Leading Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney laid out his prescription for America’s housing crisis while campaigning in Nevada last month, saying policy makers shouldn’t “try and stop the foreclosure process.” “Let it run its course and hit the bottom,” he said. In the state with the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, that earned Romney a strong rebuke from Gov. Brian Sandoval (R).
A few weeks later, at a GOP debate hosted by CNBC, Romney again declared that as president, he would do nothing to ease the housing crisis. “Markets work,” Romney proclaimed.
But while Romney doesn’t think the government has a role in fixing the housing crisis, his campaign’s first advertisement specifically lays the blame for “record home foreclosures” at the feet of President Obama, as seen in this screenshot taken from the ad:
This isn’t the first time Romney has whiffed in trying to ascribe blame for the housing crisis. At the CNBC debate, he blamed government lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for sparking the crisis, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Private sector lenders issued more than 84 percent of the subprime loans that were the root cause of the mortgage industry’s problems, including 83 percent of the loans that went to low- and middle-income borrowers. Those private lenders, not President Obama or government agencies, were also at the center of the discriminatory loan processes that caused the housing crash to disproportionately affect low-income and minority borrowers.
The housing crisis remains a serious drag on the country’s economy. American homes have lost $7 trillion in value since 2006, four million borrowers are either delinquent or in foreclosure, and a quarter of homeowners are underwater. Romney, however, continues to either misunderstand or willfully ignore both the causes and effects of the crisis, opting for misguided political hits instead of addressing the fact that his “hit the bottom” strategy will only deepen the crisis that is holding back our nation’s economic recovery.