The most well-known symbol of this failure is the Home Affordable Mortgage Program. HAMP reached only a small fraction of the homeowners it was supposed to reach – and ended up spending only a tiny fraction of the $75 billion it was supposed to spend. (Or $50 billion, depending on how you want to count). ProPublica has run a devastating series on the program and it's well worth reading if, like me, you haven't followed the issue that closely and want to get up to speed.
Is it too late to do more? Maybe not. Jared Bernstein sketched out one idea in TNR today. And reports, like this one from Reuters, suggest the Administration is preparing to announce new assistance for struggling homeowners as early as Monday. I'm guessing we'll hear something about it in the Las Vegas speech.
Again, I'm really not the person to tell you how well, if at all, these initiatives would work. But this much I do know: The administration’s track record on housing is not good. If it doesn’t improve, the foreclosure problem will remain -- putting a drag not only on the economy but also Obama's chances for reelection.
Number of the day: 38 million. That’s the number of wage earners who made less than $10,000 last year – or roughly the population of California, as Derek Thompson reminds us in the Atlantic.
In a related development… Average household wealth in the U.S. does not crack the top ten internationally. Suzy Khimm has the story.
Two square meals a day. Weekend lunches for prisoners are the latest casualty of state budget cuts. Via the New York Times.
Good at business, bad at politics. It’s a pattern, according to Jamelle Bouie of the American Prospect.
Men are not funnier than women. In Slate, Amanda Marcotte breaks down the latest scientific study everybody is misinterpreting. By the way, a visitor to my household could have confirmed this independently: My wife is way funnier than I am, although perhaps that’s faint praise.
Reader comment of the day: In response to my item about the GOP's filibuster of the Obama jobs bill, "wnalpert" has a question:
Why doesn't Harry Reid make them actually filibuster? If the Republican senators were forced to drone on and make a spectacle of themselves, it might just help get a real jobs bill passed.
Good question! Karen Tumulty was on this crusade for a while. Still seems like a good idea to me.
Video dedication of the day: It’s been a busy news week, here and abroad, making me think of this favorite from Carbon Leaf.