Finance

The American Prospect, August 20, 2014

How a Widely Beloved Tax Deduction Really Just Benefits the Well-Off and Exacerbates Inequality

National opinion polls show a majority of Americans support the mortgage interest deduction. Yet most U.S. homeowners receive very little benefit from it.

Dissent, June 23, 2014

Subsidizing Inequality: New York City’s Crooked Development Agenda

Too much of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign against inequality has been spent trying to change New York State law. His most ballyhooed initiatives, such as raising New York City’s income tax on the wealthy and hiking up the minimum wage for the city’s working poor, require a vote by a divided state legislature and a signature from a governor whose recent tepid support for progressive causes appears to hinge on political calculations.

The Nation, March 2012

How to Rehouse the American Dream

Much of the blame for the economic crisis has fallen on Wall Street, whose weapons of mass financial destruction helped inflate the housing bubble. A new exhibit at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream,” goes further by linking the crisis to longer-term trends in housing and urban planning. The exhibit calls into question the American dream of homeownership and the way it has been packaged and sold in the form of a car-dependent, single-family house in the suburbs. Much of this show is based on an inquiry into the foreclosure crisis and the history of suburban sprawl prepared by Columbia University’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture.

The American Banker, May 13, 2011.

Should Mortgage Servicing Data Be a Public Utility?

Why do some mortgage servicers appear to be modifying a great many more loans than others? How many loans are getting principal reduced, rather than interest rate reductions? How many loans in a given neighborhood are more than 30 days late? Answering such questions may be critical to craft effective policy responses to the housing crisis. But it’s hard to get definitive answers, because data on mortgage performance is incomplete and often expensive.

The Nation, October 2011

Why a Mortgage Cramdown Bill the Best Bet to Save the Economy

Many Americans believe that the financial crisis stems from the Bush administration’s running up the federal debt and out-of-control spending by the American consumer. But much of the blame for the country’s current economic woes lies with the Obama administration’s failure to forcefully tackle the biggest threat to the American economy today: the housing crisis.

The Nation, March 31, 2010

With millions of American homes in immediate danger of foreclosure and bank solvency still an issue, time is running out to resolve two incompatible agendas that the Obama administration has pursued since it took office.

The Nation, November 1, 201o

Bank of America Mortgage Settlement Fiasco

Just as the American housing market was starting to recover from its worst battering since the Great Depression, a new scandal, an epidemic of flawed or fraudulent mortgage documents, threatens to send not just the housing market but the entire economy back into a tailspin. As we go to press, forty-nine state attorneys general have announced an investigation of the mortgage-servicing industry, in the wake of decisions by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial’s GMAC and other banks to suspend some foreclosures, and amid demands by some lawmakers for a nationwide moratorium on all foreclosures.

The Nation, December 22, 2009

Stacked Deck Against Homeowners

Homeowners facing foreclosure who have been the victims of fraud have little hope of obtaining justice or financial restitution. That was the message of Lionel Ouellette, executive director of the New York City-based advocacy group Changer. He was speaking to a grim-faced group of about thirty Hispanic and African-American homeowners at a community center in the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York last winter.

The New Republic, August 19, 2009

One Stop, Many Problems

Is Enough Being Done to Help Victims of Predatory Lending Schemes?

Sitting in her lawyer’s office at South Brooklyn Legal Services, her hands folded calmly in her lap, Sandra Barkley describes how she became the first person in her family to buy a home. The 52-year old single mother begins by speaking in a relaxed southern drawl, but as she comes to recount her experiences more fully, her voice rises, and her cool breaks.

Is Enough Being Done to Help Victims of Predatory Lending Schemes?

The New Republic, August 19, 2009

The Pushback

What States are doing to trusts that hold predatory loans

In the wake of the mortgage meltdown, state attorneys general have investigated predatory lending practices and brought major lawsuits against lenders and investment banks that securitized mortgages. Here’s a rundown of the biggest crackdowns and what they’ve achieved.

April 6, 2009, The Gotham Gazette

Homeshops: ‘One Stop on the Road to Foreclosure’

Haydee Sanchez first learned about United Homes of New York in 2001. While riding the F train on her daily commute to her job on the Upper West Side, she saw an advertisement for the company with the slogan: “United Homes -We Make Your Dreams Come True.”

 

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