What Should President Obama Do First?

President Barack Obama
AP
President Barack Obama

I've been standing on Constitution Avenue since about 4AM, thinking about what our new President will do for America's battered housing market once he moves into HIS new house.

Apparently a lot of others are thinking the same.

As I waded into the crowd with our minicam, my first question to each reveler I stopped was: "What should President Obama do first?" Hands down the answers were, “Stop the job losses and help us pay our mortgages.” Of course the two are intertwined.

So far the Obama plan appears to be to leave the housing mess to Congress and the bills already being floated to either have bankruptcy judges modify loans or use TARP money to buy and then modify loans.

His huge economic plan has no mortgage rescue component.

But one man I spoke with who bought his home just a year ago said, "I hope he pays attention to the folks who ARE paying their loans on time, who are doing all they can to be responsible with their finances."

Given the huge scope of the housing crisis, and its devastating effect on the credit markets and the greater economy, a bailout has become a necessary evil. While many people will lose their homes, some people will inevitably be rewarded for their fiscal irresponsibility.

There is a lot of hope on this National Mall today, a lot of faith in one man to suddenly make our economy right again.

I personally hope that the solutions in housing don't wipe away the hard lessons of the last few years, that they make things right while instilling a clear sense of what went wrong. So many Americans forgot that a home, while a solid long term investment, is first and foremost a place to hang your hat, not a pricey gamble where you can lose your shirt.

Let the solution teach the lesson: Never again.

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