The American Dream, right?So, we're coming up on Christmas (and Chanukkah, Kwanzaa and Festivus) and everyone, it seems, is losing their houses and in debt up to their eyeballs but the Presidential candidates (and the President, and some governors) have plans, man! Of course, only people that are actually, like, in office can do anything about this (or the next) holiday season, but they'd like you to feel warm and fuzzy anyway. The details, after the jump.

Knowing that the subprime mortgage fuck-up won't wait until 2009, the Administration and some governors have plans to help the people who are getting screwed by the adjustment of their interests rates. Although there's no agreement on the terms yet, it looks to be modeled after the California plan, which recent estimates show will only help 12 percent of subprime borrowers in California. Why is that? Well, the new temporary relief about which everyone is talking would be limited to people who the banks will get to determine can't really pay the mortgage at the new rate, and they'll get to decide whether you really can't pay it or just spend too much on food or cable. Also, you can't have already fallen behind on your payments. So, expect loads of help "soon." To help more people, Richardson has a plan to pass anti-predatory lending laws when he gets elected, which means they'll go into effect in mid-2009 or so, by which time most of America will already have been foreclosed on and will be living in tent cities on the National Mall.

Congress, in the mean time, is focusing on the credit card companies that issue us all sweet, sweet plastic so that we can overspend for Christmas and they can have their pound of flesh in the new year. Carl Levin is holding a hearing this morning to try and force companies to explain how they determine interest rates [Psst: they figure out how they can make money, and then they do that.] Barack has a great plan, though - if you credit card companies raise your rates, you should be able to cancel your agreements (although, I do believe that you can indeed cancel your credit cards and stop using them whenever you want). He also feels that most of your debt is due to medical expenses. Um, okay, but I'd suggest he spend less time at town hall meetings and more time at the mall during the holidays and watch the plastic a-flashing, and then maybe fewer people would keep calling him naive.

Mortgage Relief Impact May Be Limited [NY Times]

Ensuring Financial Opportunity and Fairness [Bill Richardson for President]

Congress Probes Credit Card Industry [Washington Post]

Obama Seeks Consumer Credit Guards [Washington Post]


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