Mandelman's Monthly Museletter – Version 15.0

1. Obama Leaps Into Action on Foreclosures – Happy days now right around corner. NBC is reporting that, four years into the foreclosure crisis, and having failed at every single turn in the road, the government will now be hosting a hotline to provide financial advice to homeowners facing foreclosure. And I think we can all agree that this is the news for which we've all been waiting. It's being called… ready for this… "The Hope Line," and had I not learned of that moniker, I might have just let this story go. It's tiring to just keep beating up on stupidity, as I'm sure my readers understand. But I did learn they were calling it "The Hope Line," and it's the brainless child of HUD Secretary, Shaun Donovan… he's the member of the Obama Administration that looks like an aging Howdy Doody… to me, anyway. According to Donovan… "Everybody in a neighborhood loses value on their home when a home is foreclosed." No kidding, is that right? Well, then someone should do something about the four million foreclosures that happen each year in this country. Have you had enough yet? Is this bothering anyone else but me… no, bothering isn't the right word… is this making you want to kick the crap out of a squirrel? Are you choking back a scream of such proportion that were you to let it out, you think it might be heard throughout eternity? Well, I simply can't take it another second… Shaun Donovan you are an unbelievably insensitive, ignorant and incompetent jackass. And I'd forgive you all of that, if you'd just shut up and stop treating me like I'm a four year old. A "hotline" called the "Hope Line" to provide financial advice to homeowners facing foreclosure? It's almost 2012, Shaun… you've done NOTHING right since you took over HUD. Are you f#@king kidding me? I really don't know what to say except that I can't remember the last time I wanted to break someone's fingers so badly. What are you thinking your "hotline" might do for homeowners, Shaun? Save the day? Direct callers to their servicer? Offer to connect the homeowner with a HUD counselor? And check this out… for homeowners who prefer a face-to-face waste of time, Donovan suggests homeowners call "the local law school where students need the experience to get a degree." What kind of degree does one hope to get by talking to a homeowner at risk of foreclosure, Shaun? Is that how you think one gets a law degree? What the hell are you even talking about? What happened to "YOU DON'T NEED A LAWYER… JUST CALL YOUR BANK DIRECTLY, OR CALL A HUD COUNSELOR?" Now, you're saying homeowners could use a lawyer, but your recommendation is that they seek out an aspiring or inexperienced one? Shaun, I really have no idea what your problem is, but I'll bet it's difficult to pronounce. NBC's story also mentioned that this "hotline" is being rolled out "as Americans see foreclosures take another upswing." Another upswing? That's how you thought to phrase the concept of foreclosures skyrocketing last month? Could you be any more offensive? Stop by sometime… I'd like to give you an upswing. You can reach the new homeowner hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE. Go ahead and call… it'll be fun, I'm sure. Here's a link to the article I wrote two years ago, the last time I called the government's "Hope Line." It's titled: "The Weather in India." Do you think I'm being too harsh, Shaun? Okay, tell you what… I'll start being nicer as soon as you start being smarter. 2. Nation's poverty rate climbs to 15.1%, highest in 18 years. According to the latest census data, more Americans fell below the poverty line last year. The nation's poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent in 2010, which is the highest level since 1993. About 46.2 million people are considered to be in this group. The government's definition of poverty is income of $22,314 a year for a family of four and $11,139 for an individual. And that's not all the good news… in 2010 middle-class American families saw their income fall year over year, but the best part of that story is that median income has changed very little compared to consumer price increases over the last 30 years. The middle-income family earns only 11% more than they did in 1980, while consumer prices have risen roughly 155 percent since then. And that's adjusted for inflation. The figures were hardly surprising when you consider that the number of Americans unemployed over six months actually hit an all-time high during the year. Yep, we're having a recovery all right. What… me worry? 3. Obama Says Government to Help Some Refinance… Again. Again with the refinancing, Barack? You really have no idea what you're doing, do you? Not a clue. And you're getting advice from some billionaire's club of psychopathic capitalists who made money so you think they're smart. It's really quite sad to watch. Let me refresh your obviously failing memory. It was February of 2009 when you first announced the whole refinancing thing. Hardly anyone qualified for it, and the people who did were not those at risk of foreclosure, but it was a lovely sentiment, nonetheless, and we just ignored you and went about our lives battling the banksters. It was supposed to help millions… and didn't even get close… very much like HAMP, as a matter of fact. The only thing the refinancing did was keep some mortgage brokers employed for a bit, and allow those senior citizens who did qualify to trim a few hundred from their monthly payment. They used their monthly savings to pay off debt or they stuck it in the bank, but it certainly didn't help the economy at all. Then, you announced the same program again a year later… and the result was that you refi'd the same people you had refi'd the year before. You didn't stop a single foreclosure as a result of the refinancing, not even one. And now… with your failure to mitigate the damage caused by Wall Street's bankers and mortgage servicers widely understood, you thought it a good idea to trot out the old refi responsible homeowners pitch again. After all, it didn't work last time, so why the heck not try it again… this time hoping for a different outcome. Look, I'd explain this to you in more clear terms, but I don't have any crayons with me, so let's just say that you might want to consider hiring someone who can produce a new idea… even a bad one, as long as it's new. The last time mortgage rates for 30-year loans were lower was in 1951, Mr. President. Yes, I said 1951. And the 15-year rate of 3.33 percent was actually an all-time low. But listen… shhhh… do you hear that? No? Why that's the sound of all the "responsible homeowners" rushing out to take advantage of the low rates. You see, there aren't any "responsible homeowners," Mr. President. Half of homeowners today are underwater, if you take out states like North Dakota from the national averages, so they can't refinance for that reason. The other 50% just don't have the 800 FICO scores you need to get a loan these days. And whatever number is left is finding it impossible to save up the required 20% down payment, or if they have managed to save up the required down payment, they certainly aren't interested in throwing it away on a house whose value is certain to continue falling like a stone. No matter though… at least the 1500 people who can qualify will save another couple of Franklins each month. Who knows… maybe they'll use it to re-start our nation's economy… in about 400 years. 4. Mortgage Defaults Skyrocket 33% Nationwide in a Single Month… 55% in California… 42% in New Jersey… Tsunami of foreclosures on its way… Well, things are certainly looking up, wouldn't you say? I mean, when Obama says we're having a recovery, he means… well, I don't actually know what he means. And I found it quite interesting that Bank of America alone, increased the number of default notices sent out by a reported 200% in August over the prior month. That's stunning, I think, and I'll tell you why. Bank of America has been whining since the foreclosure crisis began that it simply couldn't keep up with the demand for loan modifications. Fro==or three years BofA has been singing the same tune… we're overwhelmed… feel sorry for us… we're trying… So, I have a question for Bank of America… why is it that the foreclosure side of your business is capable of a 200% increase in a single month, but after three years you still can't show even a modicum of improvement as far as getting a mortgage modified for a homeowner at risk of foreclosure? Don't worry, that was rhetorical. I know the answer. It's because you lie constantly about everything. You could increase the number of loan modifications by 200% in a month too… you simply don't want to. You don't care what foreclosures are doing to our nation's economy… to our communities… to millions of families… to the lives of our children. You don't care about complying with laws or government programs. You are the worst sort of corporate citizen, and it is my great hope that the people of this nation come to understand what you have done and never forgive you for it. 5. Gallup's Economic Numbers Show No Recovery Since 2009. The latest Gallup reports show that consumer spending in this country has remained essentially flat since falling through the floor in January of 2009. Spending in retail stores including gas stations and restaurants has averaged $66 per day in 2011… in 2008 it averaged $96 per day. Gallup also reported that 18.5% of American workers are underemployed… with 9.1% unemployed as of August 2011. And those numbers, which are unchanged year over year, don't include those unemployed over six months and presumed to no longer be looking for work. And consumer confidence is right where it was at the depths of the depression, which the government pegs as being February of 2009. Gallup says that 77% of Americans said our nation's economy is getting worse in August of 2011… the highest percentage by far since then. Yeppers… there's no question about it… that's change I can believe in, all right. Mandelman out. And please consider supporting the documentary I'm producing on the foreclosure crisis… … because we can't solve what we don't understand in the first place. CLICK HERE to watch the trailer.

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