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February 15, 2013

The Housing Task Force That Wasn’t

Posted in: Uncategorized

Anyone remember that Mortgage Task Force President Obama put together to finally take on Wall Street over rampant fraud in the mortgage market? You know, the one Obama announced while running for re-election after having done exactly nothing to help struggling homeowners while shoveling taxpayer money to the banks. Well, apparently even that miniscule gesture was not only empty but fraudulent.

From FDL alum David Dayen:

A year ago, President Obama gestured toward the first lady’s box at the State of the Union address at Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York. Schneiderman had just agreed to co-chair the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities working group, an initiative between state and federal law enforcement officials and bank regulators, designed to investigate and prosecute fraudulent Wall Street activity that led to both the creation of the housing bubble and its collapse…

Schneiderman’s “task force” (a generous appellation) was merely a politically motivated shell organization grafted onto that public relations strategy. This was evident almost from the moment of the announcement, but the coalition of self-proclaimed bank accountability advocates, who had backed the administration into a corner over the lack of prosecutions, decided to align with Schneiderman and his kabuki task force, losing whatever leverage they may have had. If those same groups who feel “betrayed” and “lied to” had stayed on the outside and shamed those in power into action, we would probably have more accountability today.

The article is a must read detailing how after a big State of the Union promise the Obama Administration not only quietly backed away from its stated commitment to finally do something for defrauded homeowners but decided to play a cynical game of press release politics. It’s bad enough to not help the people you claim are your constituents, it’s even worse to not help them and spend all the time and effort you could spent helping them pretending you did.

Of course the reality is the Obama Administration’s real constituents are Wall Street and they are getting genuine and substantive representation in government.

Photo by Kelly Campbell under Creative Commons license

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