Posts Tagged ‘exempt’

Barney Frank And Democrat Party Most Responsible For 2008 Economic Collapse

August 10, 2010

I don’t want to ridicule Barney Frank on account of his weight.  Suffice it to say he is easily able to pull off the two faces he routinely wears, and the two sides he routinely takes.

Here’s the recent side of Barney Frank:

Frank: “well one of my biggest differences with the Bush administration, even with the Clinton administration, was that they overdid that. I have always been critical of this effort to equate a decent home with home ownership. I think we should have been doing more to provide rental housing, my efforts have been to try and get affordable rental housing I was very much in disagreement with this push into home ownership and I think the federal government should not be artificially doing that. The goal is for people to have decent housing and I think beginning in the Clinton administration, exacerbated by Bush, we pushed people too much into home ownership…”
– Barney Frank, May 20, ‘2010 on CNBC.

And here’s Frank from 2005 documenting the fact that Barney Frank in 2010 is a rank liar:

“This is a very important resolution, particularly at this time, because we have, I think, an excessive degree of concern right now about home ownership and its role in the economy.
Obviously, speculation is never a good thing. But those who argue that housing prices are now at the point of a bubble seem to be missing a very important point. Unlike previous examples, where substantial excessive inflation of prices later caused some problems, we are talking here about an entity, home ownership, homes, where there is not the degree of leverage that we have seen elsewhere.

This is not the dot-com situation. We had problems with people having invested in business plans for which there was no reality and people building fiber-optic cable for which there was no need. Homes that are occupied may see an ebb and flow in the price at a certain percentage level, but you will not see the collapse that you see when people talk about a bubble.

So those of us on our committee in particular will continue to push for home ownership.
– Barney Frank, 2005

link
Video Link

[I found these quotes at US Politics Online].

You’re right, Barney.  It wasn’t the Dot-com situation.  It was a hundred times WORSE than the Dot-com situation, even given as bad as the Dot-com bubble was.  And yeah, you sure were right when you said there wouldn’t be a collapse, weren’t you?

So first of all, we have Barney Frank – liberal Democrat par excellence – acknowledging that the bad policy that led to the mortgage market meltdown was actually a CLINTON policy that Bush merely continued (most likely because he knew he’d be called a “racist” the moment he ended a program that gave billions of dollars to minorities to buy homes they couldn’t afford).

From the New York Times, September 30, 1999:

Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

It’s beyond asinine that Democrats blame Bush for ruining the economy, and praise Clinton as having the mostest wonderfulest economy ever, when it was a Clinton program that ruined the Bush economy.  But that’s the mainstream media narrative for you.

It’s ironic that Frank in hindsight so laughably compared the housing mortgage bubble that brought down the economy in 2008 to the Dot-com bubble that brought down the economy just as Clinton was leaving office.  Because that’s TWO giant economy-killers that “Mister Wonderful Clinton” inflicted on George Bush.  The Clinton-era Dot-com crash ultimately destroyed 78% of the Nasdaq composite.  Clinton benefited with a huge market surge, and Bush paid with a huge market collapse that began taking place while the handprint on the Bible from Bush’s oath of office was still warm.

So Barney Frank reminds us that the destruction of the Bush economy was bookended by massive Clinton failures – the Dot-com bubble collapse in 2001 and the housing market bubble collapse in 2008.  And Clinton was never blamed for either of them by the propagandist mainstream media.

The second thing you can notice is that Democrats like Barney Frank – who were so quick to pounce all over the mortgage meltdown and blame Bush for it – were not only the ones who created the problem, but were the ones who defended the problem.

What’s the Democrat-mainstream media-created narrative for why we had the 2008 collapse?  Republicans refusing to regulate?  Read what the New York Times said back in September 11, 2003:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10— The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

So Bush WANTED to regulate, in contradiction to all the lies that you heard.

And who blocked those regulations?  Omigosh, it was Barney Frank and his Democrats.

These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

”I don’t see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,” Mr. Watt said.

You would find if you bothered to look at the facts that Bush demanded reform and regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac SEVENTEEN TIMES during his presidency.  And that Democrats refused to regulate the GSEs and even threatened filibusters against regulation.  Not that the mainstream media is honest enough to report the truth.

You would find if you bothered to look at the facts that financial experts literally predicted that the Clinton-birthed Fannie and Freddie expansion would ultimately explode.

Again from the New York Times, September 30, 1999:

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.

From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,” said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”

What do we have, even in the pages of the New York Slimes?  A prediction that as soon as the economy cooled off, the mortgage market wold explode like a depth charge and the government would have to step in to prevent a catastrophe?  From a Clinton program?

The same man – Peter Wallison – who had predicted the disaster from 1999 wrote a September 23, 2008 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Blame Fannie Mae and Congress For the Credit Mess.”

The New York Times acknowledged that Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “buy mortgages from lenders and repackage them as securities or hold them in their own portfolios.”

And the Los Angeles Times on May 31, 1999 describes how this process turned into a bubble, as more begat more, and then more and more begat more and more and more:

Lenders also have opened the door wider to minorities because of new initiatives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–the giant federally chartered corporations that play critical, if obscure, roles in the home finance system. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and bundle them into securities; that provides lenders the funds to lend more. . . .

In a nutshell, Fannie and Freddie, acting as Government sponsored enterprises, bought tens of millions of mortgages, and then repackaged them into huge mortgage-backed securities that giant private entities such as Bear Stearns, AIG and Lehman Brothers purchased.  What made these securities particularly attractive to the private banking entities was that these securities were essentially being sold – and had the backing – of the United States government.

Here’s the process:

The Role of the GSEs is to provide liquidity and stability to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. Step 1 Banks lend money to Households to purchase and refinance home mortgages Step 2 The GSEs purchase these mortgage from the banks Step 3 GSEs bundle the mortgages into mortgage-backed securities Step 4 GSEs sell mortgage-backed and debt securities to domestic and international capital investors Step 5 Investors pay GSEs for purchase of debt and securities Step 6 GSEs return funds to banks to lend out again for the issuance of new mortgage loans.

Now, an intelligent observer would note a conflict: the GSE’s role was to “provide stability,” and yet they were taking on “significantly more risk” in the final year of the Clinton presidency.  What’s wrong with this picture?

The GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were designed to bundle up the mortgages into mortgage backed securities and then sell them to the private market.

Fannie Mae is exempt from SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] regulation. Which screams why Bush wanted to regulate them.  This allowed Fannie Mae to bundle up mortgages, which were then rated AAA with no requirement to make clear what is in the bundle.  Which screams why Bush wanted to regulate them.

This is what has allowed toxic instruments that have been sold across the world.  It also created a situation where money institutions did not know and could not find out whether potential inter-bank business partners were holding these “boiled babies on their books, complete with a golden stamp on the wrapping,” rather than safe instruments.  This then inclined banks to a natural caution, to be wary of lending good money to other banks against these ‘assets’.  And thus banks refused to lend to one another.

John McCain wrote a letter in 2006 urging reform and regulation of the GSEs.  He said:

Congress chartered Fannie and Freddie to provide access to home financing by maintaining liquidity in the secondary mortgage market. Today, almost half of all mortgages in the U.S. are owned or guaranteed by these GSEs. They are mammoth financial institutions with almost $1.5 Trillion of debt outstanding between them. With the fiscal challenges facing us today (deficits, entitlements, pensions and flood insurance), Congress must ask itself who would actually pay this debt if Fannie or Freddie could not?

An of course, they could not pay their debts.  Fannie and Freddie basically went bankrupt and were taken over.  And they took a whopping share of the biggest financial institutions down with them.  Fannie is in the process of devouring nearly 400 billion dollars of bailout money from the American taxpayer.  And now – GREAT GOOGLEY MOOGLEYObama is planning to funnel yet another $800 BILLION through the same Fannie and Freddie who already destroyed us once.

And thus you had a financial disaster created by one William Jefferson Clinton and one Democrat Party.  And now a second act of economic destruction is being planned by Barack Obama.

The 2008 economic collapse that Democrats were elected to fix was itself created by Democrats who will now continue the very policies that created the disaster in the first place.

Democrats then demonized Bush for merely being there when the disaster happened.  When they had created the mess, and when they had refused to allow Bush to do anything to prevent a Democrat-created disaster that he and other Republicans saw coming, but ultimately lacked the courage to stop.

Advertisements

An Intelligent Citizen Analyzes What The Health Bill Actually Says

August 12, 2009

I don’t have a single doubt that Professor John David Lewis is an outstanding professor of the Classics.  He took his expertise in reading and understanding and put them to work in an analysis of the House health care legislation that is currently available.  He cites relevant sections of the bill and explains them in English (versus legalese or medicalese).  If you want a better understanding of what this plan will do to Americans and to the country, it is very much worth reading:

The version at Lewis’ site is “cleaner” with better formatting, and I would recommend you read it there.  I include the full text here because a) it is really good; b) I would like to ensure this gets as much attention as possible; and c) if it goes down in one place, it’s nice that it is preserved in another.

The Health Care Bill: What HR 3200, ‘‘America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” Says

John David Lewis

August 6, 2009

What does the bill, HR 3200, short-titled ‘‘America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” actually say about major health care issues? I here pose a few questions in no particular order, citing relevant passages and offering a brief evaluation after each set of passages.

This bill is 1017 pages long. It is knee-deep in legalese and references to other federal regulations and laws. I have only touched pieces of the bill here. For instance, I have not considered the establishment of (1) “Health Choices Commissio0ner” (Section 141); (2) a “Health Insurance Exchange,” (Section 201), basically a government run insurance scheme to coordinate all insurance activity; (3) a Public Health Insurance Option (Section 221); and similar provisions.

This is the evaluation of someone who is neither a physician nor a legal professional. I am citizen, concerned about this bill’s effects on my freedom as an American. I would rather have used my time in other ways—but this is too important to ignore.

We may answer one question up front: How will the government will pay for all this? Higher taxes, more borrowing, printing money, cutting payments, or rationing services—there are no other options.  We will all pay for this, enrolled in the government “option” or not.

(All bold type within the text of the bill is added for emphasis.)

1.      1.  WILL THE PLAN RATION MEDICAL CARE?

This is what the bill says, pages 284-288, SEC. 1151. REDUCING POTENTIALLY PREVENTABLE HOSPITAL READMISSIONS:

‘(ii) EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN READMISSIONS.—For purposes of clause (i), with respect to a hospital, excess readmissions shall not include readmissions for an applicable condition for which there are fewer than a minimum number (as determined by the Secretary) of discharges for such applicable condition for the applicable period and such hospital.

and, under “Definitions”:

‘‘(A) APPLICABLE CONDITION.—The term ‘applicable condition’ means, subject to subparagraph (B), a condition or procedure selected by the Secretary . . .

and:

‘‘(E) READMISSION.—The term ‘readmission’ means, in the case of an individual who is discharged from an applicable hospital, the admission of the individual to the same or another applicable hospital within a time period specified by the Secretary from the date of such discharge.

and:

‘‘(6) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, section 1878, or otherwise of— . . .

‘‘(C) the measures of readmissions . . .

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:

1.       This section amends the Social Security Act

2.      The government has the power to determine what constitutes an “applicable [medical] condition.”

3.      The government has the power to determine who is allowed readmission into a hospital.

4.      This determination will be made by statistics: when enough people have been discharged for the same condition, an individual may be readmitted.

5.      This is government rationing, pure, simple, and straight up.

6.      There can be no judicial review of decisions made here. The Secretary is above the courts.

7.      The plan also allows the government to prohibit hospitals from expanding without federal permission: page 317-318.

2. Will the plan punish Americans who try to opt out?

What the bill says, pages 167-168, section 401, TAX ON INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT ACCEPTABLE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE:

‘‘(a) TAX IMPOSED.—In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of—

(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over

(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer. . . .”

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGE:

1.      This section amends the Internal Revenue Code.

2.      Anyone caught without acceptable coverage and not in the government plan will pay a special tax.

3.      The IRS will be a major enforcement mechanism for the plan.

3.                  what constitutes “acceptable” coverage?

Here is what the bill says, pages 26-30, SEC. 122, ESSENTIAL BENEFITS PACKAGE DEFINED:

(a) IN GENERAL.—In this division, the term ‘‘essential benefits package’’ means health benefits coverage, consistent with standards adopted under section 124 to ensure the provision of quality health care and financial security . . .

(b) MINIMUM SERVICES TO BE COVERED.—The items and services described in this subsection are the following:

(1) Hospitalization.

(2) Outpatient hospital and outpatient clinic services . . .

(3) Professional services of physicians and other health professionals.

(4) Such services, equipment, and supplies incident to the services of a physician’s or a health professional’s delivery of care . . .

(5) Prescription drugs.

(6) Rehabilitative and habilitative services.

(7) Mental health and substance use disorder services.

(8) Preventive services . . .

(9) Maternity care.

(10) Well baby and well child care . . .

(c) REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO COST-SHARING AND MINIMUM ACTUARIAL VALUE . . .

(3) MINIMUM ACTUARIAL VALUE.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The cost-sharing under the essential benefits package shall be designed to provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to approximately 70 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the reference benefits package described in subparagraph (B).

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:

1.      The bill defines “acceptable coverage” and leaves no room for choice in this regard.

2.      By setting a minimum 70%  actuarial value of benefits, the bill makes health plans in which individuals pay for routine services, but carry insurance only for catastrophic events, (such as Health Savings Accounts) illegal.

4.                  Will the PLAN destroy private health insurance?

Here is what it requires, for businesses with payrolls greater than $400,000 per year. (The bill uses “contribution” to refer to mandatory payments to the government plan.)  Pages 149-150, SEC. 313, EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS IN LIEU OF COVERAGE

(a) IN GENERAL.—A contribution is made in accordance with this section with respect to an employee if such contribution is equal to an amount equal to 8 percent of  the average wages paid by the employer during the period of enrollment (determined by taking into account all employees of the employer and in such manner as the Commissioner provides, including rules providing for the appropriate aggregation of related employers). Any such contribution—

(1) shall be paid to the Health Choices Commissioner for deposit into the Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund, and

(2) shall not be applied against the premium of the employee under the Exchange-participating health benefits plan in which the employee is enrolled.

(The bill then includes a sliding scale of payments for business with less than $400,000 in annual payroll.)

The Bill also reserves, for the government, the power to determine an acceptable benefits plan: page 24, SEC. 115. ENSURING ADEQUACY OF PROVIDER NETWORKS.

5 (a) IN GENERAL.—A qualified health benefits plan that uses a provider network for items and services shall meet such standards respecting provider networks as the Commissioner may establish to assure the adequacy of such networks in ensuring enrollee access to such items and services and transparency in the cost-sharing differentials between in-network coverage and out-of-network coverage.

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:

1.      The bill does not prohibit a person from buying private insurance.

2.      Small businesses—with say 8-10 employees—will either have to provide insurance to federal standards, or pay an 8% payroll tax. Business costs for health care are higher than this, especially considering administrative costs. Any competitive business that tries to stay with a private plan will face a payroll disadvantage against competitors who go with the government “option.”

3.      The pressure for business owners to terminate the private plans will be enormous.

4.      With employers ending plans, millions of Americans will lose their private coverage, and fewer companies will offer it.

5.      The Commissioner (meaning, always, the bureaucrats) will determine whether a particular network of physicians, hospitals and insurance is acceptable.

6.      With private insurance starved, many people enrolled in the government “option” will have no place else to go.

5.                  Does the plan TAX successful Americans more THAN OTHERS?

Here is what the bill says, pages 197-198, SEC. 441. SURCHARGE ON HIGH INCOME INDIVIDUALS

‘‘SEC. 59C. SURCHARGE ON HIGH INCOME INDIVIDUALS.

‘‘(a) GENERAL RULE.—In the case of a taxpayer other than a corporation, there is hereby imposed (in addition to any other tax imposed by this subtitle) a tax equal to—

‘‘(1) 1 percent of so much of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer as exceeds $350,000 but does not exceed $500,000,

‘‘(2) 1.5 percent of so much of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer as exceeds $500,000 but does not exceed $1,000,000, and

‘‘(3) 5.4 percent of so much of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer as exceeds $1,000,000.

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGE:

1.      This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code.

2.      Tax surcharges  are levied on those with the highest incomes.

3.      The plan manipulates the tax code to redistribute their wealth.

4.      Successful business owners will bear the highest cost of this plan.

6.      6.  Does THE PLAN ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT TO set FEES FOR SERVICES?

What it says, page 124, Sec. 223, PAYMENT RATES FOR ITEMS AND SERVICES:

(d) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this subtitle shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority to correct for payments that are excessive or deficient, taking into account the provisions of section 221(a) and the amounts paid for similar health care providers and services under other Exchange-participating health benefits plans.

(e) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this subtitle shall be construed as affecting the authority of the Secretary to establish payment rates, including payments to provide for the more efficient delivery of services, such as the initiatives provided for under section 224.

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:

  1. The government’s authority to set payments is basically unlimited.
  2. The official will decide what constitutes “excessive,” “deficient,” and “efficient” payments and services.

7.                  Will THE PLAN increase the power of government officials to SCRUTINIZE our private affairs?

What it says, pages 195-196, SEC. 431. DISCLOSURES TO CARRY OUT HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE SUBSIDIES.

‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary, upon written request from the Health Choices Commissioner or the head of a State-based health insurance exchange approved for operation under section 208 of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, shall disclose to officers and employees of the Health Choices Administration or such State-based health insurance exchange, as the case may be, return information of any taxpayer whose income is relevant in determining any affordability credit described in subtitle C of title II of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. Such return information shall be limited to—

‘‘(i) taxpayer identity information with respect to such taxpayer,

‘‘(ii) the filing status of such taxpayer,

‘‘(iii) the modified adjusted gross income of such taxpayer (as defined in section 59B(e)(5)),

‘‘(iv) the number of dependents of the taxpayer,

‘‘(v) such other information as is prescribed by the Secretary by regulation as might indicate whether the taxpayer is eligible for such affordability credits (and the amount thereof), and

‘‘(vi) the taxable year with respect to which the preceding information relates or, if applicable, the fact that such information is not available.

And, page 145, section 312, EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS EMPLOYEE AND DEPENDENT COVERAGE:

(3) PROVISION OF INFORMATION.—The employer provides the Health Choices Commissioner, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of the Treasury, as applicable, with such information as the Commissioner may require to ascertain compliance with the requirements of this section.

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGE:

1.      This section amends the Internal Revenue Code

2.      The bill opens up income tax return information to federal officials.

3.      Any stated “limits” to such information are circumvented by item (v), which allows federal officials to decide what information is needed.

4.      Employers are required to report whatever information the government says it needs to enforce the plan.

8.      8.  Does the plan automatically enroll Americans in the GOVERNMENT plan?

What it says, page 102, Section 205, Outreach and enrollment of Exchange-eligible individuals and employers in Exchange-participating health benefits plan:

(3) AUTOMATIC ENROLLMENT OF MEDICAID ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS INTO MEDICAID.—The Commissioner shall provide for a process under which an individual who is described in section 202(d)(3) and has not elected to enroll in an Exchange-participating health benefits plan is automatically enrolled under Medicaid.

And, page 145, section 312:

(4) AUTOENROLLMENT OF EMPLOYEES.—The employer provides for autoenrollment of the employee in accordance with subsection (c).

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:

1.       Do nothing and you are in.

2.      Employers are responsible for automatically enrolling people who still work.

9.      9.  Does THE PLAN exempt federal OFFICIALS from COURT REVIEW?

What it says, page 124, Section 223, PAYMENT RATES FOR ITEMS AND SERVICES:

(f) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review of a payment rate or methodology established under this section or under section 224.

And, page 256, SEC. 1123. PAYMENTS FOR EFFICIENT AREAS.

‘‘(C) LIMITATION ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, 1878, or otherwise, respecting—

‘‘(i) the identification of a county or other area under subparagraph (A); or

‘‘(ii) the assignment of a postal ZIP Code to a county or other area under subparagraph (B).

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:

1.      Sec. 1123 amends the Social Security Act, to allow the Secretary to identify areas of the country that underutilize the government’s plan “based on per capita spending.”

2.      Parts of the plan are set above the review of the courts.

I leave you with a diagram of the health care plan that the Democrats assure us will put “government efficiency” to work for the taxpayer:

Health-Care_Democrats-plan-Charted