Foreclosures vs. Fallopian Tubes
In the course of the Republican presidential primary campaign, there have been several bold and intriguing ideas on how to reshape housing finance. Newt Gingrich was the first out of the gate last fall by declaring that he would repeal the Dodd-Frank Act. Mitt Romney later followed by saying he would repeal the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Ron Paul moved beyond mere legislation repeal with a promise to shut down the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
And Rick Santorum? Well, he wants to repeal Roe v. Wade. Or, at least, that appears to be what he is more interested in talking about.
In the past few weeks, Santorum has successfully shifted the focus of the Republican presidential campaign - and, by extension, the wider political debate - to discussions relating to abortion, contraception and birth control. Who could have guessed that a political race that was originally pegged to center on economics would evolve into a raucous conversation on OB-GYN issues?
I should backtrack a bit and concede that I am being a bit facetious in regard to Santorum’s housing reform position. According to his campaign website, he has a solution to the problems facing the housing crisis. This is his strategy, verbatim: “I’ll submit a plan to Congress to phase out, within several years, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s federal housing role, reform and make transparent the Federal Reserve, and allow families whose homes are ‘underwater’ to deduct losses from the sale of their home in order to better get a fresh start in difficult economic times.”
And that’s the Santorum housing market recovery plan, in the proverbial nutshell! What is unsettling is realizing that single sentence was the 10th out of 10 entries in Santorum’s Web page entitled “First 100 Days Economic Freedom Agenda.” The fact that it was last on the list, I fear, makes the issue of housing market recovery the least important of the candidate’s priorities.
In comparison, Santorum has a full page on his campaign website pledging to vigorously crack down on “illegal pornography.” And, not surprisingly, there is an even longer page in which the former Pennsylvania senator details his “Record on Defending the Dignity of Every Human Life.”
Call me a hedonistic libertine, but I somehow suspect that pornography (illegal, legal or somewhere in between) poses much less of a problem to American society than having anywhere from 1 million to 7 million homes in the shadow inventory or having the courts backed up for years with foreclosure lawsuits.