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Analysis: A New Initiative To Help Homeowners, But Can It Fly?

The president just announced a new initiative to help homeowners save money by refinancing their mortgages:

"Responsible homeowners shouldn't have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.

"That's why I'm sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low interest rates. No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won't add to the deficit, and will give banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust ..."

Some economists from both the right and the left of the political spectrum have been pushing for more refinancing. They feel that credit has become too tight, and too many Americans are unfairly stuck in higher-rate mortgages.

Mortgage experts say more could be done by the president, particularly with taxpayer-controlled firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But by calling on Congress to pass legislation, by taking that route, it might be unlikely that the president will be able to get such legislation through Congress in an election year.

Also — Obama talked about paying for the program with some form of new fee or tax. Again — an unlikely prospect in an election year.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Out Of Juvenile Corrections, Poems Of Fury, Loss — And Lingering Beauty

Over 1,000 students submitted their work for Words Unlocked, a poetry contest for juveniles in corrections. Two young poets split the top prize — and they've shared their poems with NPR.
NPR

Farmers Wait, And Wait, For Guest Workers Amid H-2A Visa Delays

For the third year in a row, the H-2A visa program is running behind. That's left farmers waiting for planters and pickers even as the harvest season is well underway.
NPR

Be Like Bernie: Sanders Looks To Spread His Political Wealth

He's beginning to expand his political network by helping upstart progressive congressional candidates and state legislators, lending his fundraising prowess and national fame to boost their bids.
NPR

After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, She Channeled Her Ups And Downs Into Texts

NPR's Scott Simon talks with Natalie Sun about her project, textingwithcancer.com. The website won a Webby award, and documents her pessimism and optimism while undergoing chemotherapy.

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