As the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama is helping homeowners with policies based on his campaign promises that reform lending practices, grant tax cuts and credits, and encourage energy efficiency.
In order to prevent a repeat of our current mortgage crisis and provide homeowners with relief, Obama’s plans include a crackdown on fraudulent brokers and lenders, ensuring that homebuyers have honest and complete information about their mortgage options, and a tax credit for all middle-class homeowners.
- Introduced over a year ago as comprehensive legislation to protect consumers against abusive lending practices and to combat mortgage fraud, Obama’s STOP FRAUD Act marks the first federal definition of mortgage fraud and creates new criminal penalties for mortgage professionals found guilty of fraud, increases funding for federal and state law enforcement programs, and requires industry insiders to report suspicious activity.
- Accurate loan disclosure will be mandated through creation of the Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit (HOME) score, providing borrowers with a simplified and standardized metric (similar to APR) for easy comparison of home mortgage products and clear understanding of a loan’s full cost.
- A current loophole preventing bankruptcy courts from modifying an individual’s mortgage payment plan will be closed.
- A 10 percent universal mortgage credit will be created to provide tax relief to homeowners who don’t itemize. The credit will provide an annual average of $500 in tax savings to 10 million homeowners, the majority of whom earn less than $50,000 per year.
Tax cuts and credits
In addition to enacting a windfall profits tax providing a $1,000 emergency energy rebate to American families, Obama plans to cut income taxes by $1,000 for working families to offset the payroll tax they pay. Provisions for this include a Making Work Pay tax credit of up to $500 per person or $1,000 per working family; elimination of income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000; and simplifying tax filings for middle-class Americans.
Obama’s New Energy for America plan includes the following:
- Setting aggressive energy efficiency goals, and overhauling federal efficiency standards (including those affecting appliances and other consumer products).
- Establishing regulatory equity for utility companies based on improved efficiency, and investing in a smarter grid.
- Cracking down on excessive energy speculation that impacts consumer pricing.
- Ensuring that 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012 and 25 percent by 2025.
- Weatherizing one million homes annually.
- Building more livable and sustainable homeowner communities.
- Developing and deploying clean coal technology.
- Providing safe and secure nuclear energy.
- Releasing oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to cut prices, and swapping light and heavy crude.
- Promoting a plan for responsible domestic production of oil and natural gas.
- Implementing an economy-wide cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Investing in a clean energy economy that provides renewable resources and promotes energy efficiency while creating five million new green jobs.