Obama WH cuts community organizers out of housing panel

posted at 3:35 pm on August 13, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Not long ago, I noted that the Obama administration had started sending signals that a long-overdue sea change in housing policy may come soon, one that de-emphasizes home ownership over affordable rentals for those who cannot afford to buy using market-based lending terms.  Some rightly took skeptical positions, noting that Barack Obama’s history as a community organizer made groups that rely on government interventions for their income too close to the Oval Office to have Washington suddenly take a free-market approach to Fannie/Freddie and housing reforms.  However close community organizers felt to Obama, though, the Washington Post reports today that they find themselves on the outside without a seat at the table where the new policies will develop — and that they’re not keeping quiet about the betrayal:

Affordable-housing advocates raised concerns Thursday that the Obama administration is excluding consumer and community groups from playing prominent roles in a government-sponsored conference next week that will kick off efforts to overhaul national housing policy.

After the administration announced the 12 panelists for Tuesday’s conference, the nonprofit National Community Reinvestment Coalition said consumer and community groups had been “muscled out” by financial companies, economists and academics without a sense of how housing policy plays out in communities.

“Apparently being a community organizer qualifies you to be president, but it’s not good enough to be part of HUD and Treasury’s think tank on housing,” said NCRC chief executive John Taylor, whose group works with hundreds of community organizations to promote access to financial services for low- and middle-income people.

Taylor and others claim that lenders and academics don’t see how housing policies play out in communities, but it’s not that difficult to figure out.  Inflating housing bubbles by forcing or incentivizing overreliance on subprime loans clearly hasn’t worked out well for most communities; we now have a foreclosure crisis, thanks to people overextending themselves on overvalued homes.  The government interventions of the past twelve years have created crisis and instability, and it doesn’t take a community organizer to see that.

Many of these groups stand to lose if the federal government stops attempting social engineering projects through lending markets.  ACORN and other such groups got billions of dollars from HUD to offer assistance to buyers, allowing them to also conduct other kinds of community organizing in politics and campaigns.  That’s one reason people remained skeptical that Obama would actually dump the kind of interventions that created a Democratic Party foot brigade based on federal funding.

Cutting out the community organizers could mean one of two outcomes.  Either Obama is serious about recalibrating HUD’s mission towards low-income rentals and away from distorting lending markets to push ownership where the economics simply don’t support it, or this process is just a beard to continue the status quo by claiming that the White House did its due diligence in checking out all of the possibilities.  I’d say it’s a tossup — remember that rental-assistance programs can just as easily put money into community-organizing coffers, although perhaps not to the same extent — and that if Obama’s serious about real change, he’ll deserve a lot of credit for it.


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Consider Obama’s MO.

Can you point to anything that would indicate he’s serious about changing his governing philosophy about anything?

Nope.

It’s a beard.

INC on August 13, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Sumpin ain`t right,the WH must be in a Bermuda style
Triangle,first there Transparency Czar gets tossed
under da bus,and now this!!

canopfor on August 13, 2010 at 3:39 PM

I luv that picture of Obooba, shirt sleeves rolled up, collar open, showing how hard he’s working for the American people.

Akzed on August 13, 2010 at 3:40 PM

They really do think we are stupid…

d1carter on August 13, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Obama has organized the whole damn country…ain’t no need for no community organizn’

BigWyo on August 13, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Blah blah blah blah blah… Go Barack Obama! UCH!!!!!!!!!!!!

SayNo2-O on August 13, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Maybe he’s just afraid of embarrassments like the 350k salary public housing czar of Philadelphia who’s now in foreclosure on his 600k pad.

forest on August 13, 2010 at 3:41 PM

It should be obvious that Obama wants to provide everything you need, food, shelter, employment, *everything*. You just have to apply for it at one of Obama’s Party Offices.

Everything you need, you get it from Obama.

Skandia Recluse on August 13, 2010 at 3:42 PM

“What they talkin bout? I never heard of ACORN” Luv bho

BobK on August 13, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Obama has the big Rammy damm dinner tonight. Peace loving terrorists start their 30 day hate festival.
They are organizers.
Obama can say anything since his “transparency” czar is under da bus.

seven on August 13, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Having pushed as much of their radical agenda through congress as they can, they’re now trying to reposition themselves as moderates so that their losses won’t be so severe come November. They’re hoping to retain enough congressional seats to block Republican roll-backs.

NNtrancer on August 13, 2010 at 3:44 PM

OT: Here is the saddest thing you’ll here all year.

Man dies while donating part of liver to brother.

portlandon on August 13, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Cutting out the community organizers could mean one of two outcomes. Either Obama is serious about recalibrating HUD’s mission towards low-income rentals and away from distorting lending markets to push ownership where the economics simply don’t support it, or this process is just a beard to continue the status quo by claiming that the White House did its due diligence in checking out all of the possibilities.

I’m leaning toward 2. Just based on the way Obama operates.

AUINSC on August 13, 2010 at 3:46 PM

I would think that even Mr. Obama would have a hard time selling “affordable housing” with house prices and interest rates at all time lows (practically unheard of) and unemployment also in record breaking territory. I hope he is no longer president before he can start pushing policies that got us to where we are today.

Cindy Munford on August 13, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Well, if we’ve learned anything in the past 2 years, it’s that community organizers shouldn’t be involved in important decisions.

lorien1973 on August 13, 2010 at 3:50 PM

portlandon on August 13, 2010 at 3:46 PM

You are right, it is indeed very very sad.

Cindy Munford on August 13, 2010 at 3:51 PM

they find themselves on the outside without a seat at the table where the new policies will develop

That’s silly. At the head of the table is someone who is already speaking for them.

ButterflyDragon on August 13, 2010 at 3:51 PM

“Apparently being a community organizer qualifies you to be president,

No, it doesn’t. And many stupid American voters are finding that out the hard way.

AZCoyote on August 13, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Bermuda style Triangle!!

canopfor on August 13, 2010 at 3:39 PM

ROTF
Damn….you’ve been on a roll the past 2 days.

lilspitfire on August 13, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Obama WH cuts community organizers out of housing panel

Can’t blame Obama for that. He knows from personal experience that being a community organizer doesn’t in any way prepare you for any real job that requires thinking, decision making and responsibility, though it’s great to improve your golfing and basketball skills. :(

poxoma on August 13, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Baby steps. The rush to triangulation has to start somewhere. Next thing you know, he’ll start talkin’ tuff to Iran, and decide KSM should be tried by military tribunal at Gitmo. Run, Barry, run. Meanwhile, Hillary smiles and fluffs her hair.

a capella on August 13, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Well, if we’ve learned anything in the past 2 years, it’s that community organizers shouldn’t be involved in important decisions.

lorien1973 on August 13, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Boy you got dat right.

NJ Red on August 13, 2010 at 3:54 PM

I’m buying this. Looks a lot like, “Drop the radical pose, for the radical ends.”

indy8 on August 13, 2010 at 3:55 PM

and thank you Van Jones for the heads up on that “Drop the radical pose” tidbit.

indy8 on August 13, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Well, if we’ve learned anything in the past 2 years, it’s that community organizers shouldn’t be involved in important decisions.

lorien1973 on August 13, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Why is the Federal government involved in housing?

marinetbryant on August 13, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Here’s what is going to happen…See the near riot in Atlanta over just housing applications? Someone is going to stand up…housing is a right…we have all these thousands of homes sitting empty…Government is going to take them over and turn them into Section 8 housing. Letting the moochers in will give them a sense of self worth.

Our destruction will be complete…

Larr – USN (RET)

Larr on August 13, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Those homes with underwater mortgages that Fannie Mae will eventually foreclose on? Future section 8 housing.

agmartin on August 13, 2010 at 4:01 PM

I hang my head in shame at this article. Words. Fail.

faraway on August 13, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Inflating housing bubbles by forcing or incentivizing overreliance on subprime loans clearly hasn’t worked out well for most communities; we now have a foreclosure crisis, thanks to people overextending themselves on overvalued homes. The government interventions of the past twelve years have created crisis and instability, and it doesn’t take a community organizer to see that.

Isn’t that what John McCain told us in 2005? Why didn’t people remember than in 2008?

Many of these groups stand to lose if the federal government stops attempting social engineering projects through lending markets. ACORN and other such groups got billions of dollars from HUD to offer assistance to buyers, allowing them to also conduct other kinds of community organizing in politics and campaigns.

Maybe their promoting brothels for Ecuadorian girls didn’t look good for the O-ganizah.

Steve Z on August 13, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Obama: I am the Community Organizer in Chief

BobMbx on August 13, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Why is the Federal government involved in housing?

marinetbryant on August 13, 2010 at 3:57 PM

They own the banks, the car companies, tell us what food to eat, which doctor we can see, what medicine we’re entitled to, how much water our toilets can use….

Housing is the gubbamints next acquisition. And everyone thought GE had a monopoly on growth through acquisition.

BobMbx on August 13, 2010 at 4:07 PM

I’m leaning toward 2. Just based on the way Obama operates.

AUINSC on August 13, 2010 at 3:46 PM

ditto…looking out for #1…

cmsinaz on August 13, 2010 at 4:08 PM

WTF?!!!! you can believe in!

pilamaye on August 13, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Why is the Federal government involved in housing?

marinetbryant on August 13, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Commerce clause?

lorien1973 on August 13, 2010 at 4:13 PM

I’ve traded dozens of emails today on this. It’s totally hilarious. One of the reasons Fannie and Freddie went down was because they had become little more than giant, unregulated slush funds sending money to these “community groups” that was never fully accounted for. This is in addition to the bad CRA and affordable loans they bought. These have been squealing for a while that their gravy train was derailed.

It seems clear that this panel is being rigged to conclude that Fannie and Freddie have to be wound down as quickly as possible. The panelists are all grownups who know what they are talking about and should, actually get some serious work done. The NCRC and its sister groups don’t want that at all. They wanted a platfornm to whine some more about lending discrimination and demand more hush money.

Good for Tim Geithner on this one!

rockmom on August 13, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Yep, it’s just not possible that he has learned anything. There’s a new Occam for Bammie, -when faced with multiple explanations for an action, the most likely is that which is the most socialist in nature.

slickwillie2001 on August 13, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Why is the Federal government involved in housing?

marinetbryant on August 13, 2010 at 3:57 PM

A lot of banks and mortgage lenders got very fat and happy while they shoved off their bad loans and credit risk onto Fannie and Freddie. It was a lot of mutual back-scratching that benefited everyone but the taxpayer. But this model only worked as long as home prices went up. They may not go up appreciably for years, so the government needs a way out to keep from hemorrhaging even more dollars on loan losses.

The people at Treasury know what kind of morass they took over at Fannie and Freddie. They don’t want any part of it. The Mortgage Bankers Association actually has a very good proposal to create several competitive private mortgage conduits with private insurers to back them up. This would provide competition and insurance as the primary regulatory forces that would act against another spiraling down of lending standards. I expect to see something similar come out of this conference.

rockmom on August 13, 2010 at 4:19 PM

“All housing is affordable by someone, no housing is affordable by everyone.” – Unknown or Me :-)

Dasher on August 13, 2010 at 4:20 PM

GET RID OF THE FREAKIN’ CZARS!

CynicalOptimist on August 13, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Fannie and Freddie have each lost 99 percent of their market value since the financial crisis began. Both GSE’s would be in bankruptcy court had they not been propped up by the US taxpayers to the toon of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Dasher on August 13, 2010 at 4:23 PM

i’m way dubious on this report…in fact i think that Frank et al. have started the process to continue the everyone has a right to a house policy

there’s a lot of people (homebuilders, mortgage brokers) who love this stuff.

They might increase the number of section 8 vouchers that will pay for rent in houses. there’s always a taste for spreading the poor into middle class housing areas.

r keller on August 13, 2010 at 4:24 PM

“Apparently being a community organizer qualifies you to be president, but it’s not good enough to be part of HUD and Treasury’s think tank on housing,” said NCRC chief executive John Taylor

That’s going to leave a mark…..

UltimateBob on August 13, 2010 at 4:27 PM

The inside joke among racists and cynics.

So a community orgenizer stabs other guys like himself in the back after he uses them and rises up.

Huh? What’s the big deal? You think it is worse than taking payoffs froma guy who built shacks for the poor to live in? How about the fact that you are surrounded by thieves who harmed the blacks in Chicago?

Then you promise Hope and Change!

Stalin and Hitler did stuff like this all the time. They would use desperate and dedicated like kleenex.

The joke is that blacks and whites believe in leaders like him, time after time.

IlikedAUH2O on August 13, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Academics and bureaucrats got us the lovely, corrupt system for home mortgages that we now have. What lovely idea that doesn’t work and causes misery can they foist on us next?

National Rent Control!

Yeah, that’s the ticket… never doubt the damage a bunch of academics and bureaucrats can do when they seek to ‘fix’ things. The housing market used to be very simple, conservative and home values went up slowly over decades before the government got involved to ‘securitize’ mortgages and destroy that system. I’m sure they have something similar in mind for rental units for the poor… start small and work your way up to everyone… because rent control for the poor is so very good, no?

ajacksonian on August 13, 2010 at 4:31 PM

After the administration announced the 12 panelists for Tuesday’s conference, the nonprofit National Community Reinvestment Coalition said consumer and community groups had been “muscled out” by financial companies, economists and academics without a sense of how housing policy plays out in communities.

To me, this looks like The One moving back into his personal “comfort zone”. He’s surrounding himself with academics (economists fall into that category), most if not all of whom he can be sure share his worldview.

Now, consider that the new round of “stimulus” spending includes money for studies on “urbanization”, specifically getting people out of individual homes and into “mass developments”, the present code-word for “housing projects” (think Cabrini Green). This has been the ideological be-all and end-all of the “progressive” crowd going back to the 1920s (read From Bauhaus To Our House by Tom Wolfe for the gory details). They like the idea of “worker housing”, even or especially if it’s housing for people who don’t actually “work”.

The most probable outcome of this is going to be new “projects” springing up everywhere, just as they did during LBJ’s “Great Society”, with all the attendant problems. It’s the old “It Can’t Possibly Fail This Time Because We’re So Much Smarter Than The Last Bunch Who Tried It” shtick that progressives do. Over and over again. (Notice I didn’t say they do it well, because they don’t.)

As for the financial institutions, their presence is sort of like being a local businessman at a Chicago Democrat Party “fundraiser”. I.e., “You’re paying for this. Now, you got two choices how. Do it now, or do it after we break your f’n kneecaps. Your call.”

Of course, the financial institutions will be doing it with their depositors’ money (meaning yours and mine), but hey, that’s the Chicago Way.

My guess is, they’ll still be paying when the new projects are torn down, just like the ones LBJ put up were twenty-odd years ago.

If you live in a big city, now might be a good time to move out.

clear ether

eon

eon on August 13, 2010 at 4:33 PM

They might increase the number of section 8 vouchers that will pay for rent in houses. there’s always a taste for spreading the poor into middle class housing areas.

r keller on August 13, 2010 at 4:24 PM

Ya mean hes’ gonna put his million man, stronger than the US military army right in our neighborhoods?

Dang I thought I was gonna have to go hunt em down.
This is gonna be easier than Hillarys’ “Sleezy” Button!

Won’t ever have to waste gas to go find em!

dhunter on August 13, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Good choice by President Obama. I’m sure he’ll take heat for it.

I lack confidence that it will make much difference, since most of Obama’s appointees will have opinions that mirror those of the organizers. But at least this gives me HOPE that he can make a wise choice.

hawksruleva on August 13, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Why do we even have a national housing policy? Is housing a federal issue? Should it be?

onlineanalyst on August 13, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Yeah, their upset. Just FOLLOW THE MONEY.

GarandFan on August 13, 2010 at 5:01 PM

They might increase the number of section 8 vouchers that will pay for rent in houses. there’s always a taste for spreading the poor into middle class housing areas.

r keller on August 13, 2010 at 4:24 PM

Let’s make all of our neighborhoods into an Algred Gardens, right, Valerie Jarrett?

onlineanalyst on August 13, 2010 at 5:09 PM

I too have no use for community organizers. All they do is steal other people’s money. Sheep need a shephard, but wolves do not. I’d rather be a wolf than a lamb because lambs are better eating ands wolves have more fun.

saiga on August 13, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Apparently being a community organizer qualifies you to be president, but it’s not good enough to be part of HUD and Treasury’s think tank on housing,” said NCRC chief executive John Taylor, whose group works with hundreds of community organizations to promote access to financial services for low- and middle-income people.

Says who?

BuckeyeSam on August 13, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Apparently being a community organizer qualifies you to be president…

Yes, apparently. *barf*

KS Rex on August 13, 2010 at 5:47 PM

They mentioned only two “affordable housing advocates” in the Post article:
1. The unintentionally insightful doofus who said “Apparently being a community organizer qualifies you to be president”,
and
2. Janis Bowdler, deputy director of the wealth-building program at the National Council of La Raza.

It’s pure Schadenfreude (sp?) to see these shills get shut out by their demi-god.

PS – La Raza has a wealth-building program? Hmmmm…

KS Rex on August 13, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Yeah, right. Communisty organizers still have their hands in government pockets. Even if they aren’t at the table, they’re telling many of the participants what to eat and when to eat it. When the next crisis hits, BO will be able to distance himself. Perhaps the crisis has gotten worse than even the crack mainstream media has been able to uncover and they’re all going to be running for cover.

ClanDerson on August 13, 2010 at 6:58 PM

NO BULLHORNS ALLOWED! Outside Of Their Conference Rooms.

That’s when I’ll Believe that The Blessed One’s Brethren have been cut out of his housing panel meets, and greets, and tweets and…but Not Before Then.

Teddy on August 14, 2010 at 5:36 AM