team, meeting with and calling repeatedly Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers, and talking once directly to our incoming President, as well as consulting with mortgage guru Professor Blinder and the Center for Responsible Lending. I asked for a strong multi-dimensional program to directly address families in troubled mortgages. Several other freshman senators, including Tom and Mark Udall, joined in this effort and made an impact on the administration’s outlook.
The Obama team heard us. Mostly. You saw an evolution from the FDIC $25 billion plan to the possibility of doing $40-50 billion to the final commitment in writing to a minimum of $50 billion and up to $100 billion.
This means at a minimum 250,000 households will not be put out of their homes.
That is a drop in the bucket considering over 2.3 million properties had foreclosure filings in 2008, but it’s better than what the Bush Administration ever did. Bush put all his TARP money into companies that would rather not pay taxes in the US. Hell, they can’t even figure out where the money went! Strong work there Bushie!
The key for the Government right now needs to be helping those who are paying taxes, not helping multi-national companies that can shift money in creative ways to far away places that make things look better or worse depending on who they’re talking to. If they want our tax money going forward to help them through their managerial mistakes they need to pledge to play a fair game.