Hillary Clinton just made her fourth speech so far this year at the Nasdaq Exchange, saying that Wall Street was partly responsible for the current home foreclosure crisis that is threatening the stability of the middle class.
“I’m here today to call on Wall Street to do its part,” Clinton said in front of a small audience of dark-suited business leaders.
She talked about the interests of Wall Street versus Main Street, a common Democratic theme, peppering her speech with anecdotes of painful cases she has heard from around the campaign trail.
She made a point of refusing to heap all the blame on Wall Street investors.
“We can debate what was technically illegal, we can debate what should be defined as predatory,” she said, adding that it was inarguable that the practice has had a negative effect on middle class homeowners.
She said there was “plenty of blame to go around” for the current situation, and placed responsibility at the feet of lenders, the administration’s inattentive regulators, rating agencies, and borrowers who speculated to make money flipping houses.
“Finally,” she said, “responsibility also belongs to Wall Street” which she said has practiced a “see no evil policy” when it came to predatory lending.
Following up on her policy roll-out earlier this week, she argued for a three-step, voluntary response to the crisis that she portrayed “as a comprehensive work out, not a bail out, of our most pressing economic problem.”
First, she called for a moratorium on foreclosures of subprime occupied homes for 90 days. Second, she said was to freeze monthly rates on subprime adjustable rate mortgages. “A rate freeze is critical,” she said because the rate resets are driving the crisis. And third, she called for the mortgage industry to supply status reports on the number of modified mortgages.
“If we cannot reach a voluntary agreement I will consider legislation,” she added.
“Too many American families are not sharing in the growth that is created and driven by this city.”