Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has stated that he believes that the best way to help housing markets to recover is to let home foreclosures “hit the bottom”.
Speaking to the Las Vegas Review Journal ahead of a presidential debate in Nevada, Mr. Romney said that he thought banks should be allowed to carry through proceedings against defaulting homeowners. This, he said, would be the best way to solve the crisis once and for all.
Once the foreclosed homes had been sold, they could then be rented out until real estate markets recovered:
"As to what to do for the housing industry specifically and are there things that you can do to encourage housing: One is, don't try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.”
He added that he didn’t believe the government should try to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes:
“The idea of the federal government running around and saying, 'We're going to give you some money for trading in your old car...or we're going to keep banks from foreclosing if you can't make your payments. The right course is to let markets work."
Nevada, which is set to host a debate between seven of the Republican presidential candidates, has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, and also the highest percentage of unemployed people.
Mr. Romney’s comments were immediately seized upon by Democrats, who criticized him for being out of touch with the middle class.
Ben LaBolt, the spokesman for President Obama’s re-election campaign, said in a statement that Romeny’s message meant he wasn’t going to do a thing to help struggling middle class homeowners:
“Mitt Romney's message to Nevada homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage bills is simple: You're on your own, so step aside. This is just one more indication that while he will bend over backwards to preserve tax breaks for large corporations and tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, Mitt Romney won't lift a finger to restore economic security for the middle class.”
Nevada Senator Harry Reid also attacked Mr. Romney, saying that in his opinion, Republicans had a totally different view of the world than that of most normal people.
However, perhaps too much has been read into Mr. Romney’s comments. The foreclosure crisis has been noticeably absent from discussions amongst Republican presidential candidates up until now. Now could that be because, like Obama, they really don't have any answers?