Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Financial Crisis Came Because Democrats Failed to Act

Let's stop the nonsense. It's an established fact that President Bush began to call for reform for Freddie Mac and Sally Mae long before it was politically fashinonable, and long before the present crisis.

Another fact is that when he did some of the democrats that are squawking now, failed to act. As I said here, back in 2003 The Bush administration recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

What was the response response? NADA. In fact two Democrats, Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chuck Schumer did more than next to nothing. Via Wake up America who notes this editorial on Frank and Schumer's role in the crisis.
"One month from tomorrow, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., will be the keynote speaker at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner. It is a coveted and high-profile role previously filled by such notables as Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. The Democrats' choice of House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank is, therefore, very revealing.

The party announced Frank as the keynote speaker on Sept. 11 - three days after the U.S. government took control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, costing taxpayers untold billions. That takeover probably could have been prevented had Frank not worked to thwart every attempt to limit the risks taken on by the two government-sponsored mortgage giants.

For 16 years reformers in Congress have tried to improve oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and prevent the government-chartered companies from putting the housing market and the whole economy at risk. All that time, Frank was involved in efforts to block those attempts, and in the last eight years he was a leader of those efforts.

In 2002, shortly before accounting irregularities were exposed at both companies, Frank said, "I do not regard Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as problems," The Wall Street Journal reported. After the Freddie Mac accounting scandal in 2003, Frank said, "I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis."

But there was a crisis, thanks in large part to Frank, Sen. Charles Schumer and others on the leash of these companies. In Congress, they made sure there was no additional oversight, no additional limit on executive behavior and compensation, and no further restraint on the growth of the companies' mortgage-backed-securities portfolios, among other changes.

In fact, Frank & Co. made matters worse by pushing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to take on greater risk. They wanted more loans to people who might not qualify for traditional bank financing. And, as The Wall Street Journal has pointed out, Frank "pressured regulators to ease up on their capital requirements - which now means taxpayers will have to make up that capital shortfall."

Even now, after the government took the companies over (which Frank repeatedly said over the years was not a possibility), Frank opposes limits on the amount of money they can risk on mortgage backed securities - the one reform that might have done the most to prevent the current meltdown and probably would do the most to keep it from happening again.

Barney Frank is the very symbol of Washington's deliberate refusal to prevent the collapse - the predicted collapse - of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And this is the guy the New Hampshire Democratic Party showcases at its most prestigious annual event. That ought to tell you a lot right there."



Jimmah Carter started the rot that led to the present financial crisis

Much as Bush-hating media members conveniently ignore historical events that led to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, their current finger-pointing at the White House, John McCain, and all Republican politicians for the collapse of the financial services industry lacks any honest assessment of decades-old legislation that laid the groundwork for today's problems. In particular, 1977's Community Reinvestment Act which required banks and savings institutions to make loans to the lower-income areas in the communities they served.

Despite how integrally tied the current crisis is to this bill enacted by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed into law by Jimmy Carter, no major media outlet other than Investor's Business Daily and National Review Online mentioned it during last week's market meltdown. Going against the grain was a highly-informative editorial by IBD Thursday:
To hear today's Democrats, you'd think all this started in the last couple years. But the crisis began much earlier. The Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to lend to uncreditworthy borrowers, mostly in minority areas. Age-old standards of banking prudence got thrown out the window. In their place came harsh new regulations requiring banks not only to lend to uncreditworthy borrowers, but to do so on the basis of race.

These well-intended rules were supercharged in the early 1990s by President Clinton. Despite warnings from GOP members of Congress in 1992, Clinton pushed extensive changes to the rules requiring lenders to make questionable loans. [...] Failure to comply meant your bank might not be allowed to expand lending, add new branches or merge with other companies. Banks were given a so-called "CRA rating" that graded how diverse their lending portfolio was. [...] In the name of diversity, banks began making huge numbers of loans that they previously would not have. They opened branches in poor areas to lift their CRA ratings.

Meanwhile, Congress gave Fannie and Freddie the go-ahead to finance it all by buying loans from banks, then repackaging and securitizing them for resale on the open market. That's how the contagion began. With those changes, the subprime market took off. From a mere $35 billion in loans in 1994, it soared to $1 trillion by 2008.

Readers are strongly encouraged to review this entire fact-filled piece to not only better understand the roots of today's financial crisis, but also to get a sense as to just how absurd media accusations of this all being Bush and McCain's fault are.

That said, from 1989 through 1995, I managed branches for two savings and loans: Imperial Savings, which got taken over by the Resolution Trust Corporation during the S&L bailout, and; Great Western Bank which eventually was purchased by Washington Mutual. The pressure to comply with CRA was astounding, especially at Great Western as it was expanding throughout the country. Its ability to acquire other institutions was directly related to its CRA rating.

With this in mind, IBD's views concerning this matter are spot on raising a very important question: if the role of news media is to inform the public, why does a LexisNexis search indicate that as this crisis came to a head last week, its connection to CRA, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton was almost completely ignored?

Would such a revelation make it difficult for Obama-loving press outlets to point fingers at George W. Bush and, more importantly, John McCain? Yes, that's a rhetorical question.




One small step: "American Thinker justly can claim credit for legislation to protect Californians against at least one petty tyranny. SB 1491 in on the Governor's desk awaiting signature. It would allow citizens to refuse a remote controlled thermostat in their home or office. It is not all we wanted but it is something. This AT article triggered a national outcry, according to the New York Times. State Senator Tom McClintock deserves credit for SB 1491. He is running for Congress now."

Bush called for reform of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac 17 times in 2008 alone... Dems ignored warnings : "For many years the President and his Administration have not only warned of the systemic consequences of financial turmoil at a housing government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) but also put forward thoughtful plans to reduce the risk that either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac would encounter such difficulties. President Bush publicly called for GSE reform 17 times in 2008 alone before Congress acted. Unfortunately, these warnings went unheeded, as the President's repeated attempts to reform the supervision of these entities were thwarted by the legislative maneuvering of those who emphatically denied there were problems."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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