A lot of people thought it strange when Barack Obama traded jokes with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. But that pales by comparison, if you ask me, with Obama’s new role as America’s unofficial (official?) top real estate broker.
At what seems to be one of his endless news conferences (you certainly can’t accuse the dude of hiding in the White House) Obama practically pleaded…well, actually, he did plead, I guess…with Americans to refinance their mortgages at lower rates. (Like anyone would want to refinance their mortgage at a higher rate?)
“We are at a time where people can really take advantage of this,” Obama said.
He was alluding to the fact that, depite some upticks, rates on 30 year mortgages are at their lowest level in decades.
Other than the fact that the President of the United States basically selling mortgage refinancing seems, shall we say, un-presidential, there is the problem that not all that many people at this time can actually do what Obama is telling them to do.
In order to refinance downward, you have to have a damn good credit score…a stable job…and, it would help, money in the bank.
But with more and more people defaulting on their credit cards and declaring bankruptcy at the highest rates since a change a few years ago in the bankruptcy laws, it is obvious that the stock of people with really awesome credit scores is dropping faster than the Dow on a really bad day.
Also, more and more people are losing their jobs…so much for stable employment. About the only people with stable jobs nowadays are bank CEOs who can’t seem to get fired no matter what they do wrong.
Of course, it was an earlier government’s desire to increase home ownership that led to the dispersal of subprime loans to begin with, proving that, maybe, the government should not get too involved in the housing industry.
Even Obama recognized some pitfalls ahead—for example, fraud.
“If somebody is asking you for money up front before they help you with your refinancing, it’s probably a scam,” said Obama.
Guess Obama is now also the nation’s consumer affairs specialist!
Photo Credit: jurvetson