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Obama gives housing crisis speech to bored wealthy teens


DP Veteran
Jun 13, 2012
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Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Maybe this will convince them to sign up for Obamacare?

Obama gives housing crisis speech to bored wealthy teens
by James S. Robbins | Posted by: James S Robbins on August 7, 2013 4:20 pm

Obama gives housing crisis speech to bored wealthy teens | Rare


On Tuesday, President Obama brought his vision of middle class empowerment through home ownership to one of Phoenix’s wealthiest suburbs. He laid out a series of big-government solutions to problems that, for the community he spoke to, simply don’t exist.

Mr. Obama spoke at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee Foothills, south of downtown. Ahwatukee is known locally as “All-white-tukee” because of its relative lack of diversity. “Also known as Pleasantville,” chides Urban Dictionary, “recognizable by the ‘cookie-cutter’ style homes.” Says another entry, Ahwatukee equals “Pleasantville + Silvertown (Joe Dirt) + Leave it to Beaver.” In summary, “a snooty boring-ass suburb of Phoenix.”

Mr. Obama employed his usual stock phrases making the case for reshaping the housing sector, but little probably rang true to his audience of upper-upper-middle-class teens. “We’ve been fighting our way back from a devastating recession,” he said, “that cost millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, and their savings.” Yes, kids in Ahwatukee probably read about that. “We were living through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better,” he continued, “while most families were working harder and harder just to get by.” Wait, was this dig at the affluent some subtle form of irony? According to City-data, the neighborhood directly across the street from Desert Vista High has an average family income of $103,050, which is more than twice the average for the state. In class warfare terms, Ahwatukee is fighting on defense.

“I’ve come to Phoenix to talk about [the] most tangible cornerstone at the heart of middle-class life,” he said, “the chance to own your own home.” Home ownership is really not a problem in Ahwatukee. Most people have houses, few (if any) with underwater mortgages. Home values in the school’s area code have risen 32% in the last two years according to Zillow. The median home value across the street from the school is $316,284, which is 190% the average home price in the state.

Mr. Obama went through a list of his alleged accomplishments, such as extending “the time folks who’ve lost their jobs can delay payments on their mortgages while they keep looking for work.” But the unemployment rate across the street from Desert Vista High is a mere 3%, and number in poverty is zero. He said he wants to make it easier for people to refinance their mortgages, but even in 2009 there were over 2000 refinancings in the school’s 85048 zip code. Mr. Obama said he wants to “put construction workers back to work repairing rundown homes and tearing down vacant properties,” but wouldn’t this message resonate better in a neighborhood where there actually are rundown homes, and where lots are only left vacant to provide room for dog runs and golf courses?

Mr. Obama also dipped into some of his first term history. “Less than a month after I took office,” he said, “I came here to Arizona and laid out steps to stabilize the housing market and help responsible homeowners get back on their feet.” It’s odd he would want people to remember that speech. He gave it February 18, 2009, in Mesa, Arizona, to introduce the $75 billion Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. The plan turned out to be another wasteful failure that met none of its goals. But the speech itself had an enduring legacy; the next day on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” commentator Rick Santelli vigorously denounced the plan from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and said “We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party!” A movement was born. But there as no similar reaction to the Desert Vista High address. The time has long since passed when anyone would take one of Mr. Obama’s speeches that seriously.

Why did Mr. Obama come to Ahwatukee? It is not a symbol of the housing crisis, and the people there are not his core constituency. If Ahwatukee chose a president, it would not be Barack Obama; Mitt Romney won the county in 2012 by 10.7 percent. “The Stepford wives reside in Ahwatukee,” Urban Dictionary declares. “No one dares to be different or think outside the box. Everyone is a clone of everyone else.” Ahwatukee screams boring, middle-class respectability, where people have jobs, raise families, pay their bills, attend religious services, own guns and are skeptical of Washington. When it comes to living the American Dream, they figured it out without Mr. Obama’s help.
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