My inbox is overflowing with statements. Here's a taste:
John Berlau, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Entrepreneurship: "Like all so-called five-year plans, the five-year interest rate freeze by its design would pretty much have only negative effects and worsen the credit slowdown. While apparently no taxpayer dollars are directly involved (at least not yet), by pressuring the rewrite of millions of mortgage contracts, the Paulson plan could have even greater costs on the economy as well as future aspiring homeowners than even a direct taxpayer bailout. The credit market depends on the sanctity of contracts for everything from the financing of mortgages to new small businesses. But if regulators can negate contracts anytime there is a problem, much of this credit could dry up."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: "I came to the floor to say positive things about the President’s actions to help as many as 200,000 people. That’s what their efforts today – he and Secretary Paulson’s efforts today – will help: about 200,000 people. That’s about 10 percent of the people in real trouble. Is that enough? Of course it’s not enough, but it’s a step in the right direction."
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland: “The President’s plan will help only one small group of the millions of families who are in danger of losing their homes, leaving the remaining 80 percent of people—many of whom are minorities—literally out in the cold. We need to enact a permanent solution that will help everyone who is struggling through this crisis—not just a five year plan assisting a select few."
Sen. Hillary Clinton: "I have announced a comprehensive plan that will actually end the foreclosure crisis. My plan imposes an immediate moratorium on foreclosures; an automatic, across-the-board rate freeze; and the requirement that servicers and lenders provide status reports on how many mortgages they are converting from designed-to-fail to designed-to-work. The foreclosure moratorium ensures that families will not lose their homes while servicers put the systems in place to implement the rate freeze as well as the large-scale modification of loans."
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Sheila C. Bair: "In many cases, it will make sense to extend the modification for a longer period and that is allowed by today's agreement. Investors benefit by receiving a steady stream of income rather than incurring the greater losses from foreclosing on a home. Communities and neighborhoods benefit by allowing people to maintain stakes and a vested interest in the areas where they live."
Edward L. Yingling, president and chief executive of the American Bankers Association: "We appreciate the Bush administration for its efforts in bringing together private sector players to develop a mechanism to modify mortgage loans to certain ‘at risk’ borrowers. The plan appropriately focuses on those who are current in their financial obligations but will be unable to meet reset-rate payments. Doing this will not only reduce foreclosure risks and help families in need, it will also add substantial stability to a portion of the mortgage market that has been in disarray."
Steve Bartlett, president and chief executive of The Financial Services Roundtable: "One word to the business community who are rightly concerned about their contracts: this agreement is built on existing contracts and abrogates no one’s contractual rights."