Time to Help Homeowners

Most Americans see the need for government action on the housing crisis to help homeowners and the economy, writes Ruy Teixiera.

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Congress earlier this month enacted a sorely-needed economic stimulus plan that couldn’t have happened soon enough as far as the public is concerned. By an overwhelming 52 point margin (73 percent to 21 percent) in an early February Gallup poll, they favored passage of such a bill to stimulate economic growth.

But the public also had some ideas about what should be included—and one component that wasn’t part of that economic stimulus package was a dedicated housing provision. That’s what Congress is now grappling with, and the public wants action here, too. One timely step they favor is “instituting a 90-day moratorium on home foreclosures and freezing adjustable mortgage rates for five years.” They back such a provision by more than two-to-one, 63 percent in favor compared to 30 percent opposed.

More broadly, the public also favors tax rebates, but targeted to low- and middle-income Americans. That proposal garners 84 percent support. In contrast, just 40 percent favor giving tax rebates to all Americans regardless of income.

With the economic stimulus behind us, the housing crisis legislation now in play, and plenty of discussion about taxes on the presidential campaign trail and in the halls of Congress, let’s hope the views of the American public are taken into account. This would be a pleasant change from typical Bush-era bills, which have been loaded with provisions most Americans oppose.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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