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Department of "Huh?!": HAMP Edition

Tracy Alloway:

Moving targets, US housing edition: If at first you don’t succeed . . . move the goal-posts. In the grand tradition of stimulus policy gone wrong, that seems to be just what the US Treasury has done in relation to its Hamp mortgage modification programme. Via Mike Konczal over at Rortybomb, who attended one of the blogger-meets at the Treasury last week:

They are sticking by HAMP. The narrative seemed to change from helping homeowners to spacing out the foreclosures. I asked them to repeat it, because the idea that billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to smooth out foreclosures for banks struck me as new narrative – it’s explicitly extend-and-pretend, and also fairly cynical.

For sure the narrative has changed, given that the March 2009 press release announcing details of Hamp carried the headline: “Relief for Responsible Homeowners One Step Closer Under New Treasury Guidelines.” Not relief for banks, or stalling foreclosures — but for homeowners.