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Housing bill no panacea

Perspective: Despite goodies, new law won't spur recovery

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The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, signed by President Bush July 30, contains a hodge-podge of new programs, protections and perks for homeowners, home buyers and housing-related companies. But considerable doubt remains as to whether the law will do much to change the current dynamics of the nation's housing markets, which are still mired in misfired mortgages and depressed home sales. The bill may turn out to be not so much too little, too late, but rather misdirected, riddled with loopholes and subject to unintended consequences. Let's take some of the homeowner and home buyer items for a spin: Hope for Homeowners. This new FHA loan program, which Inman News columnist Lou Barnes dubbed "HoHo," will allow homeowners who can't afford their current mortgage to refinance with a 30-year fixed-rate home loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Setting aside the debate over who's worthy of such assistance, the program is flawed since -- like...