President Obama yesterday unveiled an overhaul of the Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP), in an attempt to find ways to boost the economy that don’t require congressional action. HARP was meant to help up to 5 million homeowners take advantage of low interest rates and refinance their mortgages, but so far has been a bit of a dud, reaching just 800,000 borrowers.
The plan was based, in part, on ideas promulgated by Columbia University economist Glenn Hubbard, who used to be a member of President George H.W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. And according to the Wall Street Journal, Hubbard thinks the plan could be “a big deal“:
The president’s latest refinancing plan was based in part on a proposal by R. Glenn Hubbard, Columbia University’s business-school dean and a senior economic adviser to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.
If the president’s effort “is the mass refinancing we suggest, it could be a very big deal,” Mr. Hubbard said in an interview Monday.
Hubbard told NPR, “It looks like a good plan; I’m glad they’re doing it.” But Hubbard also has a different role these days: leading the Economic Policy Team for the campaign of 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
Romney last week said that the government has no role in trying to prevent foreclosures, telling the editorial board of the Las Vegal Review-Journal that government should not try to stop the foreclosure process. However, Romney did add that “I think the idea of helping people refinance homes to stay in them is one that’s worth further consideration.” So will he follow Hubbard into supporting Obama’s plan?