Bush to Expand Government Role to Deal With Subprime


President George W. Bush will today announce steps the administration says will help people with subprime mortgages keep their homes.

Bush will let the Federal Housing Administration, which insures mortgages for low- and middle-income borrowers, guarantee loans for delinquent borrowers, allowing them to avoid foreclosure and refinance at more favorable rates, according to an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Tighter credit and higher borrowing costs threaten the housing market, which has been an engine of U.S. economic growth. Democrats in Congress and the party’s presidential candidates have criticized Bush for not taking action to prevent
the spread of foreclosures.

“The Federal Reserve’s interest-rate reductions alone can’t fix the problem,” Peter Meister, an economist at BHF Bank AG in Frankfurt, said in a telephone interview. He called the Bush plan “positive” both for “the people concerned and the economy as a whole.”

The change would affect borrowers who are at least 90 days behind in payments and let them stay in their homes, the administration official said. Bush, in a statement in the White House Rose Garden, also will back proposals to provide tax relief for homeowners who refinance.

The president still opposes Democratic calls to let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest U.S. mortgage finance companies, boost purchases of mortgages as a way to ease lending constraints, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.

Prevention Bush’s proposals will address ways “to prevent these kinds of problems from arising in the future,” Fratto said.

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“Do no harm”

Medical Providers live by the oath to “Do No Harm.” What does that mean when providing care as part of the military in Iraq? A general surgeon and a medic, who both served in Iraq, give their different perspectives on how to “do no harm.” The surgeon believes that caring for injured soldiers, enemy combatants and civilians
is doing no harm. The medic believes that refusing to load his weapon and becoming a Conscientious Objector to all war is doing no harm.

Produced and directed by Pepperspray videographer Patricia Boiko

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