2012 GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney unveiled his economic plan this week, with the promise that his plan has “the potential to revitalize our economy and to reignite the job-creating engine of the United States.” (As we’ve noted, Romney’s plan would actually result in huge tax cuts for the rich and corporations that would cause the deficit to explode.)
Romney unveiled his jobs plan in Nevada, the state that was arguably hardest hit by the implosion of the housing bubble. In July, one in every 115 homes in Nevada received a foreclosure notice. However, as the Las Vegas Sun’s J. Patrick Coolihan noted, Romney completely failed to address this critical part of the nation’s economic problem:
Conspicuously absent from the Romney plan is anything about housing. Construction spending has led us out of just about every recession since World War II. But because there was so much overbuilding — especially in Las Vegas — construction is dormant. And because nationally there are 4 million mortgages seriously delinquent or in foreclosure, construction will remain flat for years. Romney has nothing to say about this.
Indeed, Romney never mentioned housing or foreclosures during his speech, and makes only a passing reference to “millions of homes [that] have been lost to foreclosure” in his economic plan document, without suggesting any remedy.
The fact remains that 1 million homeowners are expected to go into foreclosure this year, producing a serious drag on the economy. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech today, “the housing sector has been a significant driver of recovery from most recessions in the United States since World War II, but this time — with an overhang of distressed and foreclosed properties, tight credit conditions for builders and potential homebuyers, and ongoing concerns by both potential borrowers and lenders about continued house price declines — the rate of new home construction has remained at less than one-third of its pre-crisis peak.”
Thus far, federal anti-foreclosure programs have been woefully inadequate to the scale of the problem, leading to a glut of properties on the books of banks and dragging down home values for entire neighborhoods. Yet Romney delivered a speech at the housing crisis’ epicenter and managed to suggest no remedies at all.