October 7, 2008

The stock market performance particularly on October 6 and 7, 2008 is a strong indication of the lack of effective measures to address the problems that triggered the financial crisis and subsequently the economic meltdown. The tumbling of the stocks due to aggressive selling day after day is from panic and deep concern among investors across the globe.

The “Treasury” has secured the financial package for the “rescue” plan as an instant relief to the current crisis. However, in preparation to relieve the financial institutions from “bad debts” and “toxic assets”, it has failed to look beyond the “Corporate” horizon. The immediate priority is to lift the nation from the burgeoning “housing market” crisis i.e. “foreclosures” and provide relief to the “homeowners”.

The Congress must act now on bipartisan basis to implement “Moratorium” on the “foreclosures”, and vigorously re-enact the “Bankruptcy provision” to relieve homeowners across the nation. It should not be at the discretion of the financial institutions that are primarily responsible for the mortgage crisis to resolve on their own terms and conditions. As stated earlier, the “foreclosures” are the result of the multi-tiered structures in the financial and real estate industry engaging in unethical practices and reckless conduct with no oversight.

If the “rescue” package does not involve the solutions to the problems of the current economic and stock market turbulence, the entire effort by the Congress is futile. Therefore, it is necessary for government intervention to relieve all homeowners dealing with “foreclosures” and delinquency on their mortgage payments due to the sudden increase in interest rates initially offered as “teaser” rates on the subprime mortgage loans.

The urgent and direct focus on the “housing market” is the only prudent economic strategy available to revive the “housing sector”, one of the structural foundations of the economy. The consistent decline of “home values” is a major factor for the “economic stress” with a ripple effect on the entire financial and commercial sectors.

The “housing” and “energy” industry are fundamental components of the economic infrastructure. Hence, the rescue plan must address the “cause” of the current financial crisis i.e. the “foreclosures” besides facilitating financial liquidity in the commercial sector to stimulate economic growth and development. In terms of the economic stimulus package under consideration, the “energy” subsidies would highly benefit the economy and ease the burden on the “main street” anticipating high “energy” costs in winter.

The impending purchase of the mortgage-backed securities under the “rescue” plan must follow the guidelines to benefit the investor i.e. the taxpayers in both the short and long run. It is important to address effectively any concern by experts such as “The HOPE for Homeowners Act needs to pay less than 36.5 % of the face value of the subprime mortgage backed securities. If more is paid the government loses money in the long run and owners of the securities profit now” and any loopholes that might hamper the deal in the investor i.e. taxpayer’s favor must be eliminated as a safety measure.

The consensus on the legislation of the bill “HOPE” for The Homeowners Act, 2008 is promising and expected to provide relief to an estimated 400,000 families. It is important to follow through the process and ensure transformation of “HOPE” into reality for “homeowners” severely hit in the “housing” market crisis due to massive “foreclosures”.

“Congress” and the financial institutions could reverse the current stock market decline through diligence and prudent economic strategy combined with robust fiscal policy and financial measures to boost investor confidence. Meanwhile, domestic and foreign investors must restrain short selling in the wake of current crisis that is contributing to the pandemonium in the stock market.

The stock market turmoil will cease upon following all of the above measures with no further procrastination to protect the interests of all i.e. the “main street”, the “wall street” and the global market.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant