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Fisher Program

2012 Program

The 2012 Fisher Memorial Program was held on March 23, 2012 at the Spring Meeting of the ABA Business Law Section in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The topic was: “Home Ownership: American Dream or American Nightmare?”

The program explored issues and policy surrounding the classic notion of home ownership.  It engaged in a policy debate over home ownership versus renting, and what policies should drive that outcome.  The panel also debated laws that achieve fewer defaults on consumer mortgages or facilitate efficient foreclosure processing.  

Subtopics included:

  • Should there continue to be a national policy that homeownership be encouraged?
  • How does the country recover from the real property meltdown so that it can move ahead toward greater economic recovery?
  • What policies, legislation, and initiatives support a recovery that benefits lenders, consumers, and the economy?
  • Is the basic question one of safety and soundness as opposed to the desire of people to own a home?
  • Is it sound policy for the government to push so strongly for homeownership?
  • Is the dream a myth with major downside consequences and no overall net value to the country?
  • Should the current tax policy which favors homeownership be changed?
  • Should tax policy be neutral by eliminating the mortgage interest deduction?
  • Should market forces control the ownership/renting ratio once the government takes its hand off the scale?
  • Should renting revise the paradigm and be incentivized through policies and laws?
  • What has been the success of the HAMP and HEMP federal programs intended to resolve the foreclosure crisis?

The moderator was Lawrence A. Young, Partner, Hughes Watters & Askanase LLP, Houston, TX.

The panelists were:

  • Barbara E. Buckley, Executive Director, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
  • Gary E. Schnitzer, Partner, Kravitz, Schnitzer & Johnson, Las Vegas, NV
  • Paul Leonard, California Office Director, Center for Responsible Lending, Oakland, CA
  • Robert A. Cook, Partner, Hudson Cook LLP, Hanover, MD

The 2012 Fisher Memorial Program: Home Ownership—American Dream or American Nightmare?


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