Obama inherited a mess, decades in the making, because of bad, elitist policies passed by both parties. And he had only a narrow window to push for policies, especially as Republican intransigence was ramping up.
Nevertheless, before he even took office, the likelihood that his administration would adequately deal with the crisis in a fair manner seemed low; his economics team was almost entirely either: people from previous administrations who'd had a hand in causing the crisis by deregulating finance, or former Wall St. execs. So, White House policy favored the big banks over individual homeowners (even when a mountain of proof that they were committing widescale fraud was handed to his Department of Justice).
The Obama presidency was a disaster for middle-class wealth in the United States. Between 2007 and 2016, the average wealth of the bottom 99 percent dropped by $4,500. Over the same period, the average wealth of the top 1 percent rose by $4.9 million.
This drop hit the housing wealth of African Americans particularly hard. Outside of home equity, black wealth recovered its 2007 level by 2016. But average black home equity was still $16,700 lower.
Much of this decline, we will argue, can be laid at the feet of President Obama. His housing policies led directly to millions of families losing their homes. What’s more, Obama had the power — money, legislative tools, and legal leverage — to sharply ameliorate the foreclosure crisis.
He chose not to use it.