Voltron says: Below is Peter Schiff's take on the government's new mortgage modification plan.
By offering to reduce mortgage payments to 38% of household income for homeowners who are 90 days delinquent, the mortgage program announced today will spark a new wave of delinquencies. In a classic case of unintended consequences, the plan will encourage homeowners to rearrange their finances to qualify for the benefit. Those who could conceivably economize to meet their existing obligations will now have a strong reason to forgo such sacrifices.
The intentional reduction of income is also a possibility. In many cases dual-income families may decide to eliminate one job altogether as reduced mortgage payments combined with lower child care and other work-related expenses will likely exceed the after-tax value of the lost paycheck.
It may also be tempting for some homeowners to temporarily quit high-paying jobs, or delay job searches, and accept low-paying jobs while the creditors consider their fate. Once their mortgage payments have been modified to fit their diminished incomes, these homeowners would then be free to pursue better-paying jobs. With mortgage payments reduced to a fraction of their prior payments, these workers will have much more employment flexibility than those foolishly struggling to meet non-modified mortgages.