By Matt Smith
Why did President Barack Obama only schedule meetings this week with West Coast fat cats such as John Doerr and Steve Jobs, when he could be conversing with the people who need him the most: The poor and middle-class who helped vote him into office?
“Obama’s not going to fix anything by spending time with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook,” said Orson Aguilar, executive director of The Greenlining Institute, a poverty relief group. “If you care about the economy and jobs, you should be spending time with people that need them.”
Aguilar had special scorn for Obama’s failed Making Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The U.S. president once touted HAMP as a way to keep people in houses with under-water mortgages by encouraging banks to rewrite loans to reflect depressed housing values.
Yet the president has seemingly let the program wither on the vine, as more than 600,000 people have been ejected from the program after getting the runaround. Today the comptroller of the currency told Congress that, in spite of the HAMP program, banks and loan servicers had violated state and federal laws, regulations, and rules by rushing to foreclose on homeowners.
Violations also included mishandling loan modification applications, a cornerstone of Obama’s supposed economic relief strategy. Banks and lenders are only expected to receive modest fines, according to media reports.
“For him to soley be spending time with billionaires in somebody’s mansion is insulting to the person who can’t get a job, is underworked, severely underwater in his house, and banks are not working with him to allow him to stay in his home,” Aguilar said.