John Oliver slams predatory government home improvement loans – Deadline
After lightly toasting Russian President Vladimir Putin during his press conference at the Geneva summit, Last week tonight Host John Oliver focused his attention on Japan’s efforts to keep the 2020 Olympics on schedule next month despite criticism from many of its citizens.
The country has achieved a national immunization rate of just 6%, a number, said Oliver, that “is expected to be higher than the number of entries in The Fast and the Furious franchise ”to host the Olympic Games.
Although the country has already spent $ 15.4 billion, with government audits suggesting the number could be significantly higher, the decision to stop the Olympics is not entirely up to Japan. The power to cancel the Games, apparently, rests solely with the International Olympic Committee.
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“It would be like your kid got the flu and you try to reschedule their birthday party, but get canceled by the clown you hired,” Oliver joked.
Oliver took the time to remind viewers that hosting the Olympics is never a good idea for any city.
“While I really hope for everyone’s sake that it works, you can’t help but think that the main motivation behind this unfolding event is money. Will it be worth it?” asked Olivier.
After a quick cut from this year’s Westminster Dog Show, Oliver moved on to his main segment of the episode: PACE funding.
PACE financing, which stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing, is a program used in several states that helps low-income families renovate their homes to improve energy efficiency. PACE, which is on its way to states like New York and Ohio, was introduced in 2008 by President Obama to ease the financial burden of modernizing his home.
Oliver took the time to point out that all viewers born after 1985 should immediately stop watching the episode, as they will never own a home due to a myriad of economic conditions.
“If you’re under 35, you can skip this story. Go fight with a 15 year old on TikTok about the coolest way to part your hair. Life is sad and that’s okay, ”Oliver said.
PACE financing works by covering all the initial fixed and indirect costs of a home renovation. PACE costs are then reimbursed on the owner’s property tax bill over a period of up to 30 years. The logic is that the energy cost savings during this period will eventually offset the tax increases. In a sense, the renovation pays for itself.
Oliver said that while the government program is well-intentioned, both private and private companies have ruined his efforts, resulting in the loss of their homes. “When PACE loans go bad, they go bad,” said a serious Oliver.
A news clip was released of how a Bay Area owner was exploited by a PACE-funded contractor who continually suggested new home improvements. The homeowner said his mortgage payment increased by $ 600 and began to consider homelessness.
He noted red flags in the details of the PACE program, such as the fact that contractors – who are responsible for planning and construction – also organize financing.
“Think for a moment what that means,” Oliver said. “The people responsible for presenting a very complicated financial product – a pseudo-loan that is technically a tax lien – are entrepreneurs who are not trained in finance. No judgment here. People are trained for different things. It’s the same reason why you don’t ask a banker to re-glue your bathroom tiles. They are going to do stupid things!
PACE contractors are also used to targeting low income and minority areas. Oliver continued, “It doesn’t stop there, as the contractors have also been accused of targeting non-English speaking neighborhoods, the elderly and even people with intellectual disabilities.”
Another shortcoming in PACE funding is its use of deceptive representatives. Oliver noted that in many cases, PACE contractors go door-to-door, touting the benefits of this renovation program using an iPad, which can be used to speed up instant registrations.
“It’s not like accepting the terms and conditions of an iTunes update. It’s like sitting across a banker’s table, potentially signing your house, ”Oliver said.
Oliver explained that the big financial players have taken note of PACE’s problems. Financial lending giants Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae have stopped supporting PACE-funded homes. When these homes accumulate debt that cannot be paid, Oliver said it’s the tax collectors who collect the debt and foreclose the homes.
The most poignant quote came from an avid St. Louis tax collector who pleaded with his county to get rid of the county’s PACE program.
“The more you have, the more a certain percentage of the population will lose their homes. You can improve consumer protection and make it tougher, but ultimately some people will have their homes confiscated, ”the Missourian said.
“Exactly. No one in this country should lose their home to an air conditioner. They should lose their home to unexpected medical bills – like an American!” Commented a sarcastic Oliver.