Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beshear's "Help" for Foreclosure Victims Falls Far Short

It's really sweet when the watchdog who sat by and let the house invaders break in and terrorize your family turns up later to lick your face and comfort you.

We're so grateful that Kentucky state government, which failed to enact laws and regulations to prevent predatory lenders from stealing people's homes, is licking our faces with a program of free credit counseling to people on the verge of foreclosure.

Every homeowner who contacts the Protection Center through the Web site at www.ProtectMyKYHome.org or through the toll-free number at (866) 830-7868 will be referred to a counseling agency serving their area that will assist those homeowners in default or in danger of defaulting on their mortgage loan.

“The Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center provides a central location for all information pertaining to affordable housing in Kentucky,” said Governor Beshear. “While the nation faces a crisis in the housing industry, my administration is working tirelessly to help Kentucky homeowners who are affected by these tough economic times remain in their homes.”

Translation: My administration is working tirelessly to throw sand in voters' eyes and prevent them from seeing how eagerly and thoroughly I kiss lobbyist ass.

(More after the jump.)

This "program" is akin to providing free counseling for victims of rape and child abuse while allowing rapists and child abusers to roam free and attack new victims.

As The Nation explained in its superb cover story, the culprit in the vast majority of foreclosures nationwide is the greedy, unregulated lenders who lied and tricked homeowners into booby-trap loans that later exploded into disaster.

The Nation also uncovered the story of how strong state legislation in Georgia that prevented criminal lenders from operating was repealed under enormous pressure from predators like Ameriquest.

State Senator Vincent Fort pads around the Georgia Capitol with the wan look of a man who knows where the bodies are buried. Fort, who represents the tract of Atlanta that's been hardest hit by foreclosures, saw the crisis coming. He wrote and managed to pass a law that would have averted the whole mess--if financial industry lobbyists hadn't flooded Georgia and got it repealed a year later. Now he's relegated to the role of gadfly, resubmitting the prescient bill each session and getting nowhere. Sitting in his office after the close of this winter's session, he rocks back and laughs at it all: "It's like getting pickpocketed at eighty miles an hour."

That's what Governor Beshear should be doing now: demanding legislation that stops predatory lending.

But as he made his millions in private practice by doing the exact opposite - defending and protecting predatory lenders - we won't hold our breath.

Cross-posted a Blue in the Bluegrass.