In a move that will likely prove to be of only symbolic importance, the House voted to terminate the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The HAMP Termination Act is unlikely to pass the Senate. Even if it does, the Obama administration will likely veto it. The GOP argues that HAMP was an utter failure and should be discontinued. It has not offered a program to replace HAMP. Terminating HAMP would leave many Americans without an alternative to foreclosure. For those opposed to "big government," HAMP's failure is a dream come true. It demonstrates that government is inefficient and cannot get things done. The fact that private loan modifications eclipsed HAMP modifications is clear proof that private business is the driving force behind our nation's success. Or is it? Wasn't HAMP's failure moreso that the government didn't do enough? It created a program with no real carrots or sticks. Banks had no incentive to participate in good faith — they were going to receive their bailout money regardless. The government didn't provide strong enough rules — it issued guidelines. Arguably, HAMP failed not because big government doesn't work, but because our government failed to go big enough. At the end of the day, HAMP has been a failure. It has not helped the millions of Americans it was supposed to help. Some people were worse off after participating in the servicer-led HAMP non-effort. And there's the real problem. We let the fox guard the hen house. We basically let the fox tell the hens that, in order to be protected from the fox, they should leave the front door wide open. And we wonder why HAMP has failed. For those who received loan modifications, HAMP wasn't a failure. For those who bought more time in their homes, HAMP wasn't a failure. However, by allowing banks to run the show, we made HAMP a failure.
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