A Debt Jubilee via Eminent Domain?

Michael Stephens | July 16, 2012

Local government officials in San Bernardino county have apparently heard enough about how the overhang of mortgage debt is holding back the recovery, and they’re considering taking matters into their own hands.  Reuters‘ Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan report on the background discussions leading up to a proposal that is being considered by officials in San Bernardino, California—a county where almost half of all mortgages are “underwater.”  The general idea is to use eminent domain as a kind of mortgage debt forgiveness program:  principal reduction would be achieved by forcing the sale of mortgages that have been packaged into securities; the mortgages would then be restructured on more favorable terms.  Homeowners with underwater mortgages who are current on their payments would be able to participate.

Randall Wray and Paul McCulley are quoted in the piece, with the latter describing the program as “[a] legal system-midwifed, modern-day jubilee.”  Read the article here.

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One Response to “A Debt Jubilee via Eminent Domain?”

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  1. Comment by WilhelmSeptember 10, 2012 at 3:24 am   Reply

    I think it sounds wrong to call this a mortgage debt forgiveness program.

    (it will make those people whose debt isn’t forgiven angry)

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