Rep. Issa Seeks to Eliminate Vital Home Loan Modification Program

First, he asked big business to tell him which regulations to eliminate. And now, it seems that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is asking the big banks what to do about home foreclosures.

According to the LA Times, Rep. Darrell Issa plans to scrap President Obama's home loan modification program. The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) offers incentives to home loan servicers who successfully got families into modified loans, preventing unnecessary foreclosures. The program was put in place in the face of widespread evidence that loan modifications were not happening. Between April 2009 and October 2010, 1.4 million Americans were able to keep their homes due to HAMP loan modifications.

Yet Rep. Issa claims that the program has failed, and that it shows the ineffectiveness of government intervention into the private sector. Many would argue that the HAMP program didn't go far enough to stem the flood of foreclosures, but Issa thinks even this modest incentive program went too far.

Hmmm, that's funny. That's the opposite conclusion from the panel assembled to examine how the economic collapse happened. Their report, released late last week by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, found that it was the LACK of government regulation that brought our economy to its knees, especially with regard to the irresponsible lending practices that caused the foreclosure free-fall.

Not surprisingly, Issa and other Republicans are balking at the report. After all, it directly contradicts their mantra that regulations are to blame for our prolonged recession.

What Rep. Issa seems to be forgetting is that this argument is about real families struggling to keep their homes. A foreclosure means more than just an economic loss; it means having to take your kids out of school, leaving behind family memories and often most possessions, and seeing even a flawless credit record destroyed overnight.

Of course, foreclosures devastate whole communities, increase blight and crime around abandoned homes, drag down home values for entire neighborhoods, and drain millions of dollars from local governments in lost revenue.

And while 2010 saw a dip in California's foreclosures, experts predict that in 2011, the number could be higher than in any year since the peak in 2006. With the next round of sub-prime loans resetting and the unemployment rate continuing to rise, a new wave of foreclosures could forestall any hope of economic recovery.

Leave it to Rep. Darrell Issa to conclude that families facing foreclosure need LESS help, not more.