10/10/08

Pointing Fingers At Poor And Dems
By: Mark W Adams


Blaming poor people or Democrats for the financial meltdown doesn't pass the smell test, especially when Rupert Murdoch's outfits the NY Post and Fox Noise are the prime movers of the smear.

Or as Matt puts it,
The technical term for this argument is "bullshit."
Are McCain and the RNC really trying to tar Dodd and Frank for a lack of oversite? Really? This from the guys who ruled Congress for all but 4 of the last dozen years and have Bush's veto backstop for anything that fell through the record number of filibusters the last two?

Irony doesn't even touch the idea that they are now calling for oversight on anything. Get back to me when the indictments are handed down on Halliburton and Blackwater execs, or open up the records at Gitmo, abu Ghraib, or the supoenas are issued on the President's illegal wiretapping program and the CIA "black sites." When one of these hacks also demands Dick Cheney's safe be seized, I'll listen to them hyperventilate over the evils of the socialist conspiracy to bring down the free markets by putting a roof over some under privileged kids head.

Lenders were "forced" to make bad loans? Puhleeze. That kind of logical disconnect might appeal to these people, but that's just preaching to the choir anyway. That the payoffs were irresistible and the predatory/fraudulent behavior of commissioned loan sharks so easily masked had everything to do with the balooning of bad loans out there.

No one forced these guys to man phone banks targeting lower income minority neighborhoods, offering too-good-to-be-true deals on financing and refinancing their homes, only to switch lending agreements at the last minute or steer these folks into ARMs they couldn't afford later on. ACORN wasn't at fault when mortgage brokers encouraged people to "fudge" their income numbers a bit to get the deal done.

These guys (and girls too) got paid off the top when the loan closed and then shipped these mortgages on to one of maybe 50 or a hundred nameless lending institutions who relied on the non-existent due diligence of the brokers. That broker or his/her agent had no accountability under the system, and the system of fraud was widespread. So widespread that even if there had been a crackdown it's doubtful the current crisis would have been avoided.

But simple is as simple does.
To blame these CRA [Community Reinvestment Act] policies is a simple answer to a complex problem. Additionally, it fails to address the real problems that caused the current meltdown of our financial sector.
Needless to say, neither John McCain nor the greater hoard of his supporters do complexity. They don't want to hear it.

All these folks need to hear are the words "Jimmy Carter," "Janet Reno," "ACORN," and link Chris Dodd and Barney Frank to some kind of tenuous claim that Freddy Mac and Fanny Mae are to blame for the sub-prime mess when by definition if a mortgage was fit to be guaranteed by Freddy/Fanny, it was not sub-prime.

All Freddy/Fanny did was purchase the mortgage-backed securities designed to mask the risky nature of the loans they covered like everybody else. (That's why the crisis continues long after the Government took the mortgage giants back under its control.) Like everybody else, the quasi-government mortgage companies had no idea exactly what the risk was in these securities. No one knows to this day, which is why they're toxic. They aren't worthless, we just don't know what they're worth.

But it's scurrilous enough for election season, and Camp McCain and his army of media bloviators is running with it for all they're worth despite what logic or the facts actually are.

Media Matters for America has rebutted attacks on the CRA, noting that a large percentage of subprime mortgages were not made under the CRA, and noting comments made by Janet Yellen, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, in a March speech in which she said that "studies have shown that the CRA has increased the volume of responsible lending to low- and moderate-income households" [emphasis added]. Media Matters has also noted evidence showing that Fannie Mae was not a leader, but a follower, in the subprime lending market.

But most important, undermining Boortz's baseless charge are actions Frank has taken over the years to strengthen oversight of Fannie and Freddie. In the early 1990s, when Democrats held the majority in Congress before the Republican takeover in 1995, Frank supported bills to increase regulation of Fannie Mae and create a government regulatory agency that would supervise and have authority over some aspects of the company in 1991 and 1992. Moses was employed by Fannie Mae at that time. Moreover, in 2005, when Frank was the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, he worked with committee chairman Rep. Michael Oxley (R-OH) on the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2005, which would have established the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to oversee the activities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. After voting for the bill in committee, Frank voted against final passage of the bill on the House floor, stating that he was doing so because an amendment to the bill on the House floor imposed restrictions on the kinds of nonprofit organizations that could receive funding under the bill. In early 2007, as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank sponsored H.R. 1427, a bill to create the FHFA, granting that agency "general supervisory and regulatory authority over" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and directing it to reform the two companies' business practices and regulate their exposure to credit and market risk. The FHFA was eventually created after Congress incorporated provisions that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said were "similar" to those of H.R. 1427 into the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which the president signed into law on July 30.

That the Republicans have run roughshod over the liberals since 2000 is indisputable. Anyone is buying the garbage that anything other than unrestricted greed set loose on the nation under the rubrick of getting the government off our backs is deluded, misinformed, or simply clinging to an ideology that was fatally flawed and mortally wounded about two weeks ago.

2 Comments:

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