Commentary: Foreclosure relief efforts hindered by half-efforts

The Goldilocks strategy isn't working for the American housing market.

President Obama's "just right" fix for homeowners facing foreclosure was intended to offer aid without absolution. Borrowers and banks would be shielded from the brunt of the real estate crash while the truly irresponsible would still have to reckon with their recklessness.

It has missed its mark. The $75 billion Making Home Affordable program has largely been a failure, helping far fewer people than expected and in many cases merely delaying the inevitable.

The main flaw is its halfway approach. The program is neither hands-off enough to allow the market to purge itself of bad real estate bets nor helpful enough to make a sizable dent in the inventory of foreclosed properties dragging down home prices.

The effect, experts say, is that a program intended to speed up economic recovery has delayed it.

The Obama administration, which just three weeks ago was defending the program as a success, seems to be waking up to its failings. Financial industry executives told The New York Times that the administration will revamp the plan this week.

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