Friday, September 02, 2011

A point I wish I had made to NPR

I just finished taping an interview with Robert Siegel on finding our way out of the housing crisis.  I agreed with Elizabeth Duke about the need to blow out second liens, and with the Hubbard-Mayer-Gross plan to allow current underwater borrowers to refinance easily.

My contribution was that we needed to perform a kind of triage--that places that had massive house price declines and have very high unemployment (i.e., Miami, Las Vegas, Fresno) should get debt relief, lest it take forever for them to recover.  What I didn't say (and I wish I had) is that one way or another, many loans in these places will fail, because it will be nearly impossible for borrowers to get above water.  We might as well take the pain of the write-offs now, rather than have zombie-loans hanging around. 

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