Commentators, bloggers, and the Twitterverse have been abuzz with praise for the rousing speeches coming out of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week, culminating Thursday night with President Barack Obama accepting his party’s nomination. But now that the political festivities have come to a close, where did housing fall in the ranks of Democratic priorities?
Although not as prevalently spotlighted as jobs, healthcare, or education, housing—specifically the mortgage interest deduction (MID)—did receive a nod in Obama’s acceptance speech.
“I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut,” Obama said in his acceptance speech. In a jab at what Democrats see as a Republican platform that favors the wealthy, Obama said, “I want to reform the Tax Code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000—the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president, the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a whole lot of millionaires to boot.” Continue reading »
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
A subject we’ve talked about a great deal here on the Speaking of Real Estate blog got some play during the Republican presidential debate last night in Jacksonville. (Transcripts are available here.) A question was asked of the four candidates about how to phase out government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
However, none of them gave satisfactory answers. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney started out by claiming that “we’ve had this discussion before,” then attacked fellow candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich for his business ties to Freddie Mac. Romney concluded by saying creating jobs was crucial for improving the housing market — which I believe is true, but that doesn’t answer the question.
In his response, Gingrich defended his involvement with Freddie and charged that Romney had made a fortune off of his investments in the GSEs. The two candidates went on for a couple more minutes trading barbs about who, exactly, had benefitted more from their Fannie and Freddie affiliations.
Rick Santorum, a former Senator from Pennsylvania, said he “stood tall” against the GSEs back in 2006 when he wrote a letter with other senators asking for Fannie and Freddie reform that involved gradually reducing the number of mortgages underwritten by the two. He then criticized both Romney and Gingrich for criticizing each other instead of focusing on the question. Continue reading »