Posts Tagged ‘Freddie Mac’

Obama Turns To Clinton To Advance The ‘Democrats As Party Success’ Myth As His Economy Turns to Crap

July 17, 2010

Barack Obama is widely seen as a complete failure.  Businesses large and small are turning on him and his incredibly harmful economic policies.  Even former staunch allies such as US News & World Report owner Mortimer Zuckerman and GE CEO Jeff Immelt have turned on him.

His answer?  To turn to an impeached, disbarred, lying and oath-breaking, sexual predator and unconvicted rapist to save a failed president for the sake of the Democrat Party.

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama sought on Wednesday to lift sagging confidence in his economic stewardship by enlisting the help of predecessor Bill Clinton, as a leading business group issued a scathing critique of the administration’s policies.

Clinton, who presided over the 1990s economic boom, joined Obama at a closed-door White House meeting with business leaders to encourage job creation and investment, including in clean energy.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a top business group, issued a rebuke of Obama’s economic agenda, accusing him and his Democrats in Congress of neglecting job creation and hampering growth with burdensome regulatory and tax policies.

What this country needs is a return to “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

It doesn’t matter that Clinton once recognized that Obama is little more than a Chicago thug.

It doesn’t matter in this Obama-era of race-baiting that Obama played the race card on Clinton.

It doesn’t matter that Bill Clinton subsequently demonstrated that he frankly deserved to be labeled as a racist when he outraged Ted Kennedy by telling him regarding Obama, “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”  Or that Clinton essentially said, “MAYBE joining the Ku Klux Klan was wrong” in honoring the former Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd.

All that matters in the mainstream media propagandist cesspool is that – while Barack Obama is increasingly recognized to be a complete economic failure and fraud – Bill Clinton is an economic hero who can therefore temporarily restore confidence in Obama and his failed policies until after the November election.

As usual, the media isn’t telling the full truth about Clinton.  Or what happened to create the healthy economy of the 1990s.

The mainstream media is remarkably consistent: you can count upon them to never give Democrats the blame they deserve, and you can count upon them to never give Republicans the credit they deserve, about anything.

Bill Clinton is widely hailed for presiding over a great economy that featured a budget surplus.

But let’s consider a very basic fact:

From the Herald-Journal, January 27, 1984

If you took a quiz on government and were asked who writes the national budget, would you answer “The President” or “The Congress”?

The correct answer is “The Congress.”

The U.S. Constitution says that power belongs to Congress. All through our history, the Congress has exercised that power. The president cannot spend one thin dime that has not been approved by Congress.

Article One of the Constitution of the United States refutes the argument that Bill Clinton should receive credit for his “surplus”.  It was the Republican-dominated CONGRESS featuring promises that stemmed from the Contract with America, that resulted in the healthy budget that Clinton the media gave Clinton credit for producing.  Even though all he did was sign (often after vetoes) that which Republicans had actually produced.

What we don’t get told very was that Bill Clinton did such a miserable job running the country for his first two years in office that he suffered the largest (at least until this coming November) political defeat in American history when the Republicans swept into power over both the House and the Senate.  We’re not told that Republicans continued to be the majority party in both the House and Senate during the years that the media assigned Clinton all the credit.

It was those Republicans who were most responsible for the good times that resulted.  They are most certainly responsible for the budget surpluses that Democrats have congratulated themselves for ever since.  The very first item on the Republicans’ agenda was the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

One quick example of these Republican changes was welfare reform.  In his 1996 State of the Union, after losing even more fights, Bill Clinton was famously forced to admit, “The era of big government is over.”  And Republicans were making that statement true by passing welfare reform legislation and an avalanche of other cost-cutting measures that made a budget surplus possible.

Two welfare reform bills were passed by the Republican Congress, which Clinton vetoed.  Then a third bill was passed by the Republicans, which Clinton finally signed.  The National Organization for Women noted:

“There is little difference between the welfare bill (H.R.4) which the president vetoed in January and the new plan H.R. 3734/S 1795.”

An analysis by Steven Dawson for the Saint Louis University Law Journal observed that:

“In fact, President Clinton vetoed two largely similar prior versions of the bill.”

All rhetoric aside, Bill Clinton was FORCED to sign welfare reform into law by the Republican Congress.  Just as he was FORCED into a balanced budget, and any subsequent budget surplus.

But after being literally dragged into signing it, Bill Clinton took credit for it as though it had been his idea all along.  And the media duly reported that slanted history as a matter of “fact.”

That said, we can also point out that “the Clinton budget surplus” also had a lot to do with budgetary smoke and mirrors.

And like I said, the same media that will never give Republicans credit for something good will never give Democrats blame for something bad.

Consider the last three plus years’ worth of reckless spending.  The Bush administration has been blamed for much of this reckless spending, but it was actually a Democrat Congress that swept into power in 2006 (largely due to what we can now readily see was hypocritical demagoguery over the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina rather than any economic issue) which proceeded to spend America into the stratosphere:

For the record, the last budget from a Republican President AND a Republican Congress – FY-2007 (passed in 2006) – resulted in a$161 billion deficit at a time when unemployment was 4.6%.  That’s what happened the last time the GOP was in control.

What happened when the Democrats took control in January 2007?  Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi passed a FY-2008 budget that had a $459 billion deficit – nearly three times the deficit in the immediately previous Republican-passed budget.  Three times.  And this before the financial crisis that somehow “necessitated” all this massive spending.

Now, that’s a pretty crazy increase under Democrat control.  But you aint seen nothin’ yet.

The Democrats passed a FY-2009 budget with a staggering, mind-boggling, totally reckless $1.42 TRILLION deficit.

The FY-2010 budget approved by Reid and Pelosi and signed by Obama had an estimated $1.6 TRILLION deficit.

The deficit has increased from $161 billion in the last budget before Democrats took control of the Congress (FY 2007) to $1.42 trillion in the most recent fiscal year (FY 2009)—an increase of $1.26 trillion or 782%.

With three months remaining in the fiscal 2009 budget, the federal deficit just officially passed the $1 trillion mark.  Worse yet, Obama borrowed more than forty cents for every single dollar he spent.

We also suffered a budget shortfall of $94 billion in the month of June, which marks the first June in more than ten years (read, “encompassing the entire Bush presidency”).  Bush’s success in raising revenues is bookended by two Democrat presidents who failed.

And now the Democrats aren’t even bothering to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, so they can simply spend without any accountability whatsoever.

The old annual deficits under Republicans have now become the monthly deficits under Democrats:

In the 12 years that Republicans controlled the House, the average deficit was $104 billion (average of final deficit/surplus FY1996-FY2007 data taken from Table F-1 below).  In just 3 years under Democrats, the average deficit is now almost $1.1 trillion (average of final deficit/surplus FY2008 and 2009 data taken from Table F-1; FY2010 data taken from Table 1-3).  Source: CBO January 2010 Budget and Economic Outlook

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Minority Whip) rightly pointed out on ABC’s “This Week”:

“If you look at the kind of deficit that we’ve incurred over the last three years that the Democrats have been in control of Congress, 60% of the overall deficit from the last ten years has occurred in that period. And frankly with the incurrence of the debt, we’ve seen very little result. That’s why we think we ought to choose another way.”

And yet the media falsely blame BUSH and Republicans for that spending, rather than Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the Democrat-controlled House and Senate, even though factually speaking the Democrats were ENTIRELY to blame for every single penny that was spent from January 2007 on.  Because our Constitution forbids a president from spending; it is CONGRESS that spends.

I also point out in that article (and many others such as this one) that Democrats were primarily responsible for the disastrous policies that led to the 2008 collapse.  They were basically completely responsible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their reckless policies, and then utterly refused to allow any reforms that would have averted the ensuing disaster.

In an honest world, Bill Clinton wouldn’t get anywhere near as much credit as he does for the strong economy of the 1990s.  And Republicans wouldn’t get anywhere near as much blame as they received for the 2008 collapse.

The problem is, our mainstream media advances one outright lie after another.  And the lies become “truth” through sheer repetition.

Obama isn’t calling upon Bill Clinton to actually offer advice on how to turn the economy around; he’s calling Clinton in as a prop.  Bill Clinton was forced to change his failed policies when the Republicans swept into power.  Hopefully, that is exactly what will happen beginning this November.

Obama Says ‘We Cannot Turn Back’ As He Leads America To Hell

July 14, 2010

Obama talks about how we’ve got to keep moving forward with his policies:

From The Wall Street Journal:

“It’s a choice between the policies that led us into this mess and the policies that are leading us out of this mess. It’s a choice between falling backwards or moving forward,” he said.

He repeated the “moving forward” theme several times, and his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, tweeted that same thought, suggesting this is a theme we’re likely to hear again and again as the November elections approach.

But what if “moving forward” means driving pell mell off a cliff to a violent, bloody, screaming, pooping-your-pants-on-the-way-down death?  What if “moving forward” means going to hell?

Let us take a moment to ponder the views expressed by Obama’s handpicked Democrat on Obama’s handpicked debt commission:

From the Associated Press:

Debt commission leaders paint gloomy picture
By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer Glen Johnson, Associated Press Writer   – Sun Jul 11, 9:30 pm ET

BOSTON – The heads of President Barack Obama’s national debt commission painted a gloomy picture Sunday as the United States struggles to get its spending under control.

Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles told a meeting of the National Governors Association that everything needs to be considered — including curtailing popular tax breaks, such as the home mortgage deduction, and instituting a financial trigger mechanism for gaining Medicare coverage.

The nation’s total federal debt next year is expected to exceed $14 trillion — about $47,000 for every U.S. resident.

This debt is like a cancer,” Bowles said in a sober presentation nonetheless lightened by humorous asides between him and Simpson. “It is truly going to destroy the country from within.”

And:

Bowles said if the U.S. makes no changes it will be spending $2 trillion by 2020 just for interest on the national debt.

“Just think about that: All that money, going somewhere else, to create jobs and opportunity somewhere else,” he said.

Okay.  In agreement with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Obama’s own handpicked Democrat on his own handpicked debt commission says our spending and the resultant skyrocketing debt is literally murdering America.

And who’s doing all the spending?

Obama is so completely out of control that even his own Democrat Party is pleading with him to slow down:

President Obama’s urgent plea for more spending on the economy ran into the political buzz saw of the Senate on Tuesday, where Democratic leaders began chopping apart an aid package for unemployed workers and state governments in an effort to lessen its impact on the deficit.

Obama is so completely out of control that even the socialist Europeans are telling him he’s flat-out wrong in his spending blitzkrieg:

President Barack Obama’s push for continued global stimulus in light of a tenuous economic recovery was largely pushed back at the G-20 as world leaders agreed to focus on deficit reduction.

Obama and his team have repeatedly warned that while the worst of the crisis has passed, the recovery is still “uneven and fragile” and ongoing stimulus efforts are needed.

But European leaders, led largely by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have pushed back on increased spending as deficits rage out of control.

And this isn’t something that just started happening, either.  Barack Obama has been recklessly spending out of control from the very beginning of his presidency, as an event from March 29, 2009 proves:

STRASBOURG, France —  A top European Union politician on Wednesday slammed U.S. plans to spend its way out of recession as “a way to hell.”

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, told the European Parliament that President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package and banking bailout “will undermine the stability of the global financial market.”

The “God damn America” president is damning us down the way to hell.

The same article from March 2009 says:

The United States plans to spend heavily to try and lift its economy out of recession with a $787 billion economic stimulus plan of tax rebates, health and welfare benefits, as well as extra energy and infrastructure spending.

And we now know how that more-like-to-$862 billion which really will cost America $3.27 trillion “stimulus” worked out for us.  Poorly.

A poll by the New York Times and CBS revealed that only 6% of Americans believed that the Obama stimulus created any jobs at all.  And even those economists who see an economic rebound don’t believe the “stimulus” had anything to do with it.

The Europeans who are somehow less socialist than our Marxist-in-Chief were right.  And now our unemployment rate is actually the worse because of a “stimulus” that gave us little more than liberal Democrat special interest pork in exchange for crippling debt that will enslave us for decades to come.

Reckless spending is destroying this country.  And for Obama, “moving forward” means driving America off a cliff to it’s screaming doom.

And that is an overwhelmingly documented fact.

Erskine Bowles is also on the record as saying, “This is the most predictable economic crisis in history.”

Which is what people like me have been saying since even before Obama got elected.

In October 2008 I wrote an article which quoted Chief Executive Magazine as follows:

In expressing their rejection of Senator Obama, some CEOs who responded to the survey went as far as to say that “some of his programs would bankrupt the country within three years, if implemented.” In fact, the poll highlights that Obama’s tax policies, which scored the lowest grade in the poll, are particularly unpopular among CEOs.

What do I say but, in voting for Obama, we elected to slit our national belly open and stupidly watch our entrails spill out onto the floor?  Some fools may have naively believed they were voting for hopey-changey, but what they were really voting for was national harakari.

But Obama has said something else in his increasingly demagogic, no-hope-and-change-but-politics-of-divisiveness-and-fear speeches.

He’s also said:

At a second fundraiser, Obama said, “What the other side is counting on is people not having a very good memory.”

Well, let’s do that.  Let’s look at the facts from the past.  Let’s improve our memories.

Let’s start with spending, since that’s what we’ve been talking about up to now.

For the record, the last budget from a Republican President AND a Republican Congress – FY-2007 (passed in 2006) – resulted in a$161 billion deficit at a time when unemployment was 4.6%.  That’s what happened the last time the GOP was in control.

What happened when the Democrats took control in January 2007?  Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi passed a FY-2008 budget that had a $459 billion deficit – nearly three times the deficit in the immediately previous Republican-passed budget.  Three times.  And this before the financial crisis that somehow “necessitated” all this massive spending.

Now, that’s a pretty crazy increase under Democrat control.  But you aint seen nothin’ yet.

The Democrats passed a FY-2009 budget with a staggering, mind-boggling, totally reckless $1.42 TRILLION deficit.

The FY-2010 budget approved by Reid and Pelosi and signed by Obama had an estimated $1.6 TRILLION deficit.

The deficit has increased from $161 billion in the last budget before Democrats took control of the Congress (FY 2007) to $1.42 trillion in the most recent fiscal year (FY 2009)—an increase of $1.26 trillion or 782%.

With three months remaining in the fiscal 2009 budget, the federal deficit just officially passed the $1 trillion mark.  Worse yet, Obama borrowed more than forty cents for every single dollar he spent.

We also suffered a budget shortfall of $94 billion in the month of June, which marks the first June in more than ten years (read, “encompassing the entire Bush presidency”).

And now the Democrats aren’t even bothering to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, so they can simply spend without any accountability whatsoever.

The old annual deficits under Republicans have now become the monthly deficits under Democrats:

In the 12 years that Republicans controlled the House, the average deficit was $104 billion (average of final deficit/surplus FY1996-FY2007 data taken from Table F-1 below).  In just 3 years under Democrats, the average deficit is now almost $1.1 trillion (average of final deficit/surplus FY2008 and 2009 data taken from Table F-1; FY2010 data taken from Table 1-3).  Source: CBO January 2010 Budget and Economic Outlook

Some money quotes on who is responsible for all the reckless spending from The Wall Street Journal:

  • Mr. Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget blueprint, by his own admission, redefines the role of government in our economy and society. The budget more than doubles the national debt held by the public, adding more to the debt than all previous presidents — from George Washington to George W. Bush — combined. It reduces defense spending to a level not sustained since the dangerous days before World War II, while increasing nondefense spending (relative to GDP) to the highest level in U.S. history. And it would raise taxes to historically high levels (again, relative to GDP). And all of this before addressing the impending explosion in Social Security and Medicare costs.
  • Mr. Obama cannot dismiss critics by pointing to President George W. Bush’s decision to run $2.9 trillion in deficits while fighting two wars and dealing with 9/11 and Katrina. Mr. Obama will surpass Mr. Bush’s eight-year total in his first 20 months and 11 days in office, adding $3.2 trillion to the national debt. If America “cannot and will not sustain” deficits like Mr. Bush’s, as Mr. Obama said during the campaign, how can Mr. Obama sustain the geometrically larger ones he’s flogging?

I think I can rest my case on who is spending us into a painful death by cancer.  If you want to try to argue that Republicans were bad when they were in control, fine.  But the Democrat freak show since Republicans were in control has been so shockingly, appallingly horrendous SINCE Republicans were last in control that it isn’t even remotely funny.

To those who say “Blame Bush!  Blame Republicans!” I say, “No, blame YOU for being so stupid as to believe such transparent lies.”

Having firmly established who is giving America cancer, as per Obama’s own handpicked Democrat’s metaphor, let’s move on to who we should really blame for the economic meltdown.  With our good memories.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were as responsible for our 2008 economic meltdown as ANYTHING was.  George Bush tried SEVENTEEN TIMES to create tighter regulation of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  But Democrats are as thick as fleas in Fannie and Freddie, and every single effort by Bush and Republicans to avoid the financial disaster which ultimately engulfed us in 2008 was rebuffedEvery single one.

What you will find, if you do a forensic analysis after an explosion, is that Democrats had their hands all over whatever it was that exploded before the explosion happened.

Now let’s turn to the other debt.  Not the measly, paltry $14 trillion debt that Obama has had such a huge hand in such a short time racking up.  No, I mean the REAL debt.  The $130 TRILLION that is off the books.

George Bush also tried to deal with the massive problem of Social Security, which under Barack Obama and Democrat control is in the red for the very first time in its history.

We’ve heard over and over again the demagogic Democrat arguments that the Republican Party is obstructing progress by resisting Democrats.  And how evil they are to be the “party of no.”  Let’s see the REAL evil obstructionist party of no in action, as George Bush tried to fix Social Security BEFORE it entered negative cash-flow territory:

The Left now acts as if this never happened. For instance, in a recent television appearance, liberal commentator Bill Press argued that–rather than noisy disagreement–”Americans want discussion” on health-care reform. Who could disagree with that sentiment–except, perhaps, the Obama administration, which pushed Congress to rush through legislation by early August? This timeline was clearly aimed at preempting discussion and presenting the public with a “done deal” on health reform. As one protester put it, the president spent more time choosing a dog than he did discussing health-care reform.

Likewise, Mr. Press complained that opponents hadn’t put their own reform plans on the table. “The people who are there to protest–what are they for? Are they for the status quo? The Republicans haven’t put any other plan on the table.” But did congressional Democrats offer their own alternative to President Bush’s 2005 Social Security plan? When a fellow Democrat asked Rep. Nancy Pelosi when their party would offer its own Social Security plan, her answer was “Never. Is that soon enough for you?” Democrats would not even negotiate until personal retirement accounts were taken off the table. Why should Republicans act differently today, regarding the “public option”?

It’s hard not to see the Democrat Party as the party of genuine evil.

Obama keeps passing these gigantic, unwieldy bills that massively increase spending and massively redistribute wealth (aka Marxism and the maxim, “From each  according to his ability, to each according to his need”).  And he’s going to keep doing it until Democrats are stopped dead in their tracks.  And we’ve already reached critical mass.

Obama’s choice between falling backwards or moving forward is no choice at all.  We simply have got to purge ourselves of Democrats, or we are going to implode.

Why Have Republicans Jumped Out To Largest Lead EVER Over Democrats?

June 2, 2010

Something is building and growing.  And it is in response to the total failure of Democrat control.

June 1st, 2010
Republicans Jump Out To Historic Lead In Gallup Generic Ballot
Posted by Sean Trende

Gallup’s generic polling shows the number of voters saying that they would vote for Republicans rising three points from last week, while the number saying they will vote for Democrats dropped four pointsThe 49%-43% lead for the Republicans is the largest that the pollster has ever recorded for the partyMoreover, Democratic enthusiasm for voting this fall fell a point, while enthusiasm among Republicans stayed about fifteen points higher.  This indicates an even wider lead for Republicans once Gallup imposes a likely voter screen this fall.

There’s any number of reasons for this:  the public’s perception of Obama’s response to the oil spill, the shaky stock market performance last week, continued concern about the economy and spending.  The bottom line is that, despite what is perceived as an underperformance for the Republicans in PA-12 a couple of weeks ago, there are still plenty of Democrats in trouble for this November.

Keep up the good work, Democrats.

At the rate you’re going, there may not even BE any Democrats soon.  Because you suck, and people are starting to figure that out.

In addition to the fact that oil is pouring into the ocean at a rate that defies comprehension (we’re up to four times the calamity that the Exxon Valdez created with no end in sight), our banks that anchor our economy are bleeding out nearly as badly:

May 24, 2010
What recovery? Bank failures double this year compared to 2009

Although the federal bailout stabilized the banking system, bank failures are continuing at at rapid clip. Check out the latest federal tally. More than twice as many banks and savings and loans have been seized by regulators this year as in the same period last year: 73 in 2010, and 33 in 2009.

Banking analysts have long been warning us to expect a bumper crop of failures among small- to medium-sized community and regional banks this year. Many of the big banks that teetered on the edge of collapse had made bad bets on exotic mortgage securities. But most of the smaller banks are feeling the effects of residential mortgage foreclosures (such at the one pictured here) and, increasingly, commercial property loans going bad.

The Associated Press sums it up thus:

With 78 closures nationwide so far this year, the pace of bank failures is more than double that of 2009, which was already a brisk year for shutdowns. By this time last year, regulators had closed 36 banks. The pace has accelerated as banks’ losses mount on loans made for commercial property and development.

Now, remember that the first half of last year was the DEPTHS of the recession.  And it’s more than twice as bad this year as it was during those depths of the recession.

The only thing worse than having Republicans run things is having Democrats run things.  Only Democrats run things so much worse that America compares to a Swiss watch under Republicans.

Democrats do one thing well: they demagogue better than anybody in the world.  But lest we forget, during the period when the economy truly went into the crapper, between 2006 and 2008, it was under the total domination of Congress by Democrats.  Add that to the fact that it was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that created the becoming disaster for the very reasons that banks are still struggling (idiotic mortgage policies) that the Democrats owned lock, stock and barrel.

Meredith Whitney accurately predicted the economic meltdown when a lot of other “experts” were saying buy, buy, buy.

Here’s what she said in July of last year:

Unemployment is likely to rise to 13 percent or higher and will weigh on the economy for several years, countering government efforts to stabilize the banking industry, analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC.

And a year later, does it appear that the government has stabilized the banking industry?  NOT EVEN FREAKING CLOSE!!! The factors that Whitney cited in predicting 13% unemployment are happening before your very eyes.

Looking at 13% unemployment coming up, all I can think of is Al Pacino in Scarface: “Say hello to my little friend!

As bad a year as Bush had (thanks to Democrats who refused to do anything about the mortgage security crisis created and sustained by Fannie and Freddie), unemployment was 7.6% when Bush left office.

What was it the last month statistics were available, under Obama’s, Pelosi’s, and Reid’s terrible misrule?  9.9%.  And that after a massive failed stimulus that Obama promised would keep unemployment under 8%.  Obviously, it did nothing of the sort, but our children’s children’s children’s children will still be paying off a $3.27 TRILLION black hole of debt anyway.

Did somebody say “debt”?

Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge wrote on May 25:

This means that as of this moment, assuming the new debt were to settle today, the US has $13,031,095 billion in debt: congratulation America – you have now passed lucky $13 trillion in total debt. But don’t worry, we won’t stay here for long. At the current rate of issuance, $14 trillion will be passed in 8 months, and $15 trillion in another 7. By the end of 2011, we estimate total US sovereign debt to be about $15.5 trillion.

Democrats tore into Bush tooth and nail over his increase of the national debt.  That said, it took George Bush eight full years to increase the debt by $4.89 trillion.

Right now, under Barry Hussein, it is $13.o28 trillion.  Which is to say that Obama increased the debt by more than $2.4 trillion in only fifteen months.  That will be more than $3.4 trillion in just over two years in office.  By the end of 2011, after less than three full years in office, Obama’s share of the debt will be $4.9 trillion.

Which is to say that Obama will have racked up as much debt as Bush did in eight years in only three.  Obama is increasing the debt at nearly three times the rate that Bush did.

Which goes back to what I said about Republicans being bad – unless you compare them against Democrats.

Over the past thirty years, Democrat Congresses have increased the debt 2.4 times as much as have Republican Congresses.  Another way to put it is that Democrat Congresses have spent 137.7% more than Republican Congresses.

We are hurtling toward a disaster that will create a collapse that will ultimately make the Great Depression look like a walk in the park.  The United States of America is going to completely implode – and no one will bail us out when it happens.

You want to watch your kids starve to death before your eyes?  Elect Democrats.  Because that would be the kind of “change” you can truly “hope” for.

Hypocrite-in-Chief Seeks Line Item Veto He Blocked Bush From Getting

May 25, 2010

This is pretty massive hypocrisy even coming from a world-class hypocrite:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Obama asks Hill for line-item veto he once opposed
Stephen Dinan

When President George W. Bush called for a kind of line-item veto four years ago, the top Senate Democrat said it was like getting a “bad sore throat,” and the No. 2 House Democrat called it “a sham.” On Monday, President Obama asked them to reconsider and pass something very similar, for his sake.

With fears of a Greek-style debt collapse roiling a Congress already balking at new spending, the White House on Monday proposed a modified line-item veto that would give the administration another crack at forcing Congress to vote on spending cuts.

But the proposal will have to pass a Congress wary of giving up power over the purse, and would require a reversal by many Democrats who voted against a similar proposal from Mr. Bush.

One who’s already reversed himself is Mr. Obama, who as a senator in 2007 voted along with Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., now the vice president, and almost all of the rest of Senate Democrats to filibuster Mr. Bush’s proposal.

The White House said Mr. Obama embraced line-item powers by the time he won the White House, and that times are bad enough that Congress may now be ready to follow his lead.

“The fiscal context has changed as it became necessary to combat a severe economic downturn and as ongoing deficits have become a growing concern,” Peter R. Orszag, Mr. Obama’s budget director, told reporters. “We are hopeful the Congress will enact this legislation because it will help everyone to reduce unnecessary spending.”

He said the new presidential powers could encourage Congress to scrutinize spending bills more carefully, because lawmakers wouldn’t want to be shamed by having their projects singled out.

What is really amazing is the argument that Obama is giving to justify giving him a line-item veto: we’ve got a growing crisis, and the president needs this tool to avert it.

By Obama’s very own reasoning, he and the Democrat Party are fundamentally responsible for the 2008 economic collapse.  Because had they given Bush this power, he could have averted the disaster – but they refused to give him the necessary power he needed.

A couple of quotes from US News & World Report must suffice to illustrate:

Seventeen. That’s how many times, according to this White House statement (hat tip Gateway Pundit), that the Bush administration has called for tighter regulation of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. […]

But it didn’t prevent them from spewing a huge amount of toxic waste, in the form of subprime and Alt-A mortgages, into our financial institutions from 2004 to 2007. As Stephen Spruiell points out in The Corner on National Review Online, Fannie and Freddie spewed out $1 trillion worth (face value) of subprime mortgages between 2005 and 2007. That’s a whole lot of toxic waste. For more detail, consult the items referred to in my previous blogpost on this subject (most of the comments seem to have been disputes about the plot line of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, which I should think could be settled by consulting a reference work).

Much if not all of that could have been prevented by a bill cosponsored by John McCain and supported by all the Republicans and opposed by all the Democrats in the Senate Banking Committee in 2005. That bill, which the Democrats stopped from passing, would have prohibited the GSEs from speculating on the mortgage-based securities they packaged. The GSEs’ mission allegedly justifying their quasi-governmental status was to package or securitize such mortgages, but the lion’s share of their profits—which determined top executives’ bonuses—came from speculation.

And there’s your 2008 mortgage meltdown, in a nutshell.  Bush warned and warned and warned about the impending crisis, to no avail.  Because the same Democrats who refused to give Bush the power Obama now says he needs to avert disaster refused to heed Bush’s warnings, and kept pushing us closer and closer and closer to the implosion point.  And then we imploded just as Bush had said we would.

I have always believed that the president should have a line-item veto – with the proviso that every line item veto be made a matter of public record so the American people could know what items the president was removing and who had installed those items in the first place.

This is just another of many, many proofs regarding what a gargantuan hypocrite slimeball the current occupant of the White House truly is.

But, for what it’s worth, it is probably unfair to single out Barack Obama as a slimeball, when so many of his fellow Democrats are also slimeballs.  Near the conclusion of the Washington Times article, we have this:

House Budget Committee Chairman John M. Spratt Jr., South Carolina Democrat, said he will take the lead in introducing Mr. Obama’s proposal in Congress, calling it “a step forward on the path to fiscal responsibility.”

Mr. Spratt led opposition to the 2006 Bush proposal.

At some point they should just call themselves the Demagogue Party and dispense with the pretenses as to what they truly are.

How Should Democrats Eat The Half-Trillion $ Monsters Fannie And Freddie? One Bite At A Time

May 14, 2010

The truth is finally starting to come out in spite of the media.  After a mountain of Democrat-media complex lies buried so many inconvenient truths.

First it was Barney Frank’s admissions on tape before the economy went to hell caused by his horrendous liberal policies.

And now this little exchange:

CNBC’s Rick Santelli Rips Key Democrat For Ignoring Fannie/Freddie Reform
Dems’ Financial “Reform” Leaves Taxpayers on the Hook for Government Mortgage Giants

Washington, May 11 Follow @GOPLeader on Twitter for updates.

Democrats still don’t get it, and they refuse to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government mortgage companies that sparked the meltdown by giving high-risk loans to people who couldn’t afford it.   Standing up for American taxpayers, CNBC’s on-air editor, Rick Santelli teed off on Rep. Paul Kanjorski’s (D-PA) claim that Democrats’ couldn’t reform Fannie & Freddie in their financial regulation bill because it was “too complicated,” asking: “It’s too complicated?  You think taxpayers that go to work to pay the money you are subsidizing, it will end up a half a trillion, do you think they think complicated is an excuse?

The exchange couldn’t have come at a worse time for Rep. Kanjorski and Congressional Democrats, because Fannie and Freddie simply won’t go away.  As the Financial Times reported today:

“Fannie Mae said on Monday it would need an additional $8.4bn in aid, as the US government-controlled mortgage finance company continued to suffer heavy losses on its bad loans…Fannie Mae’s appeal for help comes on the heels of a similar plea last week by smaller rival Freddie Mac, which asked for an additional $10.6bn cash infusion.  The latest requests for aid bring the total amount of taxpayer dollars drawn down by these companies to $148bn since the 2008 government-led bail-out.

“Anthony Sanders, a senior scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, called Fannie and Freddie ‘our own Greek tragedy.’  Mr. Sanders estimated that total taxpayer liability was about $8,000bn for the combined companies, including public debt and loan guarantees.”

But the unlimited bailout that the Administration has bestowed on Fannie and Freddie doesn’t seem to bother Democrats, though the latest giveaway may come at an “inconvenient time,” as the New York Times noted today:

“Fannie Mae’s request on Monday for another $8.4 billion in federal aid comes at a politically inconvenient time for the Obama administration, which is pressing to pass sweeping financial legislation without resolving the company’s future…. Democrats want to defer an overhaul of federal housing policy until next year, after the midterm elections. But Republicans have seized on the continuing losses to argue that a plan for the two companies should be a priority of the current legislation.”

Republicans have been pressing for an end to bailouts that would get the government out of the mortgage business once and for all.  But Democrats are not only unwilling to reform Fannie and Freddie, they are doubling down on the failed government mortgage companies – burning through hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars in the process.  As the Washington Post noted in a report today: “Under the terms of the government’s 2008 emergency takeover of Fannie and Freddie, the Treasury must pump money into either firm whenever its worth, as measured by assets minus liabilities, goes into the red. Late last year, the Obama administration pledged unlimited backing.”

For years, Republicans raised red flags about Fannie and Freddie’s financial condition and proposed responsible reforms only to be thwarted by Democrats who have deep political ties to the worst offenders.  These same powerful Democrats are now pushing for a financial reform bill that doesn’t even address the need to fix these government mortgage companies.  As the Wall Street Journal wrote last week, “reforming the financial system without fixing Fannie and Freddie is like declaring a war on terror and ignoring al Qaeda.”

House Republicans’ plan would phase out taxpayer subsidies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over a number of years and end the current model of privatized profits and taxpayer losses.  Find out more by clicking HERE.

For the record, “8,000 billion” is another way of saying $8 TRILLION DOLLARS.  That’s what Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Democrat Party have cost us.

The biggest problem with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has always been that it was a social welfare institution disingenuously masquerading as a financial institution.  The giant GSEs were packaged and sold under entirely false pretenses.

It was Democrats who established Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  It has been Democrats who have controlled the staffing of both agencies for decades.  It was Democrats – and particularly it was Barack Obama – who took more campaign money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than ANYONE.  It was Democrats who refused to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when George Bush and later John McCain repeatedly pleaded for such regulation and reform of the out-of-control agencies.  It was Democrats like Franklin Raines who were running Fannie and Freddie when all the policies that led us down the road to hell were imposed, just as it was Democrats who were running Fannie and Freddie when the fecal matter started hitting the rotary oscillator.

It was a Democrat who said that everything was fine with Fannie and Freddie less than TWO MONTHS before they completely collapsed:

REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-MASS, July 14, 2008: 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.

And I think that anybody who respects what you think is a deluded and deranged dumbass, Mr. Frank.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now in control of 96.5% of all mortgages, for those who don’t think they’re all that important in their role of creating the mortgage meltdown.  It was Fannie and Freddie that bundled all the bad mortgages into mortgage-backed securities and then sold the mortgage-backed and debt securities to domestic and international capital investors under the illusion that they were guaranteed by the federal government.

Fannie and Freddie were a $5 trillion wasted boondoggle BEFORE things got even worse.  They exist only to help liberals and lose money.  And there’s no end in sight.

How bad is it???

Just how bad is the news at Fannie/Freddie? On Friday morning, Moody’s downgraded their outstanding preferred stock 5 notches from A1 to Baa3 (a slight gradation above junk) and their Bank Financial Strength Ratings (BSFR) to D+ from B- (one/half notch above D, which is reserved for companies in default). […]

When the Treasury peels back the onion, I believe they will find a hornet’s nest. I think we will see an initial bailout of $100 billion or so, with 2/3-3/4 going to Fannie (as it is a larger organization). The scenario I foresee however, just as happened at Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley, is that they came to the financing window expecting to have borrowed enough, but then find they have to keep coming back repeatedly until the buyers go away or until “We The People” have thrown at least $500 billion at Fannie/Freddie to get them back on their feet again. This will also likely take an Act of Congress to raise the Treasury’s Debt ceiling quite dramatically

The United States used to be the greatest nation in the history of the world; now we’re more like a chicken that has had its head cut off, but is too disconnected from reality to know that it’s already dead.

Our deficits are now four times as high as they were a year ago, and they are twice as high as Obama said they would be in the very worst case scenario.

We’re screwed.  Frankly, America voted to be screwed when it elected Barack Obama and Democrats.

Barney Frank Video Proves Democrats At CORE Of 2008 Economic Collapse

May 11, 2010

Scott Factor has the most relevant quotes, plus the video of Barney Frank’s “wisdom” prior to the housing mortgage collapse that led to the 2008 economic meltdown:

Stupid, lying, forever full of bull Rep. Barney Fwank (D-Mass.) (No relation to Elmer Fudd) was speaking at a forum on national housing policy back in December, 2006. Shortly after this speech, Fwank became Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Some of the comments he made at this forum go to prove that he and the Democrats are liars, thieves, incompetents, and will make up stories as they go to fit any situation. This is not leadership, it’s incompetence.

Here are some quotes from this video:

“You will see far less difference with Democrats taking over in the Financial Services regulatory area…..One of the things we did was try to reduce the reporting requirements from the banks to the financial detectives. Far too much has to be reported now in my judgment.”

Well, I guess if they reported more, it would be easier to prosecute all of the fraud that took place, or better yet, the fraud would never have occurred. Still willing to blame the economic mess on Bush?

Then he babbles about the now troubled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: “You could have cut back on their ability to borrow as cheaply or you could leave that benefit in place and distribute it more fairly. That’s what we chose to do with the affordable housing fund.”

So, welfare loans for those who could not afford them, and what did we get? A banking crisis related to all the foreclosures because we loaned money to people who couldn’t’ afford to borrow it. Still willing to blame the economic mess on Bush?

Fwank babbles about the housing bubble, before it went bust: “I do want to address this thing about the bubble. I think the bubble is an entirely inappropriate metaphor. Let me just be very clear, houses ain’t tulips. Houses today even with the drop in housing prices are more valuable than tulips were however many years ago when we had the tulip business.”

Fwank on the busted bubble: “I think it’s a good thing that housing prices are dropping…..A 10% drop in housing prices is a good thing. Housing was over-valued.”

Still willing to blame the economic mess on Bush?

Fwank on the busted bubble again: “…I don’t think that there’s a crisis, and I do think that the end result in a 10% drop in many parts of the country will be a more rational and healthier housing market.”

I’ve tried to tackle this issue in previous articles:

Who REALLY Exploded Your Economy, Liberals Or Conservatives?

With Eyes Finally Wide-Open, Reconsider Why The Economy Collapsed In The First Place

Biden: ‘We Misread the Economy’ – And it’s all the Republicans’ Fault

But Barney Frank might do a better job demonstrating that Democrats were all creating the housing mortgage meltdown that imploded our economy than anyone.

Frank acknowledges that the policies that led to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s implosion were DEMOCRAT policies.

And it was Fannie and Freddie that led to this massive economic disaster.  From Bloomberg:

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) — Taxpayer losses from supporting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will top $400 billion, according to Peter Wallison, a former general counsel at the Treasury who is now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

“The situation is they are losing gobs of money, up to $400 billion in mortgages,” Wallison said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The Treasury Department recognized last week that losses will be more than $400 billion when it raised its limit on federal support for the two government-sponsored enterprises, he said.

The U.S. seized the two mortgage financiers in 2008 as the government struggled to prevent a meltdown of the financial system. The debt of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks grew an average of $184 billion annually from 1998 to 2008, helping fuel a bubble that drove home prices up by 107 percent between 2000 and mid-2006, according to the S&P/Case- Shiller home-price index.

The Treasury said on Dec. 24 it would provide an unlimited amount of assistance to the companies as needed for the next three years to alleviate market concern that the government lifeline for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest source of money for U.S. home loans, could lapse or be exhausted.

Lax regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led to the mortgage companies taking on too many risky loans, Wallison said.

“It turns out it was impossible to regulate them,” he said. “They were too powerful.” He said no one knows how much will be needed to keep the companies solvent.

You can go to another couple of my articles to see that it was Democrats’ policies and refusal to regulate Fannie and Freddie that led to the 2008 economic collapse:

Democrats Refused To Regulate GSEs, Created Financial Tsunami

How ‘Failed Policies’ Of Democrats Were Responsible For Financial Crisis

In the article immediately above, I cite a New York Times article from 1999 in which Peter Wallison saw the massive danger of an out-of-control Fannie and Freddie:

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.”

But Barney Frank – who led Democrat opposition to fight off any effort to regulate or reform Fannie and Freddie –  thought that everything was just going swimmingly with what we now know was a future supermassive black hole implosion:

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.”

“These two entities – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – are not facing any kind of a financial crisis.”  Unless you consider the biggest bailout in the history of the world a “financial crisis,” that is.  The AIG bailout was $85 billion.  The GM bailout was for $49.5 billion.  Compare those to the $400 billion bailout Obama has been handing out to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“Not facing any kind of financial crisis.”

I think it’s a good thing that housing prices are dropping. . .  A 10% drop in housing prices is a good thing. Housing was over-valued.”

“I think the bubble is an entirely inappropriate metaphor.”

“One of the things we did was try to reduce the reporting requirements.”

“You could have cut back on their ability to borrow as cheaply or you could leave that benefit in place and distribute it more fairly. That’s what we chose to do with the affordable housing fund.”

DEMOCRATS CAUSED THIS HELL.  THEY WERE ALL OVER IT.

And the Democrat Party that caused this mess to begin with is out doing the same crap that imploded us in the first place all over again.

Sarah Palin Demolishes Obama’s Pretentions State of the Deception Speech

January 28, 2010

From Sarah Palin’s Facebook page:

Today at 2:17pm

While I don’t wish to speak too harshly about President Obama’s state of the union address, we live in challenging times that call for candor. I call them as I see them, and I hope my frank assessment will be taken as an honest effort to move this conversation forward.

Last night, the president spoke of the “credibility gap” between the public’s expectations of their leaders and what those leaders actually deliver. “Credibility gap” is a good way to describe the chasm between rhetoric and reality in the president’s address. The contradictions seemed endless.

He called for Democrats and Republicans to “work through our differences,” but last year he dismissed any notion of bipartisanship when he smugly told Republicans, “I won.”

He talked like a Washington “outsider,” but he runs Washington! He’s had everything any president could ask for – an overwhelming majority in Congress and a fawning press corps that feels tingles every time he speaks. There was nothing preventing him from pursuing “common sense” solutions all along. He didn’t pursue them because they weren’t his priorities, and he spent his speech blaming Republicans for the problems caused by his own policies.

He dared us to “let him know” if we have a better health care plan, but he refused to allow Republicans in on the negotiations or consider any ideas for real free market and patient-centered reforms. We’ve been “letting him know” our ideas for months from the town halls to the tea parties, but he isn’t interested in listening. Instead he keeps making the nonsensical claim that his massive trillion-dollar health care bill won’t increase the deficit.

Americans are suffering from job losses and lower wages, yet the president practically demanded applause when he mentioned tax cuts, as if allowing people to keep more of their own hard-earned money is an act of noblesse oblige. He claims that he cut taxes, but I must have missed that. I see his policies as paving the way for massive tax increases and inflation, which is the “hidden tax” that most hurts the poor and the elderly living on fixed incomes.

He condemned lobbyists, but his White House is filled with former lobbyists, and this has been a banner year for K Street with his stimulus bill, aka the Lobbyist’s Full Employment Act. He talked about a “deficit of trust” and the need to “do our work in the open,” but he chased away the C-SPAN cameras and cut deals with insurance industry lobbyists behind closed doors.

He spoke of doing what’s best for the next generation and not leaving our children with a “mountain of debt,” but under his watch this year, government spending is up by 22%, and his budget will triple our national debt.

He spoke of a spending freeze, but doesn’t he realize that each new program he’s proposing comes with a new price tag? A spending freeze is a nice idea, but it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. We need a comprehensive examination of the role of government spending. The president’s deficit commission is little more than a bipartisan tax hike committee, lending political cover to raise taxes without seriously addressing the problem of spending.

He condemned bailouts, but he voted for them and then expanded and extended them. He praised the House’s financial reform bill, but where was Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in that bill? He still hasn’t told us when we’ll be getting out of the auto and the mortgage industries. He praised small businesses, but he’s spent the past year as a friend to big corporations and their lobbyists, who always find a way to make government regulations work in their favor at the expense of their mom & pop competitors.

He praised the effectiveness of his stimulus bill, but then he called for another one – this time cleverly renamed a “jobs bill.” The first stimulus was sold to us as a jobs bill that would keep unemployment under 8%. We now have double digit unemployment with no end in sight. Why should we trust this new “jobs bill”?

He talked about “making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development,” but apparently it’s still too tough for his Interior Secretary to move ahead with Virginia’s offshore oil and gas leases. If they’re dragging their feet on leases, how long will it take them to build “safe, clean nuclear power plants”? Meanwhile, he continued to emphasize “green jobs,” which require massive government subsidies for inefficient technologies that can’t survive on their own in the real world of the free market.

He spoke of supporting young girls in Afghanistan who want to go to school and young women in Iran who courageously protest in the streets, but where were his words of encouragement to the young girls of Afghanistan in his West Point speech? And where was his support for the young women of Iran when they were being gunned down in the streets of Tehran?

Despite speaking for over an hour, the president only spent 10% of his speech on foreign policy, and he left us with many unanswered questions. Does he still think trying the 9/11 terrorists in New York is a good idea? Does he still think closing Gitmo is a good idea? Does he still believe in Mirandizing terrorists after the Christmas bomber fiasco? Does he believe we’re in a war against terrorists, or does he think this is just a global crime spree? Does he understand that the first priority of our government is to keep our country safe?

In his address last night, the president once again revealed that there’s a fundamental disconnect between what the American people expect from their government, and what he wants to deliver. He’s still proposing failed top-down big government solutions to our problems. Instead of smaller, smarter government, he’s taken a government that was already too big and supersized it.

Real private sector jobs are created when taxes are low, investment is high, and people are free to go about their business without the heavy hand of government. The president thinks innovation comes from government subsidies. Common sense conservatives know innovation comes from unleashing the creative energy of American entrepreneurs.

Everything seems to be “unexpected” to this administration: unexpected job losses; unexpected housing numbers; unexpected political losses in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey. True leaders lead best when confronted with the unexpected. But instead of leading us, the president lectured us. He lectured Wall Street; he lectured Main Street; he lectured Congress; he even lectured our Supreme Court Justices.

He criticized politicians who “wage a perpetual campaign,” but he gave a campaign speech instead of a state of the union address. The campaign is over, and President Obama now has something that candidate Obama never had: an actual track record in office. We now can see the failed policies behind the flowery words. If Americans feel as cynical as the president suggests, perhaps it’s because the audacity of his recycled rhetoric no longer inspires hope.

Real leadership requires results. Real hope lies in the ingenuity, generosity, and boundless courage of the American people whose voices are still not being heard in Washington.

– Sarah Palin

She nailed it.

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.

Download file Click here to view this Outlook as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

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.

With Eyes Finally Wide-Open, Reconsider Why The Economy Collapsed In The First Place

December 31, 2009

We are now able to see that from the very beginning of the Obama administration, the Republican Party has again and again demonstrated that they were completely right and Democrats were completely wrong.  Whether you look at the stimulus, cap-and-trade, bogus climate change claims, health care, or terrorism, Americans now solidly agree that Republicans were represent the people; and that Democrats do NOT represent the people.

Right now, a solid plurality of Americans thinks the stimulus (that 99% of Republicans voted against) harmed the economy.  And the people are starting to realize what an ideological partisan slush fund the stimulus was (also predicted by Republicans).

When Obama was elected, unemployment was at 6.6%.  He promised that his stimulus would prevent unemployment from reaching 8%.  And now it’s at 10%, and it’s going to get higher.

Obama demagogued Bush’s spending.  But Bush deficits -bad as they were – were only 2-3% of GDP.  Obama’s deficits are 12.8% of GDP – which is five to six times higher.

Now that your eyes are finally beginning to open wide and see Obama and the Democrats for who and what they truly are, let me point out a few things about the past collapse.

What Americans – and particularly Americans who actually vote – need to realize is that Democrats were trying to do this kind of crap and play these kind of games all along.  They were trying to do it throughout the Bush years, when George Bush tried 17 times to regulate the out of control and Fannie-Mac-and-Freddie-Mae-dominated housing mortgage markets – and Democrats thwarted him over and over again.

Why do I mention the Government Supported Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  Because they were at the very heart of the mortgage meltdown.

The LA Times writes on May 31, 1999 that:

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. . . .

LaVaughn M. Henry, Ph.D. Director, U.S. Economic Analysis The PMI Group, Inc. December 9, 2008, pointed out:

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.

It was steps 3-5 that messed us up.  Fannie and Freddie bought mortgages – including many mortgages that poor and minority homeowners couldn’t begin to afford under the mandate of the Community Reinvestment Act – bundled them such that no one could assess their risk, and then sold them to private companies such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.  Fannie and Freddie were exempt from SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] regulations.   The GSEs could bundle up mortgages, which would then be rated AAA, with no requirement to make clear what was in the bundle.  Private companies believed that the bundled securities were guaranteed, since they were essentially being sold by the federal government.

But there were many who predicted that this system – created and maintained by Democrats – could explode.

From the New York Times in 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.” . . .

And that is precisely what happened.  There was a downturn (and there will ALWAYS be downturns, won’t there?), and Fannie and Freddie were so leveraged that they collapsed and caused the collapse of the entire industry.  Financial experts anxiously pointed out that a decline of only 1.3% would bankrupt Fannie and Freddie because they were leveraged to the tune of 60%? to 78%.

Democrats were the priests and acolytes of the GSE system.  They protected it, and they were the ones who pressed all the buttons and pulled all the levers.

Keven Hasset concludes an article titled, “How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis“, concludes by saying:

Now that the collapse has occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for honorable reasons.  Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials defending their practices.  Perhaps some found their propaganda convincing.

Watch this video showing how Goerge Bush and John McCain repeatedly warned of the economic collapse (length=4 min):

Watch this video of Democrats protecting and covering for Fannie Mae (length=8 min):

Here’s a video entitled “Burning Down the House: What Caused Our Economic Crisis?” (length=11 min)

And then we find that Barack Obama was in bed with Fannie and Freddie and their shockingly risky policies:

Who really exploded the economy in 2008, liberals or conservatives? Who do you think?  The liberal mainstream media allowed Democrats to blame George Bush simply because he was president at the time, never mentioning that the Democrats who controlled both the House and the Senate relentlessly opposed everything Bush tried to do; and it allowed Democrats to not have to account for the fact that they’d been in complete control of both the House and the Senate.  But remember that the economy went from outstanding to collapsed during the two years (2006-2008) that the Congress was under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  The unemployment rate was 4.4% when Republicans last ran Congress.  What is it now, three years of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid later?

Few people understand how huge Fannie and Freddie are, or how deeply burrowed they are in the mortgage industry.  But let me put it to you this way: the federal government now underwrites 9 out of 10 residential mortgages.

John McCain tried to warn us in 2006:

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.

But he was ignored.

When George Bush first tried to regulate an already out-of-control liberal bastion of Fannie and Freddie, Barney Frank led the united Democrat opposition and said:

”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.”

And just before Fannie and Freddie collapsed and brought down the entire housing mortgage industry with it creating the economic meltdown, Barney Frank – continuing to stop any regulation of Fannie and Freddie – 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.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went completely bankrupt, and had to be bailed out by the government.  It had been Fannie and Freddie which had the sole authority to buy mortgages, bundle them into the mortgage-backed securities which ultimately exploded, and sell those securities to private companies (as I have already shown).  Just as it was Fannie and Freddie which had been the seller of subprime loans.

Democrats demonized and demagogued Republicans by blaming them for a mess that DEMOCRATS created.  And Republicans were to blame primarily because they didn’t do enough to stand up and courageously oppose the disaster that Democrats had created

A couple weeks ago the New York Times reported that Fannie and Freddie would get a whopping $800 billion to cover losses incurred under the Obama administration (and see another article on this $800 billion fiasco here):

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy and resell mortgages, have used $112 billion — including $15 billion for Fannie in November — of a total $400 billion pledge from the Treasury. Now, according to people close to the talks, officials are discussing the possibility of increasing that commitment, possibly to $400 billion for each company, by year-end, after which the Treasury would need Congressional approval to extend it. Company and government officials declined to comment.

But it turned out that that was wrong.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weren’t going to get $800 billion.  That won’t be nearly enough.  They are going to get an unlimited amount of funding (potentially in the trillions):

From the Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2009:

The Obama administration’s decision to cover an unlimited amount of losses at the mortgage-finance giants Fannie MaeFreddie Mac over the next three years and stirred controversy over the holiday.

A Newsbuster article, entitled, “Relief Without Limits,” provides an excellent resource of facts and commentary on this incredible and terrifying development.

Remember the righteous outrage of Democrats and the Obama administration over the compensation of CEOs of private banks?  The Democrats don’t seem to mind when Fannie and Freddie execs get huge compensation packages.

The monster rises yet again, and larger and uglier and more dangerous than it has ever been before.  And just like the first time it collapsed, Democrats are in total control of it.  Fannie and Freddie stock went up significantly as the news was announced.  Watch it dwindle back to zero by the end of 2010.

We’re facing another tsunami of foreclosures in 2010.  And three mortgages get worse for every single one that improves.

And even uber-liberal sources like the Huffington Post are acknowledging that Obama’s policies have utterly failed:

Anatomy of a Failed Foreclosure Program (dated 12-07-09)

Just how badly is President Obama’s $75 billion foreclosure program working out? Consider these newly-released numbers: Out of every 100 homeowners who came to JPMorgan Chase for help under the program, just 15 have or will likely receive a permanent payment reduction.

What happened to the other 85? For every 100 trial plans initiated from April through September 2009 under the Home Affordable Modification Program:

  • 29 borrowers did not make all required payments under their trial plan;
  • 20 borrowers did not submit all documents required for underwriting;
  • 31 borrowers submitted all required documents but the documents did not meet HAMP underwriting standards, due to such things as missing signatures or nonstandard formats;
  • 4 borrowers were or are likely to be rejected for undisclosed reasons;
  • 1 borrower will not or is not likely to get their payment lowered.

The data comes from the prepared remarks bank officials plan to make Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee. The testimony was posted Monday on the committee’s website.

It adds up to a brutal illustration of just how the HAMP program, which is supposed to reduce troubled homeowners’ monthly payments to 31 percent of their income, is failing.

Failing.  As in “failing grade.”  As in failed Obama presidency.

You still don’t know the half of it.  Obama’s $75 billion mortgage modification bailout is costing taxpayers an average of $870,967 PER HOUSE when the average house is worth only $177,900.

Famed analyst Meredith Whitney predicted that unemployment would rise to 13% or higher primarily due to the failure to contain the failure to deal with the mortgage industry:

Unemployment is likely to rise to 13 percent or higher and will weigh on the economy for several years, countering government efforts to stabilize the banking industry, analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC. […]

“We underestimate how much the whole economy is dependent on the mortgage industry, and that has to change,” Whitney said. “This is what happens when you delay the inevitable. We’re buying time here, but we’re not restructuring the economy.”

Under the radar, and against the objections of Republicans that was primarily covered only by C-SPAN, Democrats implemented and then fiercely protected policies that were almost guaranteed to doom our economy.  When the meltdown finally occurred, the same Democrats who created the black hole in the first place flooded the airwaves and blamed George Bush – whom they had already vilified and brought down through unrelenting attacks using the Iraq War as their main foil.

The propaganda worked, and Barack Hussein Obama – a politician who is more beholden to corrupt and frankly un-American entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, ACORN, and the SEIU than any president in history.

And now we’re truly paying for our stupidity.

Obama is taking the same policies that imploded our economy, and multiplied them by a factor of ten.  It’s only a matter of time before his policies create a rotten floor for our economy to plunge through all over again — only this time far, far worse than before.

Someone might say, “But look, Obama is rebuilding the economy.  He’s brought back the stock market, and things are getting better.”

First of all, they really aren’t getting better, and the Dow can drop a lot faster than it can rise (history lesson: there were several rises and crashes of the stock market during the Great Depression).  And second of all, if you loan me a few billion dollars to spread around, I can temporarily bring up the production of my local economy, too.

Just don’t expect either me or Barack Hussein to repay the loan when it comes due.

Obama has been compared – and has compared himself – to FDR.  We now know that for all of FDR’s popularity, his “reforms” during the Great Depression were massive failures which actually kept the United States in depression for seven years longer than if he’d done nothing at all.

Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, said in May 1939, after nearly seven years in office:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!”

In believing the propaganda and lies of the Democrats and Barack Obama, Americans may have well placed the nation in a hole that it very may well not be able to climb out of.

ACORN Helping Illegal Immigrants Get Sweetheart Home Loans, Crash Mortgage System

September 21, 2009

(Youtube link)

When I hear “maximum eligible participation in all government programs,” I think “Cloward-Piven strategy” (and see also here) and the intentional destruction of our economic system.  Social radicals want to overload the system with too many “clients” and too many people getting benefits so that when the system collapses under the weight of all of those subsidies and benefits they will be able to create “change.”