New White House counselor John Podesta penned an extensive paper recommending President Obama use his executive authority to create a central Web portal for mortgages, WND has learned.
Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress, has reportedly agreed to serve as counselor to President Obama for a year.
Podesta last month announced the establishment of a new group, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, that will work within his Center for American Progress. The new center bills itself as a research and grant-making organization founded to accelerate the closing of what it calls the income gap in the U.S. by fighting so-called income inequality.
In November 2010, Podesta co-authored a 48-page Center for American Progress paper titled “The Power of the President: Recommendations to Advance Progressive Change.”
“The U.S. Constitution and the laws of our nation grant the president significant authority to make and implement policy,” wrote Podesta in the paper’s introduction.
“These authorities can be used to ensure positive progress on many of the key issues facing the country through executive orders, rulemaking, agency management, convening and creating public-private partnerships, commanding the armed forces … diplomacy.”
Podesta stressed: “The ability of President Obama to accomplish important change through these powers should not be underestimated.”
One of the recommendations was for Obama to use his office to “create a Web portal to empower housing counselors, reduce burdens on lenders and speed up home mortgage modifications.”
The government previous launched a less ambitious site, MakingHomeAffordable.gov.
Podesta’s paper says Home Affordable Modification Programs modifications “have not happened at the pace originally conceived for the program” due in part to a lack of human resources.
Podesta identifies housing counselors as central to speeding up the modification process if they can be more empowered.
Drawing on the concept of another website, HOPE LoanPort, as a possible starting point, Podesta recommends the government build an “official portal” to “permit housing counselors to input the homeowner’s income and similar information, run the Net Present Value calculations, and provide a response either rejecting a modification or providing its terms.”
Continues Podesta’s paper: “Lenders are already providing this information to the government. If the calculation indicates a modification, the information could be transmitted to the servicing entity for implementation, perhaps within 90 days, during which the lender or servicer could contest the counselor’s inputs. If the servicer did not contest the modification, then it could become permanent.”
Podesta is a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton.
In 2008, Podesta served as co-director of Obama’s transition into the White House.
A Time magazine article profiled the influence of Podesta’s Center for American Progress in the formation of the Obama administration, stating that “not since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan’s transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway.”
The center is funded by billionaire George Soros. Its board includes Van Jones, Obama’s former “green jobs” czar, who resigned in September 2009 after it was exposed he founded a communist revolutionary organization.