For some time the Obama administration has been pushing a number of programs to help out homeowners whose mortgage balances are greater than the value of their homes. Recently the administration expanded a Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac refinance program and in an effort to promote that program President Obama went to Reno, Nevada a little more than a week ago to visit Val and Paul Keller. The Kellers home is currently worth $100,000 but their mortgage balance is $168,000. In the context of this visit the administration has been emphasizing that the target of this program is "responsible homeowners".
There's only one fly in the ointment. When CNBC started thinking about the Keller's financial situation the numbers didn't seem to add up. When they dug a bit further they discovered that the Keller's bought their home 14 years ago for $127,000. So how was it that the Keller's ended up owing $168,000 when, if anything, their mortgage should have been well below $127,000?
CNBC contacted the White House, which revealed that the Kellers had actually borrowed an additional $51,000 in 2007 in order to pay down business debt so that Paul could retire. So CNBC raised the question of whether or not the Kellers really were responsible homeowners. If you click through to that article you can read a bit more about the administration's defense of the Kellers as the type of responsible homeowners that the refinance program is meant to target.
I'm curious as to what you think so I set up the informal poll below. Do you think the government should be helping people like the Kellers? If you are reading this post outside of ChicagoNow you will probably have to click through to my original post in order to participate in the poll. At the bottom of this post I'm displaying the most recent poll results but you will need to refresh the page in order to see your input reflected in the results.
Here are the results thus far: