Looking at the horoscope for the time the President began speaking, it’s fitting that Mars (action) rules the chart and is located in the house of the horoscope representing real estate. More profound is that Mars is in Cancer (real estate; ruled by the Moon). Mars went retrograde* on November 15, right on the USA’s Sun (nation’s identity). When a planet is retrograde, the world deals with the re prefix connected to what energies that planet represents. So it’s no surprise that during Mars retrograde in Cancer, America’s leadership is focused on the economic implications of mortgages that will be re-setting.
“No silver bullet”. This is the line Treasury Secretary Paulson kept repeating in speeches and media interviews. Silver is ruled by the Moon and Cancer, bullets go in weapons which are ruled by Mars. Mercury challenging Saturn Thursday aptly reflected the lack of concrete details of the plan, but also the reality that few people will actually qualify under the “Hope Now” plan.
Here’s what we do know:
- The borrower must occupy the home. (As the front page headline of yesterday’s Sun-Sentinel declared, “Mortgage plan has little help for S. Florida”, since most distressed borrowers in the state are speculators or seasonal residents. Similar situations exist in California and Nevada.)
- The borrower’s mortgage must have been taken out between January 1, 2005 and July 31, 2007, with the borrower facing their first reset of more than 10% between January 1, 2008 and July 31, 2010.
- The borrower must have a mortgage that was packaged into securities and not a mortgage held by a bank. (Borrowers will have to contact their loan servicer to determine this.)
- The borrower must have a credit score of 660 or lower that cannot have improved by more than 10% since the origination of the mortgage.
- The borrower must have little or no equity in the home. (This is confusing. I’ve read reports that say no more than 3% equity, other reports state a maximum 3% equity.)
- The borrower cannot be more than 60 days late more than once in the past 12 months.
- The borrower must ask for help by calling 1-800-995-HOPE. If you call the number, a recorded message gives you the option of visiting http://www.995hope.org/, which was not mentioned in the Administration’s news conference. Both the telephone number and the website ask borrowers to leave all their personal information. The so-called nonprofit credit counseling agencies participating in the “Hope Now Alliance” are funded by banks such as Citigroup (C), Countrywide (CFC), J.P. Morgan (JPM), and Washington Mutual (WM).
The Administration’s emphasis that their solutions do not involve government spending is totally false. Already the Administration has offered FHA refinancing to homeowners who have good credit histories but cannot afford their current payments. If Congress passes the President’s FHA modernization bill, the FHA could lower down payment requirements as well as take on larger amounts for the mortgages they insure. If these mortgages default, taxpayers will obviously foot the bill.
President Bush wants Congress to tinker with the tax code by allowing cities and states to issue tax-exempt mortgage bonds to help refinance existing loans. The White House is asking state and local governments to increase the risks they already have through investing in asset-backed commercial paper by sponsoring risky mortgages directly. (See my previous posts on Orange County and the Florida Fund under Economy in the DIRECTORY.) If local governments truly want to help homeowners, they should lower property taxes!
How is requesting Congress fund $120M for NeighborWorks and another $50M for HUD’s mortgage counseling programs not government spending? And why shouldn’t borrowers in trouble contact their loan servicer rather than these so-called counseling services?
President Bush concluded his speech by saying: “I call on Congress to move forward quickly, and join me in delivering relief to homeowners in need – so we can keep our economy healthy and the American Dream alive.” With the chart’s ruler retrograde (Mars in Cancer), and the final aspect the Moon made before leaving Scorpio was a challenge to Neptune, this plan gives the illusion of helping homeowners. The real hope is that the plan will help keep real estate values inflated so investors of these securities can still make a profit.
And the much-touted “American Dream”? That’s Neptune, planet of dreams, elevated in the USA’s birth chart. There is no country that prizes real estate more than the USA, with four (Sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter) planets in Cancer.
* Planets do not move backwards but appear to from Earth’s vantage point. See the Cycles section under DIRECTORY and scroll down for my posts about Mars retrograde and Mars in Cancer.
“President Bush Discusses Housing”: December 6, 2007 1:23 PM EST Washington, DC
Statement by Treasury Secretary Paulson that followed the President’s remarks:
Sun-Sentinel: “Bush mortgage plan won’t help S. Fla. Housing market”