What Democrats learned from Obama's foreclosure mistake

President Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

Barack Obama did a lousy job of helping Americans stay in their homes.

Obama, of course, became president in 2009 — right as the Great Recession was raging out of control. Home foreclosures were already on the rise when he entered the White House, and his administration didn't do nearly enough to stop the tide: In the years before the recession, there were an average of 250,000 foreclosures annually. In just the first half of 2010, there were 1.65 million. By 2016, more than 6 million foreclosures had taken place over the previous decade. Along the way, a narrative took hold: The Obama administration bailed out banks, but not homeowners. The Week's Ryan Cooper in 2016 labeled the whole mess "Obama's biggest failure," and other observers believe the issue helped Donald Trump capture the presidency.

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Joel Mathis, The Week US

Joel Mathis is a freelance writer who has spent nine years as a syndicated columnist, co-writing the RedBlueAmerica column as the liberal half of a point-counterpoint duo. His work also regularly appears in National Geographic, The Kansas City Star and Heatmap News. His awards include best online commentary at the Online News Association and (twice) at the City and Regional Magazine Association.