Obama Goes Home

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009
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President-elect Barack Obama spoke to CNBC about the housing challenges facing the nation.

President-elect Barack Obama spoke to CNBC about the housing challenges facing the nation.

President-elect Barack Obama gave a half-hour interview to CNBC tonight (full interview here, transcript here) that was impressively policy heavy–a real treat for the wonks out there, though who isn’t these days–in advance of the unveiling of his nearly $800 billion stimulus package tomorrow. One of the issues he necessarily touched upon was the housing crisis (video), given its place at the center of the current meltdown.

I think the most important thing when it comes to declining home values is, number one, preventing further foreclosures. That just erodes home values across the board.

And that’s why I think for those of us who are still paying a mortage–you know, you hear sometimes folks up in the country say, ‘Well, I’ve been responsible. Why should I provide any help to somebody who maybe took out a mortgage that they couldn’t afford.’

Well, this goes back to the adage that if your neighbor’s house is burning, you got to first worry about putting out the house, even if they’d acted irresponsibly. I think that’s true when it comes to foreclosures as well. We’ve got to prevent the continuing deterioration of the housing market.

Sadly, he didn’t say much more on the subject, except that we need to make long-term investments as well, like “weatheriz[ing] homes all across the country, which can “drastically cut the country’s energy bills, increase energy independence, [and] reduce global greenhouse gases.”

As for his stimulus plan, he didn’t say much about that, either–presumably he’s saving all the fireworks for tomorrow–but without mentioning infrastructure once, or saying much about new housing or other construction, we’re a little worried. After all, we need him now more than ever.

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