How I Benefited from the Obama Housing Policy

I am someone who has personally benefited from some of President Obama’s economic policies. In addition to getting the temporary payroll (Social Security) tax break, I am now refinancing my underwater home through President Obama’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). My home is now worth about $25K less than I owe due to the collapse of the housing bubble, and in three years I would be facing a significantly increased interest rate from the already high rate I have now if I were not able to refinance. I acquired my home in 2005 with a 10-year fixed rate, which would change to an adjustable rate mortgage at the 10-year maturity, because I did not plan on living there for over 10 years. But the housing crash put me in a difficult situation, as it has done for millions of Americans, and made refinancing pretty much impossible. Of course, selling the home at such a huge loss was not a viable option for me either. As I researched my refinance options, I found that no lender would have granted me a refinance loan for my underwater property on their own volition, even though I have never made a late payment. It’s only through HARP that I am now able to refinance and take advantage of some of the lowest interest rates in about half a century, and it didn’t cost the American taxpayers a nickel for me to do so. So thank you Mr. Obama, for helping me and millions of other Americans keep our homes with even lower monthly payments.


  1. If more of the couple trillion dollars of bailout and stimulus money had been used like this more Americans would be happier with this administration. Unfortunately, they refused to do it.

    1. Cameron- thank you for reading and commenting! I agree, it is unfortunate that the Obama Administration has not been more aggressive with aiding struggling homeowners. There have been a few iterations of the HARP program and each successive one has expanded eligibility of the program. They should have made it more widely available in the first place. On the stimulus, over one third of the $787 billion Recovery Act money went to tax cuts, which mostly targeted middle class. And the extension of the 50% cut in payroll taxes has benefited most Americans. So it seems pretty clear that the Administration’s policies have helped most Americans on at least one level. Also, while the financial sector bailout didn’t directly help average Americans, it did help us all by preventing a total banking collapse, which could have impacted everyone who has a bank account. And the GM and Chrysler bailouts undoubtedly saved millions of middle-class jobs.

      1. It’s more than just that the administration hasn’t been aggressive enough to aid struggling home owners. It’s that they made it their explicit policy to bail out Wall Street at the expense of struggling home owners. These programs which were sold to us as homeowner helps were, according to Tim Geithner, really just used to spread the impact of foreclosures over a broad horizon so as to spare bank balance sheets. Unfortunately, in so doing they spread the length of the recession’s trough as well, making it that much harder for struggling home owners to find work and get caught up.

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