By Peter Ricci
It was just last week that Mitt Romney announced Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan as his running mate for the 2012 election, and already, analysts and journalists alike are combing through Ryan’s voting records and position statements for inclinations on how he would govern.
And as a recent HousingWire piece points out, Ryan’s positions on housing deserve particular scrutiny, especially with how they complement previous statements by Romney.
The Paul Ryan Plan for Housing
The most substantial evidence of Paul Ryan’s plan for housing comes from the 2011 budgetary plan that he released as head of the House Budget Committee, of which the most sweeping suggestion involved Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Some of the details included:
- The plan would privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, putting an end to, in Ryan’s words, “corporate welfare and taxpayer bailouts in housing finance.”
- To accomplish that, Ryan suggested gradually winding down the business of Fannie and Freddie, eventually passing it on to the private sector.
- One strategy for accomplishing this would involve capping the value of a home eligible for Fannie/Freddie guarantees, thus shrinking their market share.
- Ryan also directed his budgetary scalpel towards the FHA, and advocated for fair value scoring for the FHA’s credit program to fully assess the agency’s risk to taxpayers.
Could HUD Be in Danger Too?
Ryan is not the only person on the Republican ticket with bold ideas for housing. As we reported back in April, in a private meeting with supporters, Romney was overheard suggesting the abolishment of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, an agency, coincidentally enough, that his father, George Romney, headed during the Nixon administration.
Of course, as we’ve written, housing has been a largely absent issue on the campaign trail, so these past statements have not been defining traits of the Republican ticket. But do you think they suggest anything about what government housing policy would be, should they be elected?