The March issue of FIRE Policy News reports on President Barack Obama’s proposal to use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help homeowners who are still making payments on their mortgages but owe more than the houses are worth. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is key among those who oppose the plan.
Also in this issue:
- Interchange fees on credit card purchases may soon be slashed by order of the Federal Reserve. The likely effect on credit card users is unclear.
- A January ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court invalidating two single mortgage foreclosures offers a glimpse into the chaos infecting the entire mortgage-backed securities industry, which led to the 2008 TARP bailout by U.S. taxpayers. The court ruled the foreclosures were invalid because neither bank owned its respective mortgage at the time of foreclosure.
- Gasoline prices have risen more than 50 percent over the past two years, and food prices also have increased sharply. The United Nations food price index for basic food is now at an all-time high, having risen 23.5 percent over the past year and 4.4 percent in December alone.
- Recovery from a recession can be a tricky thing but need not be. The simple approach is to identify the cause, fashion policies that deal with it, and then let the market adjust without obstacles from the government. What does not help is trying to continue the cause of the recession, as Washington is doing now.
- The number of high-risk drivers using the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association to obtain last-resort coverage has continued to plunge. More than 200 companies offer auto insurance in the Lone Star State, making it easy for even high-risk drivers to find affordable coverage.
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