Weekend Watchdog

Bill Scher

Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, we post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We’ll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked.

And on Sunday at 4 PM ET, tune in to Air America Radio’s “Seder on Sundays” program, where I’ll offer the Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will be coming to ABC’s This Week and Fox News Sunday to spread the word about all the fantastic things the Bush Administration has in store for the economy.

Perhaps there are a few questions that should be asked.

1. President Bush says that since “our economy obviously is going through a tough time,” Congress must “make the tax relief permanent” or else “they will create additional uncertainty during uncertain times.”

But if Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy were so helpful to the economy, why is it that we’re now going through such a tough time?

2. President Bush is boasting that his Hope Now Alliance to helping solve the mortgage crisis. But MSNBC.com found that the hotline “has left hundreds if not thousands of callers frustrated by long wait times, lack of follow-up and relatively minor loan modifications that have failed to help.”

Further, it reports: “The lack of follow-through has also prompted criticism from state officials that it’s difficult — if not impossible — to measure Hope Now’s real progress in keeping people in their homes over the long term. Hope Now says it has helped some 640,000 homeowners modify their loans since October, but it’s not clear how many of those modifications were sufficient to keep the borrowers from losing their homes.”

Why is the Administration bragging about this program, instead of fixing it?

3.Last month, former Fed vice-chair Alan Blinder urged the federal government to bring back a New Deal agency, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation:

The HOLC was established in June 1933 to help distressed families avert foreclosures by replacing mortgages that were in or near default with new ones that homeowners could afford. It did so by buying old mortgages from banks — most of which were delighted to trade them in for safe government bonds — and then issuing new loans to homeowners. The HOLC financed itself by borrowing from capital markets and the Treasury.

As the anti-government conservatism of the Bush administration has failed our economy, why shouldn’t we adopt a new approach to get us back on track?

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