Although President Obama and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney have mostly avoided addressing housing issues during their respective campaigns, another presidential candidate has launched an assault against the federal housing finance system, with vows to break up the ‘too big to fail’ banks and end the foreclosure process.
In an op-ed column published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein decried the federal response to the problems within the financial services industry.
‘The financiers who have engaged in predatory lending, deceptive sales practices, forgery, illegal robo-signing and many other deceitful tactics have been treated gently by the law,’ Stein wrote. ‘Instead of going to jail or being ordered to return their ill-gotten profits, they got massive bailouts from the Bush and Obama administrations. It took $189 billion just to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in business.’
Stein, a Massachusetts-based physician, accused the financial services industry of enjoying a crony relationship with Washington's lawmakers.
‘When our laws are unfair, we are told we should ask our legislators to reform them,’ she continued. ‘Well, we have asked – and we have discovered that our legislators are under the thumb of the financiers. They play golf with the financiers, they allow the financiers' lobbyists to write legislation and they take jobs with the financiers when they leave office. Because of this, they have little interest in making the laws fairer to regular people.’
Stein added the banks that were considered too big to fail are now ‘bigger than ever, thanks to massive bailouts funded by taxpayers.’ She offered what she called a ‘Green New Deal’ that would ‘break up those banks and replace them with public banks whose mission is to help people, not exploit them.’
She also argued against ‘unjust evictions by Fannie Mae, as well as the eight million other families who have faced foreclosure at the hands of Wall Street’ and vowed that, if elected, she would ‘order an end to home foreclosures.’
Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, attracted media attention earlier this month when they were arrested during a protest rally at the Philadelphia regional office of Fannie Mae. The Green Party's presidential slate is currently on the ballot in 29 states and the District of Columbia.