Signing of Homeowners Bill of Rights Three Years Late Anda $1 Trillion Short
By: Patrick Porgans
On Wednesday, California Gov, Jerry Brown, signed the “Homeowner Bill of Rights” into law (SB 900 and AB 278. This bill purportedly will curtail banks from fraudulent foreclosures.
Reportedly, Brown tweeted that “this law will stop banks from foreclosing on Californians who are trying in good faith to renegotiate their mortgages.”
State Attorney General Kamala Harris campaigned for the legislation, and added a presentation on her website on how it will benefit California families.
Critics point out that the bill does not take effect until the beginning of the year and servicers aren’t obligated to consider applications for loan modifications or appeals submitted before Jan 1, 2013. Occupy Fights Foreclosures, a subcommittee of Occupy LA, is calling for an immediate moratorium on foreclosures to protect the thousands of families facing foreclosures right now.
In the meantime, there are many among the millions of foreclosure victims of the bank-induced subprime-mortgage crisis, robo-signing; derivatives-hedge betting, Wall Street bailout and fraud view it as more political grandstanding, years late and, according to some estimates, $1,000,000,000,000.
In California alone, the total cost of the foreclosure crisis to homeowners, the property tax base, and local governments could add up to at least $650 billion and possibly reach as much as $1 trillion? That’s just one of the major findings of a report, released by a coalition of faith, community and labor groups in California that are demanding that Wall Street pay its fair share to helping California recover from this devastating crisis.
Many are questioning the government’s ability to use or enforce existing laws designed to protect victims of crime. Others question the need for such a law so late in the game; after all, it is estimated that by year’s end two-million foreclosures would have taken place in the Golden State.
Government insiders contend the new law is a clever way to promote the illusion of protection and accountability. They may have a point, the fact that the state’s Constitution, Article I, already provides protection for victims of crime. Supporters of the bill point to the positive benefits contained in the bill.
Critics question why make new laws when existing ones are not being enforced. Although the banks have agreed to a multibillion dollar settlement, and have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines levied by the Security Exchange Commission; all this has been without an admission of guilt.
A ranking Congressman recently summed it up like this during a hearing attended by the major bank executives testifying before Congress. He said, members of his constituency have and continue to rob banks, should we grant them the same prosecutorial discretion and/or immunity as the banks’ are presently seeking?
The Rule of Law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law. The rule follows logically from the idea that truth, and therefore law, is based upon fundamental principles which can be discovered, but which cannot be created through an act of will.
Political insiders recognize that Brown and state’s attorney general Kamala Harris can make a lot of political “hey” out of the enactment of this new victims’ rights law, which, coincidentally, came out after the signing of the attorneys generals settlement with the five major banks involved in the subprime mortgage crisis.
The promises made by five of the nation's largest banks under the much-ballyhooed $25 billion mortgage settlement have a surprisingly short shelf life. Read more