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Fed Rate Cut Leaves Little For Homeowners To Smile About


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The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point yesterday as part of another attempt to hold up the financial institutions on Wall Street from further speculation worries. The stock market took some confidence from the move and posted the largest one day gain on the Dow Jones index for quite some time. But as far as struggling home-owners are concerned, the rate cut has done little to ease pressure on their burden. In fact, by cutting interest rates and further weakening the dollar, the Fed had invited higher oil prices, increasing energy and transport costs at a time when most households are already feeling the pinch.

The rate cut which is the third in as many weeks follows the collapse of Bear Stearns, who were eventually bailed out and purchased by JP Morgan for the sum of $2 a share. Bear Stearns had been trading a year ago at nearly $150 dollars a share and fell victim to a run on their shares following rumours over their exposure to the sub-prime mortgage market and the extent of the losses they may have suffered.

The positives from this story are that the Federal Reserve was able to move quickly to back the takeover, helping to minimize the loss of confidence in the general banking sector. The negatives however, which will effect more on the average blue collar worker in America through the imported inflation that the lower dollar will bring, seems to reflect more on the political view of the current administration, who will bend over backwards to prop up the corporations at the expense of the man in the street.

And when your stoic republican points towards the tax rebate that is about to be delivered to every household, as an indication of what the government is doing for the average American in this time of need, don't be fooled. The maximum $800 dollars rebate is more of a cynical move to help prop up the employment market before a presidential election than it is designed to combat higher gas, food and energy costs.

If the administration wanted to do more to help those affected by the current mortgage crisis they could start by suspending the ability of the banks to foreclose on homeowners by auto-computer programs. A large problem with the mortgage lenders at the moment is that they have out-sourced their administration to companies who are ill equipped or poorly trained to deal with the problems that are arising. These outsourcing companies never foresaw the numbers of cases that they would be dealing with and computerized most of their procedures to cut costs. What has resulted is computerized foreclosure, without consultation and where consultation occurs, it may already be too late to achieve a positive result.

If each case was required to be reviewed independently, it could be determined whether it was sold incorrectly to begin with and where possible it could be re-written so that those home-owners who were never going to be able to afford the true cost and were effectively swindled, could refinance under terms they may allow them to keep their home. This would, of course, create a back-up of cases, but this effective delay in foreclosing on peoples homes maybe the delay required to unravel the truths behind the companies that made billions of dollars profit from those who could least afford it.
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