Posts Tagged ‘financial collapse’

Barack Obama And His Fascist Crony Capitalist Connections To MF Global, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup – And A Coming $600 Trillion Collapse

January 5, 2012

The American people are routinely lied to by the Democrat machine and the mainstream media that serve as their propagandists. 

The message that we are fed is that the Republican Party is the party of big money and Wall Street.

It’s a lie.  It is literally a lie straight out of hell.

A look at a few incredibly pathetic and incredibly nasty recent events serve to document that it is a lie, and if you want to look at crony capitalist fascism, you need to look at Barack Hussein Obama.

First of all, we’ve heard about the catastrophe that has been caused by MF Global – a Wall Street big boy led by a former Democrat Governor with deep ties to Obama:

Is Jon Corzine having a Bernie Madoff moment?
 
Corzine told the many congressional panels he was hauled in front of this week that it was not his intention to violate any rules in regard to commingling customer’s funds, and yet six weeks after the Halloween bankruptcy filing, it’s scary to think that $1.2 billion in customer funds still have not been found.
 
Some three years ago this week, a Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer said this: “Our task is to find the records and follow the money,” while beginning a probe into Bernie Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme. “We do not dispute his number — we just have not calculated how he made it,” the lawyer said.

By definition in the Madoff Ponzi scheme, he used one client’s money to pay off another client. Madoff commingled or pooled assets to pay redemptions. He admitted to fraud, along with 10 other federal felonies.
 
While neither Corzine nor any other MF Global executive has been charged with any criminal wrongdoing at this point, Terry Duffy, head of CME Group, said during his congressional testimony: “The fact is that MF Global broke rules by moving customer-segregated funds out of an account over which it had control.”
 
Another parallel between MF Global and Madoff is that both firms — while dealing with very different products — self-cleared their trades.
 
That commonality is important because the books, records, settlement and capital flows are essentially being prepared by, and for the same beneficial interests as, the broker dealers, and are fraught with potential for corner-cutting and potentially nefarious actions.
 
Third-party clearing is just that. Another large clearing broker dealer oversees the books, records and flow of customer funds. If MF were cleared by a third party — say, JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs — it is highly unlikely that MF would be in the news today.
 
Both Madoff and Corzine used their positions to cozy up with the regulators in charge of oversight of their companies.

Here’s what Barack Obama and Joe Biden said about their utterly vile crony capitalist budy Jon Corzine:

• “You’ve had an honorable man, a decent man, an honest man, at the helm of this state. … He’s fought for what matters to ordinary folks.”

• “People…say, ‘You know, I was saving up all my life. …. Suddenly, because of this financial crisis, I may have to go back to work.’ “

• “Jon knows these are challenging times. This is why he got into public service. He didn’t do it for the paycheck.”

• “This crisis…came about because of the same theories, the same lax regulation, the same trickle-down economics that the other guy’s party has been peddling for years.”

• “Jon’s got the mop and he’s cleaning up after somebody else’s mess.”

• “One of the things you’ve got in Jon Corzine is somebody who tells it to you straight,” Mr Obama said.

• “Jon’s a leader who’s been called to govern in some extraordinary times,” Obama said while campaigning for Corzine in 2009. “Jon Corzine wasn’t just the first governor to pass an economic recovery plan for his state. He was an ally with the Obama administration in helping us develop a national recovery plan.”

• “I literally picked up the phone and called Jon Corzine and said Jon, what do you think we should do,” Biden said. “The reason we called Jon is that we knew that he knew about the economy, about world markets, how we had to respond, unlike almost anyone we knew. It was because he had been in the pit — because he had been in the furnace. And we trusted his judgment.”

• “Way back in the transition period, before we were sworn in, when Barack Obama and I were literally sitting at a desk in a high rise in Chicago, beginning the plan on how we would try to get this economy out of a ditch, literally, the first guy I called was Jon Corzine. It’s not a joke. It’s not a joke. First of all, he’s the smartest guy I know in terms of the economy and on finance, and I really mean that.”

Then there was this latest news that MF Global sold a whole bunch of assets to Goldman Sachs – a scumbag crony capitalist Wall Street big boy if there ever was one.  As you read this, I want you to consider the names of the people and institutions.  I will explain what an utterly godawful collection of demonic players we have in my paragraphs to follow:

MF Global Sold Assets to Goldman Before Collapse
Published: Wednesday, 4 Jan 2012 | 2:57 AM ET

MF Global unloaded hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of securities to Goldman Sachs in the days leading up to its collapse, according to two former MF Global employees with direct knowledge of the transactions.

But it did not immediately receive payment from its clearing firm and lender, JPMorgan Chase & Co, one of the sources said.

The sale of securities to Goldman occurred on Oct.27, just days before MF Global filed for bankruptcy on Oct.31, the ex-employees said.

One of the employees said the transactions were cleared with JPMorgan Chase.

At the same time MF Global, which was run by former Goldman Sachs head Jon Corzine, was selling securities to Goldman to raise badly needed cash, the futures firm was also drawing down a $1.2 billion revolving line of credit it had with JPMorgan, according to one of the former MF Global employees.

JPMorgan spokeswoman Mary Sedarat said the bank did not withold money because of the line of credit. She declined further comment on details of the transactions.

JPMorgan has fought aggressively in bankruptcy court to protect its interests, and received a lien on some of MF Global’s assets in exchange for granting the firm $8 million to fund its bankruptcy costs.

The lien puts JPMorgan’s interests ahead of MF Global customers who have not yet received an estimated $900 million worth of money from their accounts, which remain frozen as regulators search for missing funds.

The hastily crafted transactions and the seeming inability of MF Global to recoup some of the money in the sale to Goldman may start to explain why so much money remains unaccounted for at the futures firm.

It is unclear what type of assets Goldman bought from MF Global, but the securities were worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the former employees said.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that George Soros’ fund was a buyer of securities sold by MF Global, scooping-up some of its European sovereign debt at a deep discount.

Panic among investors and clients about MF Global’s $6.3 billion bet on European sovereign bonds led to its demise.

Corzine, who was CEO of MF Global at the time of the collapse, headed Goldman Sachs from 1994 to 1999 before being ousted after a power struggle with co-CEO Henry Paulson.

Corzine and other top MF Global executives reached out in desperation to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, as well as Jefferies Group, Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie Group, State Street Corp and Wells Fargo, as potential buyers in its final days as the firm teetered toward collapse, Reuters earlier reported.

So let’s take a look at Obama’s connection to Goldman Sachs:

That’s right.  Goldman Sachs was Obama’s number two donor, to the tune of well over a million dollars.

I wrote something that hasn’t yet been published online about derivatives and how they have created the guaranteed implosion and collapse of the American and in fact global economic system:

What are derivatives? Some investors describe them as “dormant economic weapons of mass destruction”. They essentially are large leveraged bets on top of stocks, bonds and commodities. Money can be made within months or seconds by betting if a stock will go up, down or even remain the same. With no credit rating you can place a bet worth double your account balance. Big time investors get greater leverage with these instantaneous loans.

The New York Times, Oct 8th 2008 [the New York Times, as is so common with the left, purged this link, but the quote is also cited here]:

The derivatives market is $531 trillion, up from $106 trillion in 2002. This market is setup with odds similar to a racetrack. Trillions are won and lost (transferred) every second. But unlike a racetrack the big players have ultimate control. Their trillions can make stocks move. A 4% up swing in a stock can cause a derivative bet to rise more than 100% in value or vice versa. A low performing stock that rises only 6% a year could actually have many 3, 6 or 9 percent swings weekly or monthly (some stocks daily). There are billions to be made over and over again by the people that control billions and trillions thus the markets. A grand game approved by the top.”

There are over $600 trillion in derivatives floating around, most of it held by four banks whose failure would cause global economic catastrophe (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs).  The entire world’s GDP is $65 trillion; so there is literally not enough money on the entire planet to backstop the banks that are trading these things if they run into trouble.  And there is very good reason to believe that they’re running into trouble.  What kind of economic collapse would be triggered???

There was never ANYTHING like these “economic weapons of mass destruction” before.  How many of you have followed Jon Corzine and MF Global and the $1.7 billion (it just keeps going up – from $633 million to $1.2 billion to the latest $1.7 billion) in investor money that has simply vanished in the aftermath of bad bets on the European debt crisis???

Does that sound scary?  How about if I just talk about a mere $211 trillion in debt just for the USA instead?

Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says “If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That’s the fiscal gap,” he says. “That’s our true indebtedness.”

Writing in the September issue of Finance and Development, a journal of the International Monetary Fund, Prof. Kotlikoff says the IMF itself has quietly confirmed that the U.S. is in terrible fiscal trouble – far worse than the Washington-based lender of last resort has previously acknowledged. “The U.S. fiscal gap is huge,” the IMF asserted in a June report.

The above article describing our actual debt as $211 trillion written in August of 2011, and it’s ancient history now: our official debt isn’t $14 trillion anymore; now it’s over $15 trillionand about to soar to more than $16.394 trillion – just one half of one year later (see also here for more on that)!!!

The UK Telegraph has an article titled, “How the Fed triggered the Arab Spring uprisings in two easy graphs.”  It’s all starting to go completely out of control.  A collapse is coming that will make the Great Depression look like a child’s birthday party.  The present world system simply cannot continue much longer without a complete breakdown.  You can hear the approaching hoofbeats…

Here’s that graph which directly links the euphemistically titled “Arab Spring” (Spring is supposed to be a good thing) as food riots tied to Obama’s reckless fiscal policies:

It’s not an “Arab Spring” of democracy as oppressed people are inspired by Obama, as the demonic media have tried to argue.  Rather,the Arab countries that have collapsed or are collapsing are oil producers and therefore are backed by the U.S. dollar.  And Obama has imploded the value of those currencies by radically devaluing the dollar due to his reckless and immoral policies.

When you take an informed look at the facts, it is frankly stunning how horribly Obama has mismanaged the Middle East.  And it is only a matter of time before that world will blow up because of what Obama has done.

Now, here’s another thing: take a look at the four banks that are the worst of the very worst, and then look at Obama’s donor list: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup are ALL on Obama’s top ten list of donors.

The people who gave us financial hell in 2008 also gave us Obama.  That is a documented fact.  The too-big-to-fail big money corrupt crony capitalist Wall Street big boys who collapsed our economy – and I guarantee you that collapse aint nowhere NEAR over yet – are the same quivering piles of vile slime that we have to thank for Barry Hussein.

Let me tell you something, a global collapse unlike anything that has ever been seen by mankind is coming.  And Barack Obama is crawling all over the forces that are most behind that coming collapse.

Note that I haven’t even mentioned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac yet.  These Government Sponsored Enterprises were at the heart of the mortgage market collapse in 2008.  And Barack Obama was their champion while he took more money in less time from them (Dodd took his money over twenty years) than any politician in American history:

I also notice how you utterly fail to mention the gigantic role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the 2008 collapse:

https://startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/aei-article-how-fannie-and-freddie-blew-up-the-economy/

https://startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/barney-frank-and-democrat-party-most-responsible-for-2008-economic-collapse/

https://startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/2009/08/03/who-really-exploded-your-economy-liberals-or-conservatives/

https://startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/democrats-set-up-america-for-2008-collapse-and-barack-obama-became-their-king/

http://startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/2009/12/31/with-eyes-finally-wide-open-reconsider-why-the-economy-collapsed-in-the-first-place/

https://startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/democrat-lies-about-their-key-role-in-2008-economic-collapse-reaches-laughable-proportions/

https://startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/2009/07/08/biden-we-misread-the-economy-and-its-all-the-republicans-fault/

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were created by Democrats. It was perennially staffed with Democrats. It had the sole power to bundle mortgages into the “mortgage backed securites” and then sell those securities to the private market under the guise that they were government and therefore AAA. It got massively into subprime loans to literally piss into those mortgage backed securities even as it made it impossible to tell a good security from a bad one. It forced banks to make utterly STUPID loans that went belly-up.

Watch these videos to see that Fannie Mae was responsible, and Democrats were responsible for preventing ANY regulation at ALL on Fannie Mae:

http://digitalartpress.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/video-proof-democrat-party-warned-responsible-for-fannie-mae-freddie-mac-economic-crisis-repost/

https://startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/barney-frank-video-proves-democrats-at-core-of-2008-economic-collapse/

George Bush tried SEVENTEEN TIMES to reform and regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And Democrats stopped him at every single turn until it was too damned late. Look at the timeline: FANNIE and FREDDIE went bankrupt first before anybody else – and they had over sixty percent of the housing mortgage market and there was no stopping the crash that Demoncrats (demonic bureaucratic rodents) created.

Barack Obama is ALL OVER the past and future collapse of the United States of America.  That is a fact.

The disaster that is coming, the disaster that Barack Obama is behind, will be of biblical proportions.  So it is only fitting I end by quoting the Bible:

1 John 2:8-19 says:

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”

Jesus from Matthew 24:45:

Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.

Barack Obama is an antichrist.  He is most certainly not a Christian, though he claims to have come from a “Christian church” that is actually a racist, anti-American and Marxist cesspool.  Obama has championed over 54 million abortions that the Democrat Party is responsible for in America – including outright infanticide; he has either openly mocked the Bible or twisted and distorted its meaning so massively that it is frankly stunning.

The mainstream media propaganda REPEATEDLY crowned Obama with their messianic halo:

And, more than and unlike ANY American leader who has ever come before, Barack Obama has been hailed as “the messiah.”

Believe me, the guy qualifies for what Jesus Christ and St. John warned us about.  No one has EVER qualified more than Obama, save for maybe Adolf Hitler.

He’s not.  Period.  Rather, he is a false messiah, one of the antichrists we were warned about, who is going to bring hell to America and to the world before he hands over power to the TRUE antichrist whose coming will be hastened by the calamity that Obama has caused and still is causing.

Barack Obama is going to cause a financial calamity that will devastate the world and lead to the coming of the four horsemen of the apocalypse as described by Revelation chapter 6.

I’ve given you at least eight hundred and eleven trillion reasons for that conclusion.

The beast is coming.

Update, 4/23/12: Just to point out how corrupt Obama is, Jon Corzine is STILL bundling campaign money for him.

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Did Someone Just Say Cloward And Piven? Former SEIU Top Level Official Caught On Tape Conspiring To Implode America

March 23, 2011

Other than the fact that the left – liberals, progressive, Democrats, unions, the whole enchilada – are genuinely depraved un-American traitors, they really aren’t so bad.

Let me deal with a couple of possible objections before the article.  First of all, Steven Lerner hasn’t been “former” that long.  He left with Andy Stern, the man who visited Obama in the White House more than anyone else.  Second, this tactic that Lerner is describing isn’t merely some kind of a “theoretical” tactic.  It has been employed, and is continuing to be employed, by SEIU.

And it is the intimate association between Barack Obama and the SEIU (“Your agenda has been my agenda…”) that makes this really, really frightening.

I have on several occasions discussed Obama as having a Cloward and Piven agenda for America.

Politico Article Reveals Obama’s Cloward-Piven Strategy Backfiring

Obama’s Cloward-Piven Redistributionism Shaping The Future Collapse

Cloward-Piven Alive And Well: Progressives CONTINUE To Push For Destruction Of U.S. System

ObamaCare Is Cloward-Piven Strategy In Microcosm

Here it is.  And by that I mean both, “Here’s the article revealing Obama’s SEIU’s plan to destroy America,” and “Here’s Obama’s and the SEIU’s Cloward-Piven plan”:

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Former SEIU Official Reveals Secret Plan To Destroy JP Morgan, Crash The Stock Market, And Redistribute Wealth In America
Henry Blodget | Mar. 22, 2011, 9:44 AM

A former official of one of the country’s most-powerful unions, SEIU, has a secret plan to “destabilize” the country.  

The plan is designed to destroy JP Morgan, nuke the stock market, and weaken Wall Street’s grip on power, thus creating the conditions necessary for a redistribution of wealth and a change in government.

The former SEIU official, Stephen Lerner, spoke in a closed session at a Pace University forum last weekend.

The Blaze procured what appears to be a tape of Lerner’s remarks. Many Americans will undoubtedly sympathize with and support them. Still, the “destabilization” plan is startling in its specificity, especially coming so close on the heels of the financial crisis.

Lerner said that unions and community organizations are, for all intents and purposes, dead. The only way to achieve their goals, therefore–the redistribution of wealth and the return of “$17 trillion” stolen from the middle class by Wall Street–is to “destabilize the country.”

Lerner’s plan is to organize a mass, coordinated “strike” on mortgage, student loan, and local government debt payments–thus bringing the banks to the edge of insolvency and forcing them to renegotiate the terms of the loans.  This destabilization and turmoil, Lerner hopes, will also crash the stock market, isolating the banking class and allowing for a transfer of power.

Lerner’s plan starts by attacking JP Morgan Chase in early May, with demonstrations on Wall Street, protests at the annual shareholder meeting, and then calls for a coordinated mortgage strike.

Lerner also says explicitly that, although the attack will benefit labor unions, it cannot be seen as being organized by them. It must therefore be run by community organizations.

Lerner was ousted from SEIU last November, reportedly for spending millions of the union’s dollars trying to pursue a plan like the one he details here.  It is not clear what, if any, power and influence he currently wields. His main message–that Wall Street won the financial crisis, that inequality in this country is hitting record levels, and that there appears to be no other way to stop the trend–will almost certainly resonate.

A transcript of Lerner’s full reported remarks is below, courtesy of The Blaze. We have heard the tape, but we have not independently verified that the voice is Lerner’s.  You can listen to the tape here.

Here are the key remarks:

Unions are almost dead. We cannot survive doing what we do but the simple fact of the matter is community organizations are almost dead also. And if you think about what we need to do it may give us some direction which is essentially what the folks that are in charge – the big banks and everything – what they want is stability.

There are actually extraordinary things we could do right now to start to destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.

For example, 10% of homeowners are underwater right their home they are paying more for it then its worth 10% of those people are in strategic default, meaning they are refusing to pay but they are staying in their home that’s totally spontaneous they figured out it takes a year to kick me out of my home because foreclosure is backed up

If you could double that number you would  you could put banks at the edge of insolvency again.

Students have a trillion dollar debt

We have an entire economy that is built on debt and banks so the question would be what would happen if we organized homeowners in mass to do a mortgage strike if we get half a million people to agree  it would literally cause a new finical crisis for the banks not for us we would be doing quite well  we wouldn’t be paying anything…

We have to think much more creatively. The key thing… What does the other side fear the most – they fear disruption. They fear uncertainty. Every article about Europe says in they rioted in Greece the markets went down

The folks that control this country care about one thing how the stock market goes what the bond market does how the bonuses goes. We have a very simple strategy:

  • How do we bring down the stock market
  • How do we bring down their bonuses
  • How do we interfere with there ability to be rich…

So a bunch of us around the country think who would be a really good company to hate we decided that would be JP Morgan Chase  and so we are going to roll out over the next couple of months what would hopefully be an exciting campaign about JP Morgan Chase that is really about challenge the power of Wall Street.

And so what we are looking at is the first week in May can we get enough people together starting now to really have an week of action in New York I don’t want to give any details because I don’t know if there are any police agents in the room.

The goal would be that we will roll out of New York the first week of May. We will connect three ideas

  • that we are not broke there is plenty of money
  • they have the money  – we need to get it back
  • and that they are using Bloomberg and other people in government as the vehicle to try and  destroy us

And so we need to take on those folks at the same time. And that we will start here we are going to look at a week of civil disobedience – direct action all over the city. Then roll into the JP Morgan shareholder meeting which they moved out of New York because I guess they were afraid because of Columbus.

There is going to be a ten state mobilization to try and shut down that meeting and then looking at bank shareholder meetings around the country and try and create some moments like Madison except where we are on offense instead of defense

Where we have brave and heroic battles challenging the power of the giant corporations. We hope to inspire a much bigger movement about redistributing wealth and power in the country and that labor can’t do itself that community groups can’t do themselves but maybe we can work something new and different that can be brave enough  and daring and nimble enough to do that kind of thing.

FULL TRANSCRIPT FROM THE BLAZE

SPEAKER: Stephen Lerner. Speaker at the Left Forum 2011 “Towards a Politics of Solidarity” Pace University March 19, 2011

Speaker Bio: Stephen Lerner is the architect of the SEIU’s groundbreaking Justice for Janitors campaign.  He led the union’s banking and finance campaign and has partnered with unions and groups in Europe, South American and elsewhere in campaigns to hold financial institutions accountable. As director of the union’s private equity project, he launched a long campaign to expose the over-leveraged feeding frenzy of private equity firms during the boom years that led to the ensuing economic disaster.

TRANSCRIPT:

It feels to me after a long time of being on defense that something is starting to turn in the world and we just have to decide if we are on defense or offense

Maybe there is a different way to look at some of theses questions  it’s hard for me to think about any part of organizing without thinking what just happened with this economic crisis and what it means

I don’t know how to have a discussion about labor and community if we don’t first say what do we need to do at this time in history what is the strategy that gives us some chance of winning because I spent my life time as a union organizer justice for janitors a lot of things

It seems we are at a moment where the world is going to get much much worse or much much better

Unions are almost dead we cannot survive doing what we do but the simple fact of the matter is community organizations are almost dead also and if you think about what we need to do it may give us some direction which is essentially what the folks that are in charge – the big banks and everything – what they want is stability

Every time there is a crisis in the world they say, well, the markets are stable.

What’s changed in America is the economy doing well has nothing to do with the rest of us

They figured out that they don’t need us to be rich they can do very well in a global market without us so what does this have to do with community and labor organizing more.

We need to figure out in a much more through direct action more concrete way how we are really trying to disrupt and create uncertainty for capital for how corporations operate

The thing about a boom and bust economy is it is actually incredibly fragile.

There are actually extraordinary things we could do right now to start to destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.

For example, 10% of homeowners are underwater right their home they are paying more for it then its worth 10% of those people are in strategic default, meaning they are refusing to pay but they are staying in their home that’s totally spontaneous they figured out it takes a year to kick me out of my home because foreclosure is backed up

If you could double that number you would  you could put banks at the edge of insolvency again.

Students have a trillion dollar debt

We have an entire economy that is built on debt and banks so the question would be what would happen if we organized homeowners in mass to do a mortgage strike if we get half a million people to agree  it would literally cause a new finical crisis for the banks not for us we would be doing quite well  we wouldn’t be paying anything.

Government is being strangled by debt

The four things we could do that could really upset wall street

One is if city and state and other  government entities demanded to renegotiate their debt
and you might say why would the banks ever do it  – because city and counties could say we won’t do business with you in the future if you won’t renegotiate the debt now

So we could leverage the power we have of government and say two things  we won’t do business with you JP Morgan Chase anymore unless you do two things: you reduce the price of our interest  and second you rewrite the mortgages for everybody in the communities

We could make them do that

The second thing is there is a whole question in Europe about students’ rates in debt structure. What would happen if students said we are not going to pay.  It’s a trillion dollars. Think about republicans screaming about debt a trillion dollars in student debt

There is a third thing we can think about what if public employee unions instead of just being on the defensive  put on the collective bargaining table when they negotiate they say we demand as a condition of negotiation that the government renegotiate – it’s crazy that you’re paying too much interest to your buddies the bankers it’s a strike issue  – we will strike unless you force the banks to renegotiate/

Then if you add on top of that if we really thought about moving the kind of disruption in Madison but moving that to Wall Street and moving that to other cities around the country

We basically said you stole seventeen trillion dollars – you’ve improvised us and we are going to make it impossible for you to operate

Labor can’t lead this right now so if labor can’t lead but we are a critical part of it  we do have money we have millions of members who are furious

But I don’t think this kind of movement can happen unless community groups and other activists take the lead.

If we really believe that we are in a transformative stage of  what’s happening in capitalism

Then we need to confront this in a serious way and develop really ability to put a boot in the wheel  then we have to think not about labor and community alliances  we have to think about how together we are building something that really has the capacity to disrupt how the system operates

We need to think about a whole new way of thinking about this not as a partnership but building something new.

We have to think much more creatively. The key thing… What does the other side fear the most – they fear disruption. They fear uncertainty. Every article about Europe says in they rioted in Greece the markets went down

The folks that control this country care about one thing how the stock market goes what the bond market does how the bonuses goes. We have a very simple strategy:

  • How do we bring down the stock market
  • How do we bring down their bonuses
  • How do we interfere with there ability to be rich

And that means we have to politically isolate them, economically isolate them  and disrupt them

It’s not all theory i’ll do a pitch.

So a bunch of us around the country think who would be a really good company to hate we decided that would be JP Morgan Chase  and so we are going to roll out over the next couple of months what would hopefully be an exciting campaign about JP Morgan Chase that is really about challenge the power of Wall Street.

And so what we are looking at  is the first week in May can we get enough people together starting now to really have an week of action in New York I don’t want to give any details because I don’t know if there are any police agents in the room.

The goal would be that we will roll out of New York the first week of May. We will connect three ideas

  • that we are not broke there is plenty of money
  • they have the money  – we need to get it back
  • and that they are using Bloomberg and other people in government as the vehicle to try and  destroy us

And so we need to take on those folks at the same time

and that we will start here we are going to look at a week of civil disobedience – direct action all over the city
then roll into the JP Morgan shareholder meeting which they moved out of New York because I guess they were afraid because of Columbus.

There is going to be a ten state mobilization it try and shut down that meeting and then looking at bank shareholder meetings around the country  and try and create some moments like Madison except where we are on offense instead of defense

Where we have brave and heroic battles challenging the power of the giant corporations. We hope to inspire a much bigger movement about redistributing wealth and power in the country and that labor can’t do itself that community groups can’t do themselves but maybe we can work something new and different that can be brave enough  and daring and nimble enough to do that kind of thing.

People just can’t bring themselves to believe that their leaders are evil people with wicked agendas.  It’s that, “Oh, no, Chester isn’t molesting my little boy; he loves him” sort of thing.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much evidence there is, they just won’t believe it until it’s too late and the damage is done.  It wasn’t just German Aryans who bought Adolf Hitler; a lot of JEWS enthusiastically voted for him.  They thought, “This Antisemitic stuff is just party rhetoric; Hitler will put it aside as soon as he’s in power.”  And all of the adoring masses just refused to realize that they were anointing a monster and giving him their sons.

You can read and watch and listen to what the left has been trying to do for more than five decades.  That’s how old this Cloward and Piven agenda is.  You can listen to what the SEIU is trying to do.  It’s right in front of your face.  You can see all the evidence that Barack Obama is their man, and how committed he is to their agenda, in his own words.

What more do you need?  When will you wake up?

The union agenda is straight from hell.  And it has been for a very long time.  And Obama is very much a part of it.

Then there’s that someone somewhere who might be out there saying, “Gosh, I kind of agree with that Steven Lerner guy.  The rich have lots of money, and I’d like to have their money.  Maybe he isn’t so utterly depraved after all.”  Think about this: Steven Lerner of the SEIU is demonizing capitalism, the system which has been proven by 200 years of history to be the freest and most successful – not to mention most profitable and most powerful – system in the history of the entire world.

And what are these people basically suggesting as his model for replacement?  Something that oozed right out of the pits of hell into Karl Marx’s vile brain.  And from there it oozed into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, then the National Socialist German Workers Party, then the number-one-humanity-massacring People’s Republic of China, and from there to hellholes in Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, etcetera.

These are truly bad, depraved, vile, wicked, evil people.  And if they get their way, not only will your children die lingering deaths, but you probably will too.

AEI Article: How Fannie And Freddie Blew Up The Economy

January 23, 2010

Below is a very good article that everyone should read to better understand why the economy imploded in 2008: it was as a result of literally decades of risky and in frankly socialist decisions implemented primarily by GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

But allow me to say a few words before getting to the full article.

I compiled the following to respond to the typical liberal charge that “the economic collapse in 2008 was Bush’s fault”:

The Democrat Party/lamestream media narrative is that Bush was responsible for the economic meltdown because it “happened during his watch.” There was never once a mention that it happened during Nancy Pelosi’s and Harry Reid’s watch. Because that particular narrative doesn’t fit their leftist agenda.

I can very easily explain why Democrats were the primary cause of the 2008 collapse.

I can even give you the story in video, namely an 11 minute video titled “Burning Down the House: What Caused Our Economic Crisis?”

Or how about watching John Stossel explain what happened in a 5 1/2 minute ABC 20/20 piece?

Do you really want to know the true origins of the financial collapse? Then please do a little reading and start learning. The mortgage market collapsed in 2008 because of its biggest player: Fannie Mae, which held some 60% of the mortgages. And Democrats were entirely behind the policies that led to the collapse of Fannie Mae and the private mortgage industry that bought Fannie’s mortgage-backed securities. Investors were falsely led to believe that the bonds they were buying were guaranteed implicitly by the federal government.

Here are the words of Mortimer Zuckerman – a liberal, an Obama supporter, a billionaire, a trustee of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the owner of a couple major news sources:

What about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that got there with the support of the Democrats in Congress. That’s what kicked off the great housing bubble; that’s what started this whole thing rolling down the hill. Did they ever talk about that kind of excess in the congress? No…..this isn’t something that is just due to the “Wall Street community”.

George Bush called for reform of the housing finance market 17 times in 2008 alone — and Democrats ignored him. They had been blocking his every effort to prevent disaster ever since Bush first tried to do so beginning in 2003. At that time, Democrat Barney Frank led the effort to block reform, saying:

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.”

George Bush and John McCain repeatedly warned that if we didn’t address the situation, we would suffer a financial collapse.

John McCain wrote an urgent letter in 2006 that read:

These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform. For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs—and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns.

In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay. I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

John McCain signed another letter that ended with these words:

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?

Substantial testimony calling for improved regulation of the GSEs has been provided to the Senate by the Treasury, Federal Reserve, HUD, GAO, CBO, and others. Congress has the opportunity to recommit itself to the housing mission of the GSEs while at the same time making sure the GSEs operate in a manner that does not expose our financial system, or taxpayers, to unnecessary risk. It is vitally important that Congress take the necessary steps to ensure that these institutions benefit from strong and independent regulatory supervision, operate in a safe and sound manner, and are primarily focused on their statutory mission. More importantly, Congress must ensure that the American taxpayer is protected in the event either GSE should fail. We strongly support an effort to schedule floor time this year to debate GSE regulatory reform.

And they DID fail. They massively, massively failed.

Only about a month before the whole system crashed, Barney Frank went on the record and said this:

REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-MASS.: “I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under. They’re not the best investments these days from the long-term standpoint going back. I think they are in good shape going forward.”

They sure were, you fat, miserable, loathsome, obscene, disgusting, slobbering, lying toad.

The top three headlines under the Google search “Fannie Mae collapse”:

Freddie, Fannie Scam Hidden in Broad Daylight

Financial Markets Reeling from Fannie & Freddie Collapse and Evitable Government Bailout

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Too big not to fail

But as our economy exploded along with the boondoggle housing finance market artificially sustained by Fannie and Freddie, the Democrats demagogued the Republicans. And the lamestream media duly reported it as though it were all the liberal’s-god-socialist-big-government’s truth.

So to answer your question, it was DEMOCRATS who led us into this mess. Just as it is DEMOCRATS who are now making the mess far worse.

I would point out in addition that Republicans deserve condemnation because they lacked the political courage and the political will to oppose enormously risky Democrat policies rather than face the demagoguery that they were “racist” for not allowing low-income minorities to own their own homes.  So they allowed the Democrats to keep expanding the Community Reinvestment Act, and allowed them to keep expanding the portfolio of Government Supported Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The following AEI article from Peter Wallison and Charles Calomiris is also available as a PDF file.

The Last Trillion-Dollar Commitment
The Destruction of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

By Peter J. Wallison, Charles W. Calomiris  |  AEI Online
(September 2008)

The government takeover of Fannie and Freddie was necessary because of their massive losses on more than $1 trillion of subprime and Alt-A investments.

The government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was necessary because of their massive losses on more than $1 trillion of subprime and Alt-A investments, almost all of which were added to their single-family book of business between 2005 and 2007. The most plausible explanation for the sudden adoption of this disastrous course–disastrous for them and for the U.S. financial markets–is their desire to continue to retain the support of Congress after their accounting scandals in 2003 and 2004 and the challenges to their business model that ensued. Although the strategy worked–Congress did not adopt strong government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) reform legislation until the Republicans demanded it as the price for Senate passage of a housing bill in July 2008–it led inevitably to the government takeover and the enormous junk loan losses still to come.

Now that the federal government has been required to take effective control of Fannie and Freddie and to decide their fate, it is important to understand the reasons for their financial collapse–what went wrong and why. In his statement on September 7 announcing the appointment of a conservator for the two enterprises, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson pointed to their failed business models as the reason for their collapse. This was certainly a contributing element, but not the direct cause. The central problem was their dependence on Congress for continued political support in the wake of their accounting scandals in 2003 and 2004. To curry favor with Congress, they sought substantial increases in their support of affordable housing, primarily by investing in risky and substandard mortgages between 2005 and 2007.

As GSEs, Fannie and Freddie were serving two masters in two different ways. The first was an inherent conflict between their government mission and their private ownership. The government mission required them to keep mortgage interest rates low and to increase their support for affordable housing. Their shareholder ownership, however, required them to fight increases in their capital requirements and regulation that would raise their costs and reduce their risk-taking and profitability. But there were two other parties–Congress and the taxpayers–that also had a stake in the choices that Fannie and Freddie made. Congress got some benefits in the form of political support from the GSEs’ ability to hold down mortgage rates, but it garnered even more political benefits from GSE support for affordable housing. The taxpayers got highly attenuated benefits from both affordable housing and lower mortgage rates but ultimately faced enormous liabilities associated with GSE risk-taking. This Outlook tells the disheartening story of how the GSEs sold out the taxpayers by taking huge risks on substandard mortgages, primarily to retain congressional support for the weak regulation and special benefits that fueled their high profits and profligate executive compensation. As if that were not enough, in the process, the GSEs’ operations promoted a risky subprime mortgage binge in the United States that has caused a worldwide financial crisis.

The special relationship with Congress was the GSEs’ undoing because it allowed them to escape the market discipline–the wariness of lenders–that keeps corporate managements from taking unacceptable risks.

The peculiar structure of the GSEs–shareholder-owned companies with a public mission–reflected a serious confusion of purpose on the part of the Lyndon Johnson administration and the members of Congress who created this flawed structure in 1968. In seeking to reduce the budget deficits associated with the Vietnam War and Great Society programs, the administration hit upon the idea of “privatizing” Fannie Mae by allowing the company to sell shares to the public. This, according to the budget theories of the time, would take Fannie’s expenditures off-budget, while allowing it to continue its activities with funds borrowed in the public credit markets. But turning Fannie into a wholly private company was not acceptable either. Various special provisions were placed in Fannie’s congressional charter that intentionally blurred the line between a public instrumentality and a private corporation. Among these provisions: Fannie was given a line of credit at the Treasury; the president could appoint five members of its board of directors; and its debt could be used, like Treasury debt, to collateralize government deposits in private banks.

Fannie’s congressional charter and its unusual ties to the government ensured that the market would recognize its status as a government instrumentality: that despite its private ownership, the company was performing a government mission. Because it was highly unlikely that the U.S. government would allow one of its instrumentalities to default on its obligations, Fannie was perceived in the capital markets to have at least an implicit government backing and was thus able to borrow funds at rates that were only slightly higher than those paid by the U.S. Treasury on its own debt offerings. In 1970, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board created Freddie Mac to assist federal savings and loan associations in marketing their mortgages; Freddie was also allowed to sell shares to the public in 1989 and became a competitor of Fannie Mae under a congressional charter that established an identical special relationship with the government.

The special relationship, codified by these unique charters, required the GSEs to pursue another inherently conflicted mission that pitted their shareholders against the taxpayers. To the extent that their government backing allowed the GSEs to take excessive financial risks, it was the taxpayers and not the shareholders who would ultimately bear the costs. That result–the privatization of profit and the socialization of risk–has now come to pass. U.S. taxpayers are now called upon to fill in the hole that reckless and improvident investment activity–fueled by inexpensive and easily accessible funds–has created in the GSEs’ balance sheets. The special relationship was also the GSEs’ undoing, because it allowed them to escape the market discipline–the wariness of lenders–that keeps corporate managements from taking unacceptable risks. Normally, when a privately held company is backed by the government (for example, in the case of commercial banks covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), regulation is the way that the government protects the taxpayers against the loss of market discipline. When Fannie Mae was privatized in 1968, however, no special regulatory structure was created to limit the taxpayers’ exposure to loss. The Johnson administration officials who structured the privatization may not have realized that they were creating what we recognize today as a huge moral hazard, but when Fannie became insolvent (the first time) in the high-interest-rate environment of the early 1980s, policymakers recognized that the company represented a potential risk to taxpayers.

In 1991, as Congress finally began the process of developing a regulatory regime for the GSEs, congressional interest in supporting affordable housing was growing. At this point, Fannie Mae initiated its first foray into affordable housing–a relatively small $10 billion program, probably intended to show Congress that the GSEs would support affordable housing without a statutory mandate. Nevertheless, Congress added an affordable housing “mission” to the GSE charters when it created their first full-time regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO). The new agency had only limited regulatory authority. It was also housed in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which had no regulatory experience, and it was funded by congressional appropriations, allowing the GSEs to control their regulator through the key lawmakers who held OFHEO’s purse strings.

The new affordable housing mission further increased the congressional policy stake in the GSEs, but it also initiated a destructive mutual dependency: Congress began to rely on Fannie and Freddie for political and financial support, and the two GSEs relied on Congress to protect their profitable special privileges. In later years, attention to the political interests of Congress became known at the GSEs as “management of political risk.” In a speech to an investor conference in 1999, Franklin Raines, then Fannie’s chairman, assured them that “[w]e manage our political risk with the same intensity that we manage our credit and interest rate risks.”[1]

Benefits to Congress

Managing their political risk required the GSEs to offer Congress a generous benefits package. Campaign contributions were certainly one element. Between the 2000 and 2008 election cycles, the GSEs and their employees contributed more than $14.6 million to the campaign funds of dozens of senators and representatives, most of them on committees that were important to preserving the GSEs’ privileges.[2] And Fannie knew how to “leverage” its giving, not just its assets; often it enlisted other groups that profited from the GSEs’ activities–the securities industry, homebuilders, and realtors–to sponsor their own fundraising events for the GSEs’ key congressional friends. In addition to campaign funds, the GSEs–Fannie Mae in particular–enhanced their power in Congress by setting up “partnership offices” in the districts and states of important lawmakers, often hiring the relatives of these lawmakers to staff the local offices. Their lobbying activities were legendary. Between 1998 and 2008, Fannie spent $79.5 million and Freddie spent $94.9 million on lobbying Congress, making them the twentieth and thirteenth biggest spenders, respectively, on lobbying fees during that period.[3] Not all of these expenditures were necessary to contact members of Congress; the GSEs routinely hired lobbyists simply to deprive their opponents of lobbying help. Since lobbyists are frequently part of lawmakers’ networks–and are often former staffers for the same lawmakers–these lobbying expenditures also encouraged members of Congress to support Fannie and Freddie as a means of supplementing the income of their friends.

The failure to adopt meaningful GSE reform in 2005 was a crucial missed opportunity.

In the same vein, Fannie and Freddie hired dozens of Washington’s movers and shakers–at spectacular levels of compensation–to sit on their boards, lobby Congress, and in general help them to manage their political risk. (An early account of this effort was an article entitled “Crony Capitalism: American Style” that appeared in The International Economy in 1999.[4] A later version of the same point was made in Investor’s Business Daily nine years later.[5]) The GSEs also paid for academic research to assure the public that the GSE mission was worthwhile and that the GSEs posed minimal risks to taxpayers. For example, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz coauthored an article in 2002 purporting to show that the risk of GSE default producing taxpayer loss was “effectively zero.”[6]

One of the most successful efforts to influence lawmakers came through community groups. Both Fannie and Freddie made “charitable” or other gifts to community groups, which could then be called upon to contact the GSEs’ opponents in Congress and protest any proposed restrictions on the activities or privileges of the GSEs. GSE supporters in Congress could also count on these groups to back them in their reelection efforts.

But these activities, as important as they were in managing the GSEs’ political risks, paled when compared to the billions of dollars the GSEs made available for spending on projects in the congressional districts and states of their supporters. Many of these projects involved affordable housing. In 1994, Fannie Mae replaced its initial $10 billion program with a $1 trillion affordable housing initiative, and both Fannie and Freddie announced new $2 trillion initiatives in 2001.[7] It is not clear to what extent the investments made in support of these commitments were losers–the GSEs’ profitability over many years could cover a multitude of sins–but it is now certain that the enormous losses associated with the risky housing investments appearing on Fannie and Freddie’s balance sheet today reflect major and imprudent investments in support of affordable housing between 2005 and 2007–investments that ultimately brought about the collapse of Fannie and Freddie.

Even if the earlier affordable housing projects were not losers, however, they represented a new and extra-constitutional way for Congress to dispense funds that should otherwise have flowed through the appropriations process. In one sense, the expenditures were a new form of earmark, but this earmarking evaded the constitutional appropriations process entirely. An illustration is provided by a press release from the office of Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of the most ardent supporters of the GSEs in Congress. The headline on the release, dated November 20, 2006–right in the middle of the GSEs’ affordable housing spending spree–was “Schumer Announces up to $100 Million Freddie Mac Commitment to Address Fort Drum and Watertown Housing Crunch.” The subheading continued: “Schumer Unveils New Freddie Mac Plan with HSBC That Includes Low-Interest Low-Downpayment Loans. In June, Schumer Urged Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Step Up to the Plate and Deliver Concrete Plans–Today Freddie Mac Is Following Through.”[8] If this project had been economically profitable for Fannie or Freddie, Schumer would not have had to “urge” them to “step up.” Instead, using his authority as a powerful member of the Senate Banking Committee–and a supporter of Fannie and Freddie–he appears to have induced Freddie Mac to make a financial commitment that was very much in his political interests but for which the taxpayers of the United States would ultimately be responsible.

Of course, Schumer was only one of many members of Congress who used his political leverage to further his own agenda at taxpayer expense and outside the appropriations process. The list of friends of Fannie and Freddie changed over time; while the GSEs enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the 1990s, over the past decade, they have become increasingly aligned with the Democrats. This shift in the political equilibrium was especially clear in the congressional reaction to the GSEs’ accounting scandals of 2003 and 2004.

The Accounting Scandals

Fannie and Freddie reaped significant benefits from the careful management of their political risk. In June 2003, in the wake of the failures of Enron and WorldCom, Freddie’s board of directors suddenly dismissed its three top officers and announced that the company’s accountants had found serious problems in Freddie’s financial reports. In 2004, after a forensic audit by OFHEO, even more serious accounting manipulation was found at Fannie, and Raines, its chairman, and Timothy Howard, its chief financial officer, were compelled to resign.

It is eloquent testimony to the power of Fannie and Freddie in Congress that even after these extraordinary events there was no significant effort to improve or enhance the powers of their regulator. The House Financial Services Committee developed a bill that was so badly weakened by GSE lobbying that the Bush administration refused to support it. The Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, adopted much stronger legislation in 2005, but unanimous Democratic opposition to the bill in the committee doomed it when it reached the floor. Without any significant Democratic support, debate could not be ended in the Senate, and the bill was never brought up for a vote. This was a crucial missed opportunity. The bill prohibited the GSEs from holding portfolios of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities (MBS); that measure alone would have prevented the disastrous investment activities of the GSEs in the years that followed. GSE immunity to accounting scandal is especially remarkable when it is recalled that after accounting fraud was found at Enron (and later at WorldCom), Congress adopted the punitive Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which imposed substantial costs on every public company in the United States. The GSEs’ investment in controlling their political risk–at least among the Democrats–was apparently money well spent.

Nevertheless, the GSEs’ problems were mounting quickly. The accounting scandal, although contained well below the level of the Enron story, gave ammunition to GSE critics inside and outside of Congress. Alan Greenspan, who in his earlier years as Federal Reserve chairman had avoided direct criticism of the GSEs, began to cite the risks associated with their activities in his congressional testimony. In a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee in February 2004, Greenspan noted for the first time that they could have serious adverse consequences for the economy. Referring to the management of interest rate risk–a key risk associated with holding portfolios of mortgages or MBS–he said:

To manage this risk with little capital requires a conceptually sophisticated hedging framework. In essence, the current system depends on the risk managers at Fannie and Freddie to do everything just right, rather than depending on a market-based system supported by the risk assessments and management capabilities of many participants with different views and different strategies for hedging risks.[9]

Then, and again for the first time, Greenspan proposed placing some limit on the size of the GSEs’ portfolios. Greenspan’s initial idea, later followed by more explicit proposals for numerical limits, was to restrict the GSEs’ issuance of debt. Although he did not call for an outright reduction in the size of the portfolios, limiting the issuance of debt amounts to the same thing. If the GSEs could not issue debt beyond a certain amount, they also could not accumulate portfolios. Greenspan noted:

Most of the concerns associated with systemic risks flow from the size of the balance sheets that these GSEs maintain. One way Congress could constrain the size of these balance sheets is to alter the composition of Fannie and Freddie’s mortgage financing by limiting the dollar amount of their debt relative to the dollar amount of mortgages securitized and held by other investors. . . . [T]his approach would continue to expand the depth and liquidity of mortgage markets through mortgage securitization but would remove most of the potential systemic risks associated with these GSEs.[10]

This statement must have caused considerable concern to Fannie and Freddie. Most of their profits came from issuing debt at low rates of interest and holding portfolios of mortgages and MBS with high yields. This was a highly lucrative arrangement; limiting their debt issuance would have had a significant adverse effect on their profitability.

In addition, in January 2005, only a few months after the adverse OFHEO report on Fannie’s accounting manipu-lation, three Federal Reserve economists published a study that cast doubt on whether the GSEs’ activities had any significant effect on mortgage interest rates and concluded further that holding portfolios–a far risker activity than issuing MBS–did not have any greater effect on interest rates than securitization: “We find that both portfolio purchases and MBS issuance have negligible effects on mortgage rate spreads and that purchases are not any more effective than securitization at reducing mortgage interest rate spreads.”[11] Thus, the taxpayer risks cited by Greenspan could not be justified by citing lower mortgage rates, and, worse, there was a strong case for limiting the GSEs to securitization activities alone–a much less profitable activity than holding MBS.

The events in 2003 and 2004 had undermined the legitimacy of the GSEs. They could no longer claim to be competently–or even honestly–managed. An important and respected figure, Alan Greenspan, was raising questions about whether they might be creating excessive risk for taxpayers and systemic risk for the economy as a whole. Greenspan had suggested that their most profitable activity–holding portfolios of mortgages and MBS–was the activity that created the greatest risk, and three Federal Reserve economists had concluded that the GSEs’ activities did not actually reduce mortgage interest rates. It was easy to see at this point that their political risk was rising quickly. The case for continuing their privileged status had been severely weakened. The only element of their activities that had not come under criticism was their affordable housing mission, and it appears that the GSEs determined at this point to play that card as a way of shoring up their political support in Congress.

From the perspective of their 2008 collapse, this may seem to have been unwise, but in the context of the time, it was a shrewd decision. It provided the GSEs with the potential for continuing their growth and delivered enormous short-term profits. Those profits were transferred to stockholders in huge dividend payments over the past three years (Fannie and Freddie paid a combined $4.1 billion in dividends last year alone) and to managers in lucrative salaries and bonuses. Indeed, if it had not been for the Democrats’ desire to adopt a housing relief bill before leaving for the 2008 August recess, no new regulatory regime for the GSEs would have been adopted at all. Only the Senate Republicans’ position–that there would be no housing bill without GSE reform–overcame the opposition of Senators Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), the banking committee chairman, and Schumer.

The GSEs’ confidence in the affordable housing idea was bolstered by what appears to be a tacit understanding. Occasionally, this understanding found direct expression. For example, in his opening statement at a hearing in 2003, Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.), now the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, referred to an “arrangement” between Congress and the GSEs that tracks rather explicitly what actually happened: “Fannie and Freddie have played a very useful role in helping to make housing more affordable, both in general through leveraging the mortgage market, and in particular, they have a mission that this Congress has given them in return for some of the arrangements which are of some benefit to them to focus on affordable housing.”[12] So here the arrangement is laid out: if the GSEs focus on affordable housing, their position is secure.

Increased Support for Affordable Housing

Affordable housing loans and subprime loans are not synonymous. Affordable housing loans can be traditional prime loans with adequate down payments, fixed rates, and an established and adequate borrower credit history. In trying to increase their commitment to affordable housing, however, the GSEs abandoned these standards. In 1995, HUD, the cabinet-level agency responsible for issuing regulations on the GSEs’ affordable housing obligations, had ruled that the GSEs could get affordable housing credit for purchasing subprime loans. Unfortunately, the agency failed to require that these loans conform to good lending practices, and OFHEO did not have the staff or the authority to monitor their purchases. The assistant HUD secretary at the time, William Apgar, later told the Washington Post that “[i]t was a mistake. In hindsight, I would have done it differently.” Allen Fishbein, his adviser, noted that Fannie and Freddie “chose not to put the brakes on this dangerous lending when they should have.”[13] Far from it. In 1998, Fannie Mae announced a 97 percent loan-to-value mortgage, and, in 2001, it offered a program that involved mortgages with no down payment at all. As a result, in 2004, when Fannie and Freddie began to increase significantly their commitment to affordable housing loans, they found it easy to stimulate production in the private sector by letting it be known in the market that they would gladly accept loans that would otherwise be considered subprime.

Although Fannie and Freddie were building huge exposures to subprime mortgages from 2005 to 2007, they adopted accounting practices that made it difficult to detect the size of those exposures. Even an economist as seemingly sophisticated as Paul Krugman was misled. He wrote in his July 14, 2008, New York Times column that

Fannie and Freddie had nothing to do with the explosion of high-risk lending. . . . In fact, Fannie and Freddie, after growing rapidly in the 1990s, largely faded from the scene during the height of the housing bubble. . . . Partly that’s because regulators, responding to accounting scandals at the companies, placed temporary restraints on both Fannie and Freddie that curtailed their lending just as housing prices were really taking off. Also, they didn’t do any subprime lending, because they can’t . . . by law. . . . So whatever bad incentives the implicit federal guarantee creates have been offset by the fact that Fannie and Freddie were and are tightly regulated with regard to the risks they can take. You could say that the Fannie-Freddie experience shows that regulation works.[14]

Here Krugman demonstrates confusion about the law (which did not prohibit subprime lending by the GSEs), misunderstands the regulatory regime under which they operated (which did not have the capacity to control their risk-taking), and mismeasures their actual subprime exposures (which he wrongly states were zero). There is probably more to this than lazy reporting by Krugman; the GSE propaganda machine purposefully misled people into believing that it was keeping risk low and operating under an adequate prudential regulatory regime.

One of the sources of Krugman’s confusion may have been Fannie and Freddie’s strange accounting conventions relating to subprime loans. There are many defi-nitions of a subprime loan, but the definition used by U.S. bank regulators is any loan to a borrower with damaged credit, including such objective criteria as a FICO credit score lower than 660.[15] In their public reports, the GSEs use their own definitions, which purposely and significantly understate their commitment to subprime loans–the mortgages with the most political freight. For example, they disclose the principal amount of loans with FICO scores of less than 620, leaving the reader to guess how many loans fall into the category of subprime because they have FICO scores of less than 660. In these reports, too, Alt-A loans–which include loans with little or no income or other documentation and other deficiencies–are differentiated from subprime loans, again reducing the size of the apparent GSE commitment to the subprime category. These distinctions, however, are not very important from the perspective of realized losses in the subprime and Alt-A categories; loss rates are quite similar for both, even though they are labeled differently. In its June 30, 2008, Investor Summary report, Fannie notes that credit losses on its Alt-A portfolio were 49.6 percent of all the credit losses on its $2.7 trillion single-family loan book of business.[16] Fannie’s disclosures indicate that when all subprime loans (including Alt-A) are aggregated, at least 85 percent of its losses are related to its holdings of both subprime and Alt-A loans. They are all properly characterized as “junk loans.”

Beginning in 2004, after the GSEs’ accounting scandals, the junk loan share of all mortgages in the United States began to rise, going from 8 percent in 2003 to about 18 percent in 2004 and peaking at about 22 percent in the third quarter of 2006. It is likely that this huge increase in commitments to junk lending was largely the result of signals from Fannie and Freddie that they were ready to buy these loans in bulk. For example, in speeches to the Mortgage Bankers Association in 2004, both Raines and Richard Syron–the chairmen, respectively, of Fannie and Freddie–“made no bones about their interest in buying loans made to borrowers formerly considered the province of nonprime and other niche lenders.”[17] Raines is quoted as saying, “We have to push products and opportunities to people who have lesser credit quality.”

There are few data available publicly on the dollar amount of junk loans held by the GSEs in 2004, but according to their own reports, GSE purchases of these mortgages and MBS increased substantially between 2005 and 2007. Subprime and Alt-A purchases during this period were a higher share of total purchases than in previous years. For example, Fannie reported that mortgages and MBS of all types originated in 2005–2007 comprised 49.8 percent of its overall book of single-family mortgages, which includes both mortgages and MBS retained in their portfolio as well as mortgages they securitized and guaranteed. But the percentage of mortgages with subprime characteristics purchased during this period consistently exceeded 49.8 percent, demonstrating that Fannie was substantially increasing its reliance on junk loans between 2005 and 2007. For example, in its 10-Q Investor Summary report for the quarter ended June 30, 2008, Fannie reported that mortgages with subprime characteristics comprised substantial percentages of all 2005–2007 mortgages the company acquired, as shown in table 1. Based on these figures, it is likely that as much as 40 percent of the mortgages that Fannie Mae added to its single-family book of business during 2005–2007 were junk loans.

If we add up all these categories and eliminate double counting, it appears that on June 30, 2008, Fannie held or had guaranteed subprime and Alt-A loans with an unpaid principal balance of $553 billion. In addition, according to the same Fannie report, the company also held $29.5 billion of Alt-A loans and $36.3 billion of subprime loans that it had purchased as private label securities (non-GSE or Ginnie Mae securities).[18] These figures amount to a grand total of $619 billion–approximately 23 percent of Fannie’s book of single-family business on June 30, 2008–and reflect a huge commitment to the purchase of mortgages of questionable quality between 2005 and 2007.

Freddie Mac also published a report on its subprime and Alt-A mortgage exposures as of August 2008. Freddie’s numbers were not as detailed as Fannie’s, but the company reported that 52 percent of its entire single-family credit guarantee portfolio was from book years 2005–2007 (slightly more than Fannie) and that these mortgages had subprime characteristics, as shown in table 2. Based on these figures, it appears that as much as 40 percent of the loans that Freddie Mac added to its book of single-family mortgage business during 2005–2007 also consisted of junk loans.

Freddie’s disclosures did not contain enough detail to eliminate all of the double counting, so it is not possible to estimate the total amount of its subprime loans from the information it reported. Nevertheless, we can calculate the minimum amount of Freddie’s exposure. In the same report, Freddie disclosed that $190 billion of its loans were categorized as Alt-A and $68 billion had FICO credit scores of less than 620, so that they would clearly be categorized as subprime. Based on the limited information Freddie supplied, double counting of $7.6 billion can be eliminated, so that as of August 2008, Freddie held or had guaranteed at least $258 billion of junk loans. To this must be added $134 billion of subprime and Alt-A loans that Freddie purchased from private label issuers,[19] for a grand total of $392 billion–20 percent of Freddie’s single-family portfolio of $1.8 trillion.

A New Trillion-Dollar Commitment

Between 2005 and 2007, Fannie and Freddie acquired so many junk mortgages that, as of August 2008, they held or had guaranteed more than $1.011 trillion in unpaid principal balance exposures on these loans. The losses already recognized on these exposures were responsible for the collapse of Fannie and Freddie and their takeover by the federal government, and there are undoubtedly many more losses to come. In congressional testimony on September 23, James Lockhart, the director of their new regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, cited these loans as the source of the GSEs’ ultimate collapse, as reported in the Washington Post:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchased and guaranteed “many more low-documentation, low-verification and non-standard” mortgages in 2006 and 2007 “than they had in the past.” He said the companies increased their exposure to risks in 2006 and 2007 despite the regulator’s warnings.

Roughly 33 percent of the companies’ business involved buying or guaranteeing these risky mortgages, compared with 14 percent in 2005. Those bad debts on mortgages led to billions of dollars in losses at the firms. “The capacity to raise capital to absorb further losses without Treasury Department support vanished,” Lockhart said.[20]

Although a large share of the subprime loans now causing a crisis in the international financial markets are so-called private label securities–issued by banks and securitizers other than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–the two GSEs became the biggest buyers of the AAA tranches of these subprime pools in 2005-07.[21] Without their commitment to purchase the AAA tranches of these securitizations, it is unlikely that the pools could have been formed and marketed around the world. Accordingly, not only did the GSEs destroy their own financial condition with their excessive purchases of subprime loans in the three-year period from 2005 to 2007, but they also played a major role in weakening or destroying the solvency and stability of other financial institutions and investors in the United States and abroad.

Why Did They Do It?

Why did the GSEs follow this disastrous course? One explanation–advanced by Lockhart–is that Fannie and Freddie were competing for market share with the private label securitizers and had to purchase substantial amounts of subprime mortgages in order to retain their position in a growing market. Fannie and Freddie’s explanation is that they were the victims of excessively stringent HUD affordable housing goals. Neither of these explanations is plausible. For many years before 2004, Fannie and Freddie had followed relatively prudent investment strategies, even with respect to affordable housing, but they suddenly changed their approach in 2005. Freddie Mac’s report, for example, shows that the percentage of mortgages in its portfolio with subprime characteristics rose rapidly after 2004. Tables 1 and 2 show that for each category of mortgages with subprime characteristics, most of the portfolio of loans with those characteristics was acquired from 2005 to 2007. For example, 83.8 percent of Fannie’s and 90 percent of Freddie’s interest-only loans as of June 2008 were acquired from 2005 to 2007, and 57.5 percent of Fannie’s and 61 percent of Freddie’s loans with FICO scores of less than 620 as of June 2008 were acquired from 2005 to 2007. It seems unlikely that competing for market share or complying with HUD regulations–which contained no enforcement mechanism other than disclosure and delay in approving requests for mission expansions–could be the reason for such an obviously destructive course.

Instead, it seems likely that the event responsible for the GSEs’ change in direction and culture was the accounting scandal that each of them encountered in 2003 and 2004. In both cases, they lost their reputation as well-managed companies and began to encounter questions about their contribution to reducing mortgage rates and their safety and soundness. Serious observers questioned whether they should be allowed to continue to hold mortgages and MBS in their portfolios–by far their most profitable activity–and Senate Republicans moved a bill out of committee that would have prohibited this activity.

Under these circumstances, the need to manage their political risk became paramount, and this required them to prove to their supporters in Congress that they still served a useful purpose. In 2003, as noted above, Frank had cited an arrangement in which the GSEs’ congressional benefits were linked to their investments in affordable housing. In this context, substantially increasing their support for affordable housing–through the purchase of the subprime loans permitted by HUD–seems a logical and even necessary tactic.

Unfortunately, the sad saga of Fannie and Freddie is not over. Some of their supporters in Congress prefer to blame the Fannie and Freddie mess on deregulation or private market failure, perhaps hoping to use such false diagnoses to lay the groundwork for reviving the GSEs for extra constitutional expenditure and political benefit in the future. As the future of the GSEs is debated over the coming months and years, it will be important to remember how and why Fannie and Freddie failed. The primary policy objective should be to prevent a repeat of this disaster by preventing the restoration of the GSE model.

Peter J. Wallison (pwallison@aei.org) is the Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies at AEI. Charles W. Calomiris (cc374@columbia.edu) is a visiting scholar at AEI and the Henry Kaufman Professor of Financial Institutions at Columbia Business School.

Messrs. Wallison and Calomiris wish to thank Edward Pinto, a former chief credit officer of Fannie Mae, for his assistance in deciphering the GSEs’ descriptions of their mortgage exposures. AEI research assistant Karen Dubas worked with the authors to produce this Financial Services Outlook.

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Notes

1. Quoted in Niles Steven Campbell, “Fannie Mae Officials Try to Assuage Worried Investors,” Real Estate Finance Today, May 10, 1999. See also Binyamin Appelbaum, Carol D. Leonnig, and David S. Hilzenrath, “How Washington Failed to Rein In Fannie, Freddie,” Washington Post, September 14, 2008.

2. Common Cause, “Ask Yourself Why . . . They Didn’t See This Coming,” September 24, 2008, available at www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4542875 (accessed September 29, 2008).

3. Center for Responsive Politics, “Lobbying: Top Spenders,” 2008, available at www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?indexType=s (accessed September 26, 2008).

4. Owen Ullmann, “Crony Capitalism: American Style,” The International Economy (July/August 1999): 6.

5. Terry Jones, “‘Crony’ Capitalism Is Root Cause of Fannie and Freddie Troubles,” Investor’s Business Daily, September 22, 2008.

6. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Jonathan M. Orszag, and Peter R. Orszag, “Implications of the New Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Risk-Based Capital Standard,” Fannie Mae Papers 1, no. 2 (March 2002), available at www.sbgo.com/Papers/fmp-v1i2.pdf (accessed September 29, 2008). Interestingly, Stiglitz today is an outspoken critic of GSE risk-taking. According to Stiglitz, GSE risk-taking was a predictable consequence of the structure of the GSEs and their financial structure and compensation schedules. “We should not be worried about [GSE] shareholders losing their investments. In earlier years, they were amply rewarded. The management remuneration packages that they approved were designed to encourage excessive risk-taking. They got what they asked for. Nor should we be worried about creditors losing their money. Their lack of supervision fuelled the housing bubble and we are now all paying the price.” (Joseph Stiglitz, “Fannie’s and Freddie’s Free Lunch,” Financial Times, July 24, 2008.)

7. Funding Universe, “Fannie Mae–Company History,” available at www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Fannie-Mae-Company-History.html (accessed September 29, 2008); Funding Universe, “Freddie Mac–Company History,” available at www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Freddie-Mac-Company-History.html (accessed September 29, 2008); and Business Wire, “Fannie Mae’s $2 Trillion ‘American Dream Commitment’ on Course with Over $190 Billion in Targeted Lending,” news release, March 14, 2001, avail-able at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2001_March_14/ai_71707186/ (accessed September 29, 2008).

8. Office of Senator Charles E. Schumer, “Schumer Announces up to $100 Million Freddie Mac Commitment to Address Fort Drum and Watertown Housing Crunch,” news release, November 20, 2006, available at www.senate.gov/~schumer/SchumerWebsite/pressroom/record.cfm?id=266131 (accessed September 29, 2008).

9. Alan Greenspan, “Proposals for Improving the Regulation of the Housing Government Sponsored Enterprises” (testimony, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate, 108th Cong., 1st sess., February 24, 2004), available at www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/testimony/2004/20040224/ default.htm (accessed September 29, 2008).

10. Ibid.

11. Andreas Lehnert, Wayne Passmore, and Shane M. Sherlund, “GSEs, Mortgage Rates and Secondary Market Activities” (Finance and Economic Discussion Series 2005-07, Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs, Federal Reserve Board, Washington, DC, January 12, 2005), 1, available at www.federalreserve.gov/Pubs/feds/2005/200507/200507pap.pdf (accessed September 29, 2008).

12. Quoted in Gerald Prante, “Barney Frank on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2003,” Tax Policy Blog, September 17, 2008, available at www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/23617.html (accessed September 29, 2008).

13. Carol D. Leonnig, “How HUD Mortgage Policy Fed the Crisis,” Washington Post, June 10, 2008.

14. Paul Krugman, “Fannie, Freddie and You,” New York Times, July 14, 2008.
15. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Thrift Supervision, “Expanded Guidance for Subprime Lending Programs,” 2001, available at www.federalreserve.gov/Boarddocs/SRletters/2001/sr0104a1.pdf (accessed September 29, 2008).

16. Fannie Mae, “2008 Q2 10-Q Investor Summary,” August 8, 2008, available at www.fanniemae.com/media/pdf/newsreleases/2008_Q2_10Q_Investor_Summary.pdf (accessed September 29, 2008).

17. Neil Morse, “Looking for New Customers,” Mortgage Banking, December 1, 2004.

18. Fannie Mae, “2008 Q2 10-Q Investor Summary,” 20.

19. Freddie Mac, “Freddie Mac Update,” August 2008, 30, available at www.freddiemac.com/investors/pdffiles/investor-presentation.pdf (accessed September 29, 2008).

20. Zachary A. Goldfarb, “Affordable-Housing Goals Scaled Back,” Washington Post, September 24, 2008.

21. James Lockhart, “Reforming the Regulation of the Government Sponsored Enterprises” (testimony, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate, 110th Cong., 2nd sess., February 7, 2008), 6, available at www.ofheo.gov/media/testimony/2708LockharttestimonyWeb.pdf (accessed September 29, 2008).

The economic implosion of our economy due to Fannie and Freddie’s losses continues.  From an AP article published Friday, January 22:

The two companies, which have been run by the government since they almost collapsed in September 2008, have required $111 billion in federal aid to stay afloat. Late last year the Obama administration pledged to cover unlimited losses through 2012 for both companies, lifting an earlier cap of $400 billion.

The “unlimited losses” amounts to an EXPANSION from the $800 BILLION that Congress was going to authorize.  Which is even more than the $787 billion stimulus, which was the largest government outlay in the history of the human race until the black hole of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac beat it out.

It’s time to learn the truth.