Several weeks ago I reported that Las Vegas, one of the cities with the highest rate of foreclosures, received none of the $2 billion in Federal relief dollars (article). That situation has now changed. It was just announced that Nevada is to receive $100 million in Federal aid.
While the amount is merely 6.67% of the $1.5 billion of the relief package (article), it is welcome news to an area that has been on the front lines of the foreclosure battle. Will it solve the problem? Of course not, but it’s a start. As of January 2010 one of every 92 housing units was a foreclosure, so the problem is not going away anytime soon.
Conspiracy theorists and local skeptics suggest that the whole housing aid fiasco was staged. Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is up for reelection this fall. If recent poll numbers are to be believed, a poorly trained monkey would beat him in a landslide. Opponents feel that the announcement was timed to make Reid look like a hero. Critics of the Senator wonder why he couldn’t deliver any of the original $2 billion in foreclosure aid to his home state.
The timing is also suspect in that President Obama may have been looking for a way to atone for a recent faux pas. Just a year after harming the local economy by saying that corporations receive bailout dollars shouldn’t hold meetings in Las Vegas, he again said that families saving for college shouldn’t take trips to Las Vegas (article). The first comment caused many companies to cancel conventions scheduled for Las Vegas even though it actually cost them more to book them elsewhere. The impact of his most recent remark is not yet known.
While the spirit of what the president said may have been 100% correct, his remarks could have been just as effective without using Las Vegas as a specific reference. Obama’s popularity has dropped sharply in an area that elected him by an overwhelming majority. So perhaps the aid is his way of extending an olive branch to the area – if so, we’ll take it!
Moving Like Molasses
So how will this money be used? No one knows. How does the state get it? They’re not sure. The state must first submit a plan to the U.S. Treasury but the guidelines for submitting those plans have not been created yet. So it’s a typical case of “hurry up and wait.” The guidelines are supposed to be created in the next several weeks. How long it will take to actually have money flowing is anyone’s guess.
Some estimates suggest that the earliest the money would even begin arriving is sometime in June. Any effects probably wouldn’t be felt until later in the fall. Hmmm, that would be just in time for the elections. That has to be a coincidence, right?
Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. – Henry Kissinger