PERSON OF THE WEEK: More than four years after the 2008 financial crash, the U.S. economy remains fairly weak. For Virgil Brannon, the founder of I Am Vision Inc., a Riverdale, Ga.-based nonprofit youth empowerment and education program, and author of ‘Democratic Coma‘ (published by Book Publishers Network), the problems facing the economy – including the housing market – can be pegged to the misplaced priorities advocated by the federal government. MortgageOrb spoke with Brannon about his distinctive opinions regarding the nation's social, economic and political problems.
Q: More than four years after the 2008 crash, the federal government controls about 90% of the U.S. housing finance market. Why has the government opted to dominate this market rather than work to re-energize the private sector's participation in housing finance?
Brannon: In my book, ‘Democratic Coma,’ I explain how the Democratic Party's control of government is struck, and how they are doing everything they can to control America in all sectors. You see, this government has never had any intention of saving the private sector; their plan is to find ways in which they can downgrade America by attacking those who have helped keep America going – the middle class. When they apply pressure on the private sector by use of threat and action with tax hikes, which essentially trickle down to the working class (middle class) and the poor, America's working class gets destroyed, leading them to poverty with no higher-paying jobs in which to aspire.
The more you attack the job creators – the ones that provide the jobs for the working class – the more it weakens our economy.
Q: In your book, you rail against how the federal government operates entitlement programs, such as welfare and food stamps. Do you see the federal government's mortgage modification and refinancing efforts as being an extension of the entitlement programs?
Brannon: No, they are not the same. Welfare and food stamps are both handouts with voting requirements, but without alternatives to getting claimants off the program or ahead economically. These programs are designed to keep people dependent on those who issue them out; the Democratic Party does nothing to pull the poor out of poverty. Throughout the years, these programs have been used against many families as a tool to sway their votes, pushing the programs on families as an income rather than what it was originally created for – a supplement.
As far as loan modification and refinancing, that is temporary help for hard-working people who have come into some troubled times and who want to do better for themselves. Most of these people are victims who were caught in a bad loan or an upside property struggle, created mostly by bad policies.
Q: But why has the GOP leadership in Congress been mostly silent about this situation, especially in regard to the state of federal housing finance policies?
Brannon: When the media and two out of three branches of government are controlled and run by Democrats, the GOP does not stand a chance. It's almost impossible for the GOP to lead when it has almost no power.
Q: What can be done in the next two to four years to reverse the culture of federal entitlements and encourage individual responsibility?
Brannon: In my book, I also explain what needs to happen in the coming years to cure this nightmare. First, the poor communities have to be educated on how entitlements work and how it has hindered their growth and robs their dreams. They need to be shown that there are plenty of opportunities for them to succeed when they are willing to face their problems head on.
However, there must also be changes on our part. We have to be willing to show people how to recognize opportunity and be proactive about getting them the right information.
Furthermore, education needs to be reformed. Anytime you have a large percentage of youth graduating from high school that are not able to read and speak on a college-ready level, there is certainly something wrong with that picture. In chapter three of the book, I detail just what the poor have been going through and explain what they can do to get themselves out of this educational trap – they must be given the right amount of information, so that they can make better choices. When people know better, they do better.