The Monitor's View:
“A survey released last week by the Pew Hispanic Center found more than four in 10 Mexicans are willing to leave their country to live in the US. One in five would risk a dangerous, illegal border crossing. Most surprising, one in three college graduates wants to flee. Before Washington takes up immigration reform this fall, it needs to take a hard look at Mexico's disillusionment.” ---- Christian Science Monitor
WHEN YOU FACTOR IN THE COST OF OBAMA’S OPEN BORDERS,
SABOTAGE OF E-VERIFY TO EASE MORE ILLEGALS INTO OUR JOBS, WELFARE FOR ILLEGALS,
AND VARIOUS DREAM ACTS, THE REAL COST OF THE MEX INVASION IS STAGGERING!
That is the estimate of what Obama’s new amnesty
will cost the American taxpayer. This back door plan, put into action by
imperial edict without any input from Congress, is just another nail in the
coffin of our economy. This past week thousands of children of illegal
immigrants were granted the right to apply for “deferred action” in order to
stay in this country and sign up for employment opportunities. Starting
August 15th, illegal aliens up to the age of 30 who meet certain
requirements can begin submitting their applications that will allow them to
remain in the country for a period of two years, with indefinite
renewals. They may also apply for work authorization, adding an estimated
2 million job-seekers to the workforce when we have record unemployment.
Really? How does Congress allow this to
happen? They just ignore this issue and sweep it under the rug hoping
that the American people are on summer vacation and won’t notice that we have
just opened wide the doors to 2 million illegal’s! Once again they let
this President steam roll over them. It seems like they have forgotten
that the Dream Act was defeated as recently as 2010.
What are the unintended consequences of this
amnesty? Well, let’s see. Not only will it cost the American
taxpayers an (estimated) $585 million dollars just to implement the program,
but on top of that there are millions or perhaps billions more. Once they
become permanent legal residents the floodgates open. Medicare, Social
Security, food stamps, education, not to mention the earned income tax credit
that would cost tens of billions annually. This will also encourage even
more illegal immigration when others figure out how to work the system.
This also opens the door to rampant fraud.
When an applicant goes online for the form there are no safeguards in place to
prevent fraud even to satisfy this administration’s low standards of
eligibility. In fact, the application explicitly
states that “you do not need to submit original documents unless the USCIS
requests them.” Under Obama’s guidance, do you think they will ever be
What about the millions of immigrants who have
gone about applying for citizenship the right way? How do they feel when
they have been pushed to the back of the line because of this irresponsible
act? And as for the Hispanic and Black Americans, do you think they are
happy knowing that Obama’s job killing policies have hurt their
communities? The unemployment rate for Hispanics is
3 percent higher than the national average hovering around 11 percent. In
the Black community the unemployment rate for Black youth is
a staggering 40.5% as of March 2012. This new policy will not only take jobs
away from them, but also from the millions of other Americans hoping to find
work in a diminished economy.
This is illegal in so many ways yet Congress
chooses not to recognize it. Is it because they are afraid to touch the
forbidden area of immigration? Do they think they will be accused of
being racists? Well, I have news, they’ve already been accused of it so
it’s time to get over it and stand up for what is right for this country and
the American people.
can’t afford this. We are faltering under a national debt that
could reach as high as 40 trillion dollars within a decade and illegal
immigration is a big part of that number. The money has to come from somewhere.
Since Congress didn’t pass this legislation and did not appropriate funds for
it, where will the money come from? Tax dollars alone will not pay for
all of it, so the cost will be satisfied by illegally raiding other
programs. Veterans hospitals or border control stations that monitor drug
trafficking could be the victims. Who knows what else might be raided?
to fix the immigration problem, not add to it. Everyone knows that Obama
only did this to gain Hispanic support in the upcoming election. It is
transparent pandering and everyone can see right through it. (Pardon the pun.) If he
really wanted to do this, why did he wait until now? He had both houses
of Congress and complete power at the beginning of his term yet he said that he
couldn’t do it without Congressional authority. Funny how things change
when desperation sets in and he needs every special interest group he can grab
to be re-elected.
Unfortunately he loses in the long run because
the majority of the American people see what the costs of this massive amnesty
program are. They see their own families struggling while law breakers
are reaping the benefits. Immigrants who have gone through the process
the right way are fighting mad about this and rightly so. They see now
that it would have been easier to stay illegal and reap the rewards.
I am not a racist. Neither are most
Americans. We understand that people want a better life. All we are
asking for the privilege of living in this great country is that you come here
“legally”, abide by the rules, and start off your new life the right way.
Don’t burden us with uncontrollable costs that bring down the standard of
living in America. Become one of us, work hard and contribute to the greatness
of this country. If it is done the right way, the legal way, American
citizenship is valued much more.
California spending annually $22 billion to support illegals
Going To the Top!
By Susan Tully
I've been at the immigration reform and enforcement
table for about 20 years. I've worked with activists during all those years.
But last week, in Los Angeles, I had a first-time-ever experience at an
activist brain storming session.
Gathered for an update on Stop AB131, the petition
drive to gather signatures to force a ballot initiative as to whether the
California taxpayers should fund college grants to illegal aliens, I asked the
top activist leaders from Southern California how the signature drive was
They started updating me with the positive response
from California residents who signed the petitions, but then admitted about 500,000
more signatures were still needed. When I said there was only a little more
than three weeks to go to meet the January 5th deadline, suddenly their faces
dropped at once, and the room went completely silent.
It was easy to read on each of their faces; the
task was nearly impossible! Without big money to pay signature gatherers or a
tsunami of petitions flooding in, the taxpayers of California will be forced to
give grant money to illegal aliens for college, on top of the $22 billion they
are spending annually in California to support the illegal alien population.
While all of our minds were racing and searching
for suggestions as to how to accomplish this daunting task of gathering
signatures, Lupe Moreno, long time Hispanic leader from Santa Ana, said
"Can we have a prayer?" Everyone agreed to pray.
As the prayer went around the table, people
expressed their sorrow for the lack of leadership in the State of California
and in the nation to protect the interest of American citizens, and asked for divine
guidance in helping them understand the harm their policies are inflicting on
millions of innocent people in the state. In all the years I have worked on
this issue, I had not witnessed the sort of sincere emotion that was expressed
in that room.
(THE FASTEST GROWING POLITICAL PARTY
IN AMERICA IS THE MEXICAN FASCIST PARTY of LA RAZA! AND WE ARE FORCED TO FUND
You see, the
politicians in California are happy to give money the state doesn't have to
illegal aliens to attend college, while they cut the budgets and slash programs
for public safety, right and left. The American citizen's interests and safety
are simply collateral damage for seeking and appealing to the illegal alien
These activists in California have already learned
what the rest of the nation is about to learn. We the people. . . are the only
ones looking out for the best interest of American citizens. With few
exceptions, we have no national leadership on the issue of stopping the illegal
migration flow into our nation.
American citizenship or the benefits thereof have
become a commodity for politicians to pander and barter away. They will grant
de facto citizenship through sanctuary policies, in-state tuition,
non-compliance with Secure Communities, grants for college, etc., etc., etc.
President Obama and most the Republican presidential hopefuls are peddling
various versions of amnesty proposals if they are elected next year.
What do these politicians want in return? They are
hoping to leverage enough votes in key states to put them over the top in 2012,
no matter what it costs the American people. This is futures betting: The
politicians are gambling the nation's future in hopes of winning the next
So while the
state can't afford to pay its bills or provide decent services to citizens,
these California activists watch their elected leaders lavish still more
benefits for people who don't have a legal right to be in the country. And
while their child might have to pay out-of-state tuition to go to college in
another state, thousands of illegal aliens are going to college at in-state
tuition rates in California that they are subsidizing.
they know that millions of other illegal alien parents are receiving food
stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance and dozens of other state and local
benefits for their American-born children, while they have to decide which
bills will be paid this month and which will have to wait.
It's not hard to understand why the activist of
California need all the help they can get. Please go to www.stopAB131.com and
lend a hand to our friends and family and the people of California to do what
needs to be done for the good of our children first.
LA RAZA DEMS BUILD THE “DREAM ACT” LIFE FOR LA RAZA OFF THE AMERICANS BACK!
NOT ONE AMERICAN VOTED FOR ONE DREAM ACT HANDOUT!
Barack Obama cancelled three operations to kill Osama bin Laden before finally going ahead with the mission at the insistence of Hillary Clinton, according to a new book. The explosive allegation is contained in an expose by journalist Rich Miniter, who argues that the White House’s carefully-crafted narrative of Obama as a decisive leader who dispatched the al-Qaeda leader despite the doubts of advisers is a myth. Leading from Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him will be published on Tuesday. Excerpts have been viewed by Mail Online.
Explosive claims: Barack Obama allegedly cancelled three operations to kill Osama bin Laden before finally going ahead with the mission at the insistence of Hillary Clinton
Obama and Clinton watch the moment bin Laden is killed on a television screen
Miniter, a former ‘Wall Street Journal’, ‘Washington Times’ and ‘Sunday Times’ of London journalist, cites an unnamed source within Joint Special Operations Command as revealing that three ‘kill’ missions were cancelled by Obama in January, February and March 2011. Bin Laden was eventually killed by US Navy SEALs inside his compound in Abbotobad, Pakistan in May 2011.
The killing of bin Laden is at the centre of Obama’s re-election campaign and is likely to be highlighted yet again by his aides on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks next month. Obama has already come under fire from former SEALs for trumpeting his role in the raid. Until now, no one has claimed that he was reluctant even to launch it. Miniter portrays Clinton as the main force behind killing bin Laden and contends that the prevaricating Obama has been in thrall to a number of dominant women – Clinton, top adviser Valerie Jarrett and his wife Michelle. It was Jarrett, a long-time Chicago ally, he reports, who urged Obama to cancel the first three operations to kill bin Laden.
Leading from Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him will be published on Tuesday
Miniter writes that Clinton’s alliances with Leon Panetta, then CIA director and now Pentagon chief, and David Petraeus, then head of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan and now at the helm at the CIA, were critical in bringing bin Laden to justice. At the start of his presidency, Miniter writes, Obama was ‘studiously undecided’ about whether to kill the mastermind of 9/11. ‘He refused to weigh in or commit himself on even small matters related to a possible strike on bin Laden.’ He continues: ‘Obama was often disengaged as the bin Laden operation took shape; he left critical decisions to the then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, then-Secretary of Defence Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. ‘Obama feared taking responsibility for a risky raid that might go tragically wrong.’ Initially, Miniter writes, Obama deferred to Jarrett over whether to go after bin Laden. ‘Jarrett opposed the idea. She worried about a backlash against the president if the operation failed, or even if it succeeded. Clinton privately fumed about Jarrett’s relentless presence and her injection of political considerations at every turn. ‘Throughout 2009 Obama demanded more and more certainty about U.S. intelligence concerning bin Laden. Jarrett repeatedly reminded Obama and other executive-branch officials that the president had campaigned on the “intelligence failures” of the Bush years. ‘There was no need, she said, to hand our political rivals a set of intelligence failures of our own. ‘As CIA covert teams successfully parried concerns about intelligence by extraordinary efforts that proved bin Laden was indeed in the Abottobad compound, a new set of delaying tactics emerged, embedded in the debate over what should actually be done.’ Despite their rivalry during the battle for the 2008 Democratic nomination, Clinton had gradually won over Obama and established her influence during weekly meetings in the Oval Office. ‘Clinton used her weekly meeting to begin lobbying for a decisive blow against bin Laden.
Insistent: Miniter portrays Hillary Clinton as the main force behind killing bin Laden
‘She knew her husband had paid a political price for failing to stop bin Laden before the September 11 attacks. She knew Obama’s presidency could be mortally wounded if he had bin Laden in his gun sights and didn’t fire.’ Eventually, Miniter writes, Obama was convinced that bin Laden should be pursued but still had reservations about pulling the metaphorical trigger. ‘He knew Clinton was right. So he agreed to keep making minor decisions, but remained uneasy about the big one at the end—deciding to kill bin Laden, and to risk losing American and Pakistani lives in the process.’ Even the day before bin Laden’s demise, Miniter writes, Obama was seized by a ‘fourth moment of indecision’. The White House later said that poor weather conditions prompted this final delay but Miniter writes that he obtained the US Air Force Combat Meteorological Centre’s weather report for that day and established that it showed ‘ideal conditions’ for the SEAL raid.
OBAMA'S ADMINISTRATION IS INFESTED WITH BANKSTER CONNECTED CON MEN, OR LA RAZA. THE REASON OBAMA BROUGHT IN TIM GEITHNER WAS BECAUSE HE WAS BUSH'S ARCHITECT FOR BANKSTER-WRITTEN BAIOUTS.
ISN'T OBAMA NOTHING MORE THAN BUSH'S THIRD TERM ON STEROIDS?
NO PRESIDENT IN HISTORY HAS TAKEN MORE FROM THE BANKS THAN OBAMA. AND NONE OF GONE TO PRISON OR EVER WILL!
“It was shocking,” he told theDaily Ticker,“how much control the big banks had over their own bailout and how they often would dictate terms of some of the TARP programs and the overwhelming deference shown by Treasury officials to the banks. I saw no differences in these core issues between the Bush and Obama administrations.”
* This is an epic crime story with an apparently clean getaway, courtesy of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Both presidents proved unwilling to hold anyone to account—or even to launch meaningful investigations.
Records show that four out of Obama's top five contributors are employees of financial industry giants - Goldman Sachs ($571,330), UBS AG ($364,806), JPMorgan Chase ($362,207) and Citigroup ($358,054).
DURING OBAMA’S FIRST 2 YEARS ALONE, HIS CRIMINAL BANKSTERS MADE MORE PROFITS THAN DURING ALL 8 YEARS OF BUSH!
BANKSTER PROFITS AND CRIMES ARE SOARING! So are foreclosures!
GIVEN OBAMA’S KISSING UP TO THE MEXICAN FASCIST PARTY of LA RAZA, YOU WOULD THINK HE WOULD AT LEAST HELP HIS PARTY BASE OF ILLEGALS?!?!
Frustrated allies — including Congressional Democrats and liberal advocacy groups not normally focused on housing, like theNational Council of La Raza— were shouting for new action to prevent foreclosures.
WASHINGTON — After inheriting the worst economic downturn sincethe Great Depression,President Obamapoured vast amounts of money into efforts to stabilize the financial system, rescue the auto industry and revive the economy.
But he tried to finesse the cleanup of the housing crash, rejecting unpopular proposals for a broad bailout of homeowners facingforeclosurein favor of a limited aid program — and a bet that a recovering economy would take care of the rest.
During his first two years in office, Mr. Obama and his advisers repeatedly affirmed this carefully calibrated strategy, leaving unspent hundreds of billions of dollars that Congress had allocated to buy mortgage loans, even as millions of people lost their homes and the economic recovery stalled somewhere between crisis and prosperity.
The nation’s painfully slow pace of growth is now the primary threat to Mr. Obama’s bid for a second term, and some economists and political allies say the cautious response to the housing crisis was the administration’s most significant mistake. The bailouts of banks and automakers are now widely regarded as crucial steps in arresting therecession, while the depressed housing market remains a millstone.
“They were not aggressive in taking the steps that could have been taken,” saidRepresentative Zoe Lofgren, chairwoman of the California Democratic caucus. “And as a consequence they did not interrupt the catastrophic spiral downward in our economy.”
Mr. Obama insisted the government should help only “responsible borrowers,” and his administration offered aid to fewer than half of those facing foreclosure, excluding landlords, owners of big-ticket homes and those judged to have excessive debts.
He decided to rely on mortgage companies to modify unaffordable loans rather than have the government take control by purchasing the loans, the approach advocated by his chief political rivals in the 2008 presidential race, Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain.
The administration did not push for legislation to make mortgage companies help borrowers. The financial incentives it offered were often insufficient. And it responded slowly to warnings, including those in letters homeowners sent to Mr. Obama, that companies were not cooperating.
The result was a plan that failed to meet even its own modest goals, data shows. Mr. Obama said in Arizona a few weeks after taking office that the government would help “as many as three to four million homeowners to modify the terms of their mortgages to avoid foreclosure.” As of May, 4.3 million people had applied for aid, but only one million had received government-sponsored modifications, according tothe most recent data. About a third of those turned away lost their homes, were facing foreclosure or filed for bankruptcy.
In June 2011, Mr. Obama conceded that his administration had not done enough. “And so,” he said, “we’re going back to the drawing board.”
The government has since enriched incentives for companies and found new ways to press them to take action. More people are getting help, and the housing market has finally begun to recover, leading some of the president’s allies to wonder what might have been.
“If the program they have now had been used at the beginning, it would have had a tremendous impact,” said John Taylor, chief executive of theNational Community Reinvestment Coalition, an umbrella group for housing advocates.
But it is impossible to know whether a more forceful response would have produced better results. Administration officials argue that the missed opportunity was relatively small because mortgage companies were unprepared to help homeowners even if the government had pushed harder — and the government was unprepared to take the companies’ place.
“We operated at the frontier of what was possible,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, whose department oversaw the housing plan, said in a statement. “These programs helped millions stay in their homes and millions more refinance to take advantage of lower interest rates.”
The president gets a purple file each day holding 10 letters selected from the thousands that arrive at the White House. Almost as soon as the administration started its housing plan, he began to see complaints.
“I get letters every day,” Mr. Obama said at a June 2009 news conference, “from people who say, ‘You know, I appreciate that you put out this mortgage program, but the bank is still not letting me modify my mortgage, and I’m about to lose my home.’ And then I’ve got to call my staff and team and find out why isn’t it working for these folks, and can we adjust it, can we tweak it, can we make it more aggressive.”
Some of the letters came from people the administration was not trying to help. But in Arizona the president had also made promises that the government was not ready to keep.
Mr. Obama had emphasized that borrowers with financial problems could get mortgage modifications even before missing a payment. But the administration did not define eligibility for that kind of pre-emptive aid, and more than 4,000 people called the Treasury Department during the first year to complain they had been turned away on the grounds they had not missed a payment.
People who lost their jobs generally could not qualify for modifications, but more than 18 months would pass before the White House persuaded mortgage companies to let people skip a few payments while looking for work.
And there were unsettling stories about mortgage companies repeatedly losing paperwork, rejecting qualified applicants and, with surprising frequency, foreclosing on the very customers they had just agreed to help.
The president’s advisers, including Mr. Geithner and Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, played down the significance of these anecdotes. They saw no evidence of widespread problems, and besides, the broader strategy was working: the recession ended in June 2009, and housing prices posted the first monthly increase in three years.
In late July, eager to claim credit, the president bounded onto a high school stage in Raleigh, N.C.
“We knew that ending our immediate economic crisis would require ending the housing crisis, where it began, or at least slowing down the pace of foreclosures,” he said. “We didn’t stop every foreclosure. We couldn’t help every single homeowner who had gotten overextended, but folks who could make their payments with a little bit of help, we were able to keep them in their homes.”
The celebration was premature. By the end of 2009 only 66,465 borrowers had received government-backed mortgage modifications, and the pace of foreclosures continued to rise: more than 900,000 homes in 2009 and more than a million in 2010, more homes than in any American city save New York.
Peter P. Swire, Mr. Obama’s special assistant for economic policy in 2009 and 2010, said both the administration’s successes in repairing financial markets and its shortcomings in helping homeowners could be traced to the president’s reliance on Mr. Geithner and Mr. Summers.
“They were the most experienced financial crisis team that you could have,” said Mr. Swire,an Ohio State University law professor. “But when you have economists like Larry Summers working on things — well, Larry Summers is a macroeconomist. He’s not a case worker.”
Mr. Summers declined to comment on the record, but other current and former officials echoed Mr. Geithner’s view that the administration had done well under the circumstances. Some said they underestimated the complexity of helping millions of people. Some said they tried too hard at first to protect taxpayers from unnecessary losses. But they agreed that the most important problem was beyond their control: the mortgage industry was set up either to collect payments or to foreclose, and it was not ready to help people.
“They were bad at their jobs to start with, and they had just gone through this process where they fired lots of people,” said Michael S. Barr, a former assistant Treasury secretary who served as Mr. Geithner’s chief housing aide in 2009 and 2010. “The only surprise was that they were even more screwed up than the high level of screwiness that we expected.”
Let Them Eat Carrots
Former Representative Jim Marshall, a centrist Georgia Democrat who lost his House seat in 2010, was a staunch advocate of the administration’s economic policies. He supported the banking bailout. He opposed a similar bailout for homeowners.
The administration made just one mistake, he said in a recent interview: it failed to rewrite the bankruptcy code.
Congressional Democrats wanted to change the law to permit “cramdown” — a term that meant letting bankruptcy courts cut mortgage debts — to put pressure on mortgage companies to modify loans and to provide a backup plan for borrowers who could not get the help they needed.
“There was another way to deal with this, and that is what I supported: forcing the banks to deal with this,” Mr. Marshall said. “It would have been better for the economy and lots of different neighborhoods and people owning houses in those neighborhoods.”
Mr. Obama sponsored cramdown legislation as a senator, endorsed it as a presidential candidate and called on Congress to pass it in the Arizona speech.
But he also repeatedly pressed the pause button. When proponents sought to add a cramdown to the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act in September 2008, Mr. Obama, who had flown back to Washington from the campaign trail, persuaded them to postpone the “partisan”effort as an example to Republicans, who said the measure would violate existing contracts.
In February 2009, after Mr. Obama became president, the White House asked Democrats not to attach the measure to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, fearing it would cost votes. In March, a watered-down version finally passed the House, but the mortgage industry rallied opposition to block it in the Senate.
Some officials said the White House had tried and failed. But other officials and participants, including Mr. Marshall, said it simply was not a priority.
“There wasn’t enough political capital, time or energy,” said Mr. Barr, the former Treasury deputy.
Mortgage companies, mostly owned by large banks, had ample resources to improve their treatment of troubled borrowers. But in the absence of any significant threat of punitive government action, they made little progress.
“Here we are in 2011, looking at high levels of foreclosures on the horizon, looking at significant failures in process, and nothing much has changed,”Sarah Bloom Raskin, a Federal Reserve governor, said at a housing finance conference in February 2011.
“It seems to me we have reached the point where this sign of failure is hindering our economy’s ability to rebound."
How Far a Trillion Goes
A stone-faced building just north of the Capitol testifies to the federal response to the last national housing crash in the 1930s. The block-long office building housed the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, which bought and refinanced roughly 20 percent of outstanding mortgages, most within two years of its creation in 1933, to help a million families avoid foreclosure. It even turned a modest profit before closing in 1951.
Mr. McCain surprised Mr. Obama during their second debate in October 2008 when he proposed investing $300 billion in such a program, echoing prominent Democrats. Some economists argued that debt reduction would hasten recovery not just by preventing foreclosures, but by spurring consumer spending, the nation’s primary economic activity.
Mr. Obama, leading in the polls, dismissed the idea as a “risky” giveaway to mortgage companies. “Taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pick up the tab for the very folks who helped to create this crisis,” he said at a rally two days later in Dayton, Ohio.
After the election, top economic advisers led by Mr. Summers told the president-elect that debt reduction was not the best policy. Mr. Obama hoped to secure about $1.1 trillion from Congress to arrest the recession — astimulus packageof about $750 billion and the second half of the $700 billionTroubled Asset Relief Programbailout fund Congress had created in September. In a blueprint delivered at a mid-December meeting in Chicago, the advisers recommended that nearly all of the money be used to stabilize the financial system and for a package of tax cuts and government spending programs. That, they said, would stimulate growth more than paying down mortgage debts and hoping homeowners spent their savings.
Mr. Geithner told Mr. Obama that if even if an additional $100 billion were available, he still would not spend it on housing.
As for foreclosures, the advisers said more modest forms of aid would work just as well in most cases. Indeed, some economists argued that debt reduction would counterproductively persuade other borrowers to stop making payments in pursuit of a better deal.
But the decision ultimately was political. Mr. Obama and his advisers were convinced that even in the depths of an unyielding crisis, most Americans did not want their neighbors rescued at public expense. Several cited the response to the Arizona speech — including the televised diatribe by a CNBC personality,Rick Santelli, that helped give rise to theTea Party— as proof that they were wise not to do more.
“There’s a lot of risk aversion in Washington,”said James B. Lockhart III, who participated in some discussions as director of theFederal Housing Finance Agency, administrator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,“and I don’t think anybody knew how bad it was going to get.”
End of the Beginning
Eighteen months later, the administration’s hopes for a rapid economic recovery had faded. By summer 2010, it knew that the recession had been deeper than initially understood and that the effects of the financial crisis were lingering longer than expected. The housing market still showed no signs of life.
Frustrated allies — including Congressional Democrats and liberal advocacy groups not normally focused on housing, like theNational Council of La Raza— were shouting for new action to prevent foreclosures.
Still the White House held firm to its strategy.“The most important thing I can do right now to keep people in their homes is to make sure the economy is growing,” the president said in Albuquerque in September 2010. “That’s probably the thing that’s going to strengthen the housing market the most over the next couple of years.”
Two days later, an important deadline passed quietly. The $700 billion bailout fund Congress had created in 2008 expired. The administration could no longer use the money to finance new programs even if it wanted to. It had left more than $300 billion unspent.
In November, Democrats lost control of the House, further constraining the administration’s ability to address the housing crisis.
And right about then, in the fall of 2010, Mr. Obama began to reconsider. The frustrated president told his advisers that what they were doing was not good enough. He told them to revisit old ideas and to find new ones.
Mr. Obama was particularly incensed by mounting evidence that mortgage companies were breaking the law in some foreclosure cases. There was also new research underscoring the costs of foreclosures and the benefits of measures like debt reduction.
But perhaps most important was the simple reality that housing, left to fester, had become Mr. Obama’s biggest economic problem.
At a virtual town hall in April 2011, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook read a question that began, “The housing crisis will not go away.”
The president, perched on a stool, listened gravely and nodded. “Well, it’s a good question,” he said, “and I’ll be honest with you — this is probably the biggest drag on the economy right now.”
"I fought against a bankruptcy reform bill in the Senate that did more to protect credit card companies and banks than to help working people. I'll continue the fight for good bankruptcy laws as President." -- Obama**
We’re facing the toughest times since the GREAT DEPRESSION. It is another massive tidal wave of corporate pillage, and like all of them since the SAVINGS & LOAN; it has a Bush involved. And the pillage is still going on and the Bankers are winning as usual!
The banker’s pillage didn’t just start when the bankers got so greedy they shot themselves in the head. These fuckers knew that it didn’t matter what havoc they caused to this Nations’ economy, their elected whores in Congress would, as always, bail them out.
WELLS FARGO and BANK of AMERICA will be collecting so much bailout welfare that they’ve each already acquired other banks. These two will soon be so big they will have every whore in Congress bought and paid for, and can rape and pillage up a storm, and then are bailed out again. THEY’RE TOO FUCKING BIG TO LET FAIL!
Here’s how banker whore corruption works!
DIANNE FEINSTEIN, A MAJOR OBAMA DONOR, is one of the most corrupt politicians in America history. In exchange for two votes (Boxer’s) on NO IMPEACHMENT, Bush made her whore profiteer whore by inviting her slimy husband, Richard C. Blum to feed at the Bush-Saudi-BigOil Hog’s trough of CARLYLE GROUP. With Di’s first check, she went out and purchased a $17 million dollar mansion in San Francisco, orginal home of her paymasters Wells Fargo and Bank of America. This newest of mansions only added to a collection Feinstein has purchased, using money from deals she cooks up for her husband. These “deals” include Feinstein busting her ass to be RED CHINA’S advocate in Congress (Google it!).
Feinstein has long taken piles of bribes from WELLS FARGO and BANK of AMERICA. Therefore, these big bankers told their whore, go front for our BIG BANKER’S BANKRUPTCY BILL because we have the stupid people in this country, and all over the globe that trusted in investing in mortgage devices by the balls! AND WE DON’T WANT THEM TO GO INTO A BANKRUPTCY COURT AND HAVE AN IMPARTIAL BANKRUPTCY JUDGE UNDUE OUR DIRTY LITTLE TRICKS!
Feinstein always does what her corporate paymasters bid. She, along with Boxer and “Wall St. Hillary, voted just as they were told. From then on Americans were fucked over by big bankers coming and going… And then you still have the Banker’s crime wave of CREDIT CARD abuse that the whores in Congress have repeatedly refused to curb…. Even just a bity bit! The profit margins on credit cards even make Bush’s BIG OIL CRONIES salivate! Interestingly consumers now must borrow off every credit card they can to meet their mortgage payment and feed their children. HOW’D THAT HAPPEN, DI???
Not only did Feinstein front for the BIG BANKER’S BANKRUPTCY law, she did so long after WELLS FARGO had their CALIFORNIA MORTGAGE LICENSE REVOKED FOR CORPORATE FRAUD and MALFEASANCE --- TRANSLATE: SUBPRIME PILLAGE.
Wells Fargo simply declared themselves above the law, and there’s no evidence they aren’t, and went on pillaging, and pillaging and pillaging. California has the largest number of foreclosures, with 47% of the homes in Los Angeles under foreclosure! But the WELLS FARGO rape wasn’t only in California. There are communities all over the country devastated by the loan products this bank perpetrated. The Cities of Cleveland and Baltimore have massive litigation against Wells Fargo. But then one wonders how many people in these cities had their homes foreclosed on and life savings destroyed? Well, all they have to do is line up for a bailout!
You’ve probably heard on the media about awful people that shouldn’t have taken out mortgages they couldn’t afford. GET REAL! The bankers are trained liars that fuck people over day in and day out, frequently criminally. They’re above the law! EVEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD KNEELS TO BANKER’S RAPE AND PILLAGE then BOWED WITH HANDS OUTSTRETCHED FILLED WITH PILES OF BAILOUT WELFARE! And not even one CEO goes to prison. Reminds me of the Savings and Loan debacle that John McCain was in the middle of!
Wells Fargo and Bank of America know victimizing the poor, literate and particularly ILLEGALS are good for business! The illiterate and non-English peoples think they can believe the fucking bankers, even when that fucking bankers has an iron rod up their ass! Remember Wells Fargo had their mortgage license revoked for this. BOTH ARE LA RAZA DONORS, and their whore, Feinstein is an OPEN BORDERS, AMNESTY, WELFARE FOR ILLEGALS, GET ’EM REGISTERED TO VOTE, NO I.D., NO ENGLISH ONLY, LA RAZA ENDORSED WHORE! As are Boxer, Pelosi, Lofgren, Eshoo, Waxman, and the rest that voted for the welfare check.
Both of these banks illegally open bank accounts for illegals with illegal ID’s, typically handed out by Mexican consulates like grocery store coupons.
CNN estimates that there are now 5 million homes owned by illegals now in foreclosure. Ten thousand in Congressman Dan Tancredo’s district. You thought the Mexican government would step in and pay the American people back for the massive losses? No stupid gringo. We are MEXICO’S WELFARE STATE!
Wells Fargo is the biggest financial backer of PAYDAY LOAN SHARKS, which victimize….You’re connecting the dots… the poor, illiterate, and illegals! Interest rates hover around 400% and Congress has refused to curb the abuse.
You may be an individual that has a decent mortgage, and you’re paying on it as agreed. But the value of your home, due to the BANKER’S PILLAGE, is now worth half. All your equity, which may have been your life savings for retirement is GONE! Where’d it go? Big Bonuses to Big Banker’s and tips to buy politicians like Feinstein?
Don’t you think it’s time you gave Feinstein, Boxer, Pelosi, Waxman, Eshoo, Lofgren a ring? They’ve all voted for the BIG BANKER’S BAILOUT, just as they did the BIG BANKER’S BANKRUPTCY BILL.
These clowns have also done NADA to help people dealing with foreclosures. It’s common knowledge that the banks are refusing to negotiate their miserable LOAN DEVICES. Moreover, the politicians are still taking banker’s dirty money hand over fist.
THEPRESIDENTIALCANDIDATE THAT WILL HELP THE PEOPLE, AND NOT JUST BANKERS, IS NOT JOHN McAMNESTY, a man whose economic policy is formulated by PHIL GRAMM, Bush’s deregulator and Enron pillager, and Bush’s war machine.
CNN - MONEY
Obama wants to reform the bankruptcy process and has proposed changes to help those in financial distress. As a Senator, McCain voted in favor of legislation aimed at curbing the growing number of bankruptcy filings.
• Backed 2005 legislation that imposed new costs on those seeking bankruptcy protection.
The law, which Obama opposed, passed the Senate with Democratic support in 2005.
• Fast-track bankruptcy process for military families.
• Help seniors facing bankruptcy keep their home.
• Put pension promises higher on list of debts a bankrupt employer must pay.
• Amend bankruptcy laws to protect people trapped in predatory home loans.
"I fought against a bankruptcy reform bill in the Senate that did more to protect credit card companies and banks than to help working people. I'll continue the fight for good bankruptcy laws as President." -- Obama**
From the Los Angeles Times
Subprime meltdown culprits
Low-income borrowers and affordable-housing advocates didn't cause the credit crisis. The real villains are greedy mortgage brokers, lenders and investors.
October 25, 2008
As the cost of Wall Street's credit crisis has mounted, the hunt for villains has intensified and the accusations of fault have widened. At first the focus was on greedy profiteers among lenders and investment bankers, who were an easy (and deserving) target. Then the finger-pointing became politicized, with Democrats blaming deregulation advocates in the Bush administration and previous GOP-controlled Congresses, and Republicans citing influential Democrats at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their allies on Capitol Hill. Lately, even former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who once incited hero-worship among lawmakers, has been heaped with blame.
But it's not just the rich and powerful who've been held up for scorn. Some politicians have also started pointing fingers toward the bottom of the economic ladder, associating the problems in the financial markets with irresponsible low-income borrowers and advocates for affordable housing. The latter include the controversial group ACORN, the Assn. of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which was best known as a lobbyist for low-cost housing before it gained infamy for its fraud-tolerant voter-registration drives. Had banks not been forced to make loans to minorities and people with lower credit scores, some say, the subprime meltdown would not have occurred.
Underlying this point of view is the belief that government regulation and intervention in markets cause more problems than they solve. In particular, these critics maintain that the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act pushed banks to make bad loans by requiring them to serve low-income neighborhoods. Although the law set no lending quotas or even targets, it enabled community groups to extract concessions from banks that sought to expand or acquire rivals. ACORN, for example, has used the CRA as leverage to compel banks to create pools of loans for low- and moderate-income families. Its efforts have generated about $6 billion in loans to these borrowers, while also generating funds for ACORN’s nonprofit housing corporation. Supporters call that a win-win scenario; critics say it's legalized extortion.
Linking the credit crisis to the push for more affordable housing, however, is blaming the victim. Had banks covered by the CRA been the driving force behind the boom in subprime lending, or had Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac been true to their mission of promoting affordable homes and apartments, the housing market wouldn't have inflated as dramatically, and the pain wouldn't have been as great when the bubble burst. Borrowers made their share of mistakes and reckless decisions, but the more fundamental problem is that too many mortgage brokers, lenders and investors stopped caring whether loans could be repaid. They abandoned the underwriting standards that would have protected borrowers and lenders alike.
It's easy to dismiss the rap against the CRA if you understand why Congress enacted the law. Commercial banks' reluctance to serve minority and low-income communities had left these areas open to exploitation by less savory sources of credit, such as payday lenders. Consumer advocates pushed Congress to end this redlining because they wanted banks' good lending practices to drive predatory lenders out of those communities. The law and subsequent regulations made clear that banks and thrifts were being asked to try harder to find capable borrowers, not to make loans that were more likely to default. As the Federal Reserve Board put it in Regulation BB:184.108.40.206.9&idno=12%2312:220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168, "[T]he board anticipates banks can meet the standards of this part with safe and sound loans, investments and services on which the banks expect to make a profit. Banks are permitted and encouraged to develop and apply flexible underwriting standards for loans that benefit low- or moderate-income geographies or individuals, only if consistent with safe and sound operations."
Here are three more data points that show the CRA or affordable-housing efforts in general can't be blamed for the growth in subprime loans. Most subprime loans :TcA9Tzx4aqgJ: www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/barr021308.pdf+subprime+University+of+Michigan%27s+Michael+Barr& ;hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=firefox-a"> www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/barr021308.pdf+subprime+University+of+Michigan%27s+Michael+Barr& ;hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=firefox-a started with brokers and lenders not covered or affected by the CRA, such as now-defunct New Century Financial. Such loans went mainly to middle- and upper-income borrowers . And the vast majority were for home refinancing, not new purchases. The problem with these refinancings was that they were built on sand -- they existed to generate fees for brokers and lenders and/or to tap equity that would evaporate soon after the bubble burst. Beyond that, a recent study found that loan programs aimed specifically at low-income borrowers have significantly lower default rates than subprime loans in general.
The last things anyone wanted from the CRA were the exotic mortgages that have failed at alarming rates, including "liar loans" and "negative amortization" mortgages whose low payments pushed borrowers deeper into debt. So why did those types of loans and other questionable practices proliferate? Because they generated higher returns for lenders and investors.
Consider what happened at Fannie and Freddie. Since 2000, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has required that at least half of the mortgages purchased by the companies go to low- and moderate-income borrowers. To hit those targets, Fannie and Freddie -- whose underwriting standards prevented them from buying most types of exotic loans -- invested hundreds of billions of dollars in subprime-backed mortgage securities. The loans underlying those securities, however, had little to do with helping low- and moderate-income families buy homes. Instead, they were refinancings that pulled money out of homes people already owned. No question, Fannie and Freddie's demand for securities poured gas on the red-hot subprime market. But the companies lost half their share of that market during the boom years from 2004 to 2006, so they clearly weren't the only sources of fuel. Congress needs to resolve the tension at Fannie and Freddie between shareholder returns and HUD targets. But as they do so, lawmakers shouldn't pin the rap for the larger credit crisis on affordable housing.
New York Times
October 26, 2008
Help for Homeowners, at Last?
For all the government’s actions to prop up the markets, credit tightened again last week and stocks sold off worldwide. Rather than confidence, fear of global recession has taken hold — and for good reason.
Bush administration officials have failed to deal effectively with the root cause of the financial crisis — unaffordable mortgages peddled during the housing bubble and the mass foreclosures that have followed. The only ray of hope is that worsening conditions may finally force them to act. At a hearing on Thursday in the Senate Banking Committee, Sheila Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, confirmed that the F.D.I.C. is working with the Treasury to streamline the reworking of troubled mortgages. The aim is to make the loans affordable over the long term so that borrowers can avoid foreclosure and keep their homes.
Though details of the plan are not yet worked out, the outline calls for creating standardized criteria that would be used by mortgage servicers, the firms that handle collection and foreclosure proceedings for lenders and mortgage investors. Loans modified under the criteria would be eligible for a federal guarantee that would protect lenders and investors against default.
If the criteria are well established, defaults on the modified loans should not be a big problem. When the F.D.I.C. took over IndyMac Bank in California last summer, Ms. Bair established a streamlined program for 60,000 troubled loans from the failed bank. The program, which is yielding encouraging initial results, calls for modifications that lower a loan’s interest rate, extend the life of the loan or defer payment on a portion of the principle. Taken together, the modifications lower the monthly payment to no more than 38 percent of the borrower’s pretax income.
An IndyMac-like plan, on the federal level, would be significantly better than anything else tried so far. To date, servicers have been reluctant to amend loans, saying they could be sued by loan investors who might be disadvantaged by the modification. A government guarantee on the modified loan should reduce the risk of lawsuits. The new plan could also be up and running quickly, because the authority to offer the government guarantee was included in the bank bailout legislation passed this month.
An IndyMac approach, with its emphasis on permanent changes to a loan’s terms, is also superior to ad hoc anti-foreclosure efforts of the past year that have focused on offering catch-up repayment plans. The administration has often cheered the proliferation of repayment plans as evidence of the mortgage industry’s willingness to work with troubled borrowers. But such plans often only delay foreclosure, because they do nothing to make the loan affordable over time.
No single approach will solve the foreclosure problem. But Ms. Bair and the F.D.I.C. — an independent agency — deserve enormous credit for bringing a workable plan this far along in an administration resistant to such efforts to address the problems of homeowners.
Congress should give the plan its full backing, and pursue other anti-foreclosure efforts. In a hopeful development at the hearing on Thursday, the Banking Committee chairman, Senator Christopher Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat, said he was considering a new round of anti-foreclosure legislation in November. That would include allowing bankruptcy judges to modify troubled loans under court protection — a much needed and long overdue change in policy.
In the meantime, the Treasury would do well by the American public by going where Ms. Bair and the F.D.I.C. are leading.
NEW YORK TIMES
October 25, 2008
It would be fairly easy to dismiss the gleeful boast by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France that American-style capitalism is over, to file it with French critiques of fast food and American pop culture.
Except that the United States government now owns stakes in the nation’s biggest banks. It controls one of the biggest insurance companies in the world. It guarantees more than half the mortgages in the country. Finance — the lifeblood of capitalism — has to a substantial degree been taken over by the state.
Even Alan Greenspan, the high priest of unfettered capitalism and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, conceded this week that he had “found a flaw” in his bedrock belief of “40 years or more” that markets would regulate themselves. “I made a mistake,” he said.
The question is what new direction capitalism should take. In a globally interconnected world, the United States cannot simply march back to the gray flannel capitalism of the 1950s and 1960s when regulations were tough and coddled monopolies dominated the corporate world. Still, the next president will have a chance, not to be missed, to re-evaluate some tenets of the freewheeling, deregulated version of a market economy that has dominated America since the Reagan administration.
Financial deregulation enabled our boom-and-bust dynamic —removing barriers to capital flows, allowing unrestricted trading of abstruse financial products and letting financial institutions take on more and more debt. Cheap money, from China or the Federal Reserve, fueled the fire. But America’s virtually unregulated shadow financial institutions — brokerages, hedge funds and other nonbank banks — played a particularly important role at the center of this process.
The solution will require rethinking the rules of finance. The amount of capital that banks must keep in reserve will have to rise; deregulated financial institutions will have to be regulated. Yet much more will be needed than just putting the bridle back on American banks.
The next government must re-establish some notion of equity of opportunity. Investment is desperately needed in health care, education, infrastructure. The social contract and the government’s role in it should be examined anew. Addressing these challenges will be an enormous task —especially amid the bitter recession that most economists expect over the next year or so. But they must be faced. Fixing finance is merely the start.
Tim Geithner, the learned and laconic civil servant and financial engineer, did not sweep in and infuse our shaky psyches with confidence. For starters, the 47-year-old’s voice kept cracking.
Escorting us over the rickety, foggy bridge from TARP to Son of TARP by way of TALF — don’t ask — Geithner did not, as the president said when he drew on the wisdom of Fred Astaire, inspire us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again.
The Obama crowd is hung up on the same issues that the Bush crew was hung up on last September: Which of the potentially $2 or $3 trillion in toxic assets will the taxpayers buy and what will we pay for them?
Despite the touting, the Treasury chief unveiled a plan short on illumination, recrimination, fine points and foreclosure closure. The Dow collapsed on its fainting couch as Sports Illustrated swimsuit models rang the closing bell.
It wasn’t only that Geithner’s own tax history — and his time as head of the New York Fed when all the bad stuff was happening on Wall Street, and when he left with nearly a half-million in severance — makes him a dubious messenger for the president’s pledge to keep the haves from further betraying the have-nots.
It wasn’t only that Americans’ already threadbare trust has been ripped by Hank Paulson’s mumbo-jumbo and the Democrats’ bad judgment in accessorizing the stimulus bill with Grammy-level “bling, bling,” as the R.N.C. chairman, Michael Steele, called it.
The problem is that the “lost faith” that Geithner talked about in his announcement Tuesday cannot be restored as long as the taxpayers who are funding these wayward banks don’t have more control.
Geithner is not even requiring the banks to lend in return for the $2 trillion his program will try to marshal, mostly by having the Fed print money out of thin air, thereby diluting our money, or borrowing more from China. (When, exactly, can China foreclose on us and start sending us toxic toys again?)
There’s a weaselly feel to the plan, a sense that tough decisions were postponed even as President Obama warns about our “perfect storm of financial problems.” The outrage is going only one way, as we pony up trillion after trillion.
Geithner is coddling the banks, setting it up so that either we’ll have to pay the banks inflated prices for poison assets or subsidize investors to pay the banks for poison assets.
As Steve Labaton and Ed Andrews wrote in The Times on Tuesday, Geithner won an internal battle with David Axelrod and other Obama aides who wanted to impose pay caps on every employee at institutions taking the bailout and set stricter guidelines on how federal money is spent. Geithner prevailed over those who wanted to kick out negligent bank executives and wipe out shareholders at institutions receiving aid.
In a move that would have made his mentor, Robert Rubin, proud, Geithner beat back the populists and protected the economic royalists. The new plan offers insufficient meddling with Wall Street, even though Wall Street shows no sign that the hardscrabble economy has pierced its Hermès-swathed world.
Wells Fargo, for instance, which has leeched $25 billion in bailout money, bought an inadvertently hilarious full-page ad in The Times to whinge about the junkets to Las Vegas and elsewhere it was forced to cancel because of public outrage. (The ad in The Times on Sunday could have cost up to $200,000, which may count as a bailout for our industry.)
“Okay, time out. Something doesn’t feel right,” John Stumpf, the president and chief executive of Wells Fargo wrote in an open letter defending their two decades of four-day employee recognition “events.” Calling them junkets or boondoggles is “nonsense,” he protested, adding about his employees: “This recognition energizes them.”
In this economy, simply having a job should energize them.
Geithner is wrong. The pay of all the employees in bailed-out banks, not just top executives, should be capped. And these impervious, imperial suits who squander taxpayers’ money after dragging the country over the cliff should all be fired — preferably when they come to D.C. on Wednesday in a phony show of populism on Amtrak and the shuttle to testify before Barney Frank.
Wall Street cannot be trusted to change its culture. Just look at the full-page ads that Bank of America (which got $45 billion) and Citigroup (which got $50 billion) are plastering in newspapers, lavishing taxpayer money on preening prose.
We don’t want our money spent, as Citigroup did, to pat itself on the back“as we navigate the complexities together.” Bank of America cannot get back our trust by spending more of our cash to assure us that it’s “getting to work” on getting back our trust.
Just get back to work and start repaying us.
Foreclosures Are Often In Lenders' Best Interest Numbers Work Against Government Efforts To Help Homeowners
By Renae Merle Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Government initiatives to stem the country's mounting foreclosures are hampered because banks and other lenders in many cases have more financial incentive to let borrowers lose their homes than to work out settlements, some economists have concluded.
Policymakers often say it's a good deal for lenders to cut borrowers a break on mortgage payments to keep them in their homes. But, according to researchers and industry experts, foreclosing can be more profitable.
The problem is that modifying mortgages is profitable to banks for only one set of distressed borrowers, while lenders are actually dealing with three very different types. Modification makes economic sense for a bank or other lender only if the borrower can't sustain payments without it yet will be able to keep up with new, more modest terms.
A second set are those who are likely to fall behind on their payments again even after receiving a modified loan and are likely to lose their homes one way or another. Lenders don't want to help these borrowers because waiting to foreclose can be costly.
Finally, there are those delinquent borrowers who can somehow, even at great sacrifice, catch up without a modification. Lenders have little financial incentive to help them.
These financial calculations on the part of lenders pose a difficult challenge for President Obama's ambitious efforts to address the mortgage crisis, which remains at the heart of the country's economic troubles and continues to upend millions of lives. Senior officials at the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have summoned industry executives to a meeting Tuesday to discuss how to step up the pace of loan relief. The administration is seeking to influence lenders' calculus in part by offering them billions of dollars in incentives to modify home loans.
Still, foreclosed homes continue to flood the market, forcing down home prices. That contributed to the unexpectedly large jump in new-home sales in June, reported yesterday by the Commerce Department.
"There has been this policy push to use modifications as the tool of choice," said Michael Fratantoni, vice president of single-family-home research at the Mortgage Bankers Association. But "there is going to be this narrow slice of borrowers for which modifications is the right answer." The size of that slice is tough to discern, he said. "The industry and policymakers have been grappling with that."
The effort to understand the dynamics of the mortgage business comes as the administration is prodding lenders to do more to help borrowers under its Making Home Affordable plan, which gives lenders subsidies to lower the payments for distressed borrowers. About 200,000 homeowners have received modified loans since the program launched in March, while more than 1.5 million borrowers were subject during the first half of the year to some form of foreclosure filings, from default notices to completed foreclosure sales, according to RealtyTrac.
No doubt part of the explanation is that lenders are overwhelmed by the volume of borrowers seeking to modify their mortgages. Rising unemployment and falling home prices have added to the problem. But a study released last month by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston was downbeat on the prospects for widespread modifications. The analysis, which looked at the performance of loans in 2007 and 2008, found that lenders lowered the monthly payments of only 3 percent of delinquent borrowers, those who had missed at least two payments. Lenders tried to avoid modifying the loans of borrowers who could "self-cure," or catch up on their payments without help, and those who would fall behind again even after receiving help, the study found.
"If the presence of self-cure risk and redefault risk do make renegotiation less appealing to investors, the number of easily 'preventable' foreclosures may be far smaller than many commentators believe," the report said.
Nearly a third of the borrowers who miss two payments are able to self-cure without help from their lender, according to the Boston Fed study. Separately, Moody's Economy.com, a research firm, estimated that about a fifth of those who miss three payments will self-cure.
Administration officials have not said publicly how many borrowers they expect to re-default under Obama's program.
Mark A. Calabria, director of financial-regulation studies at the Cato Institute, warned that political rhetoric is driving the policy discussion. "What we really need to do is have an honest debate about what are the magnitudes of people we really can help," he said. But administration officials defended their program's progress, reporting that it has surpassed an initial goal of offering 20,000 modifications a week. These officials said they have taken into account the re-default risk and possibility for self-cure in designing the effort.
"We're still not talking about a program that will stop a large number of foreclosures," he said. "We're talking about a program that, at the margins, will assist more people. It is unlikely we will see a sea change."
Meltdown 101: Why is housing aid slow to arrive?
By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Real Estate Writer
Monday, July 27, 2009
Speaking at a high school in Mesa, Ariz., about a month after taking office, President Barack Obama launched an effort to keep as many as 9 million homeowners out of foreclosure in a major federal effort to stabilize the U.S. housing market.
So what kind of impact has this plan — backed by $50 billion from the financial industry bailout fund— had on the housing crisis over the past few months?
While outside analysts expect the program to ultimately make a difference, it's been slow to get up and running. And the impact of the plan is likely to be less significant than the Obama administration's original projections of up to 4 million loan modifications and 5 million refinanced loans.
In an effort to get things moving, the government has summoned mortgage executives from 25 companies to meetings Tuesday with top staffers from the departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development. Six other companies weren't invited because they just joined the program this month.
Meanwhile, government officials, lawmakers and activist groups are urging the participating companies to ramp up their efforts.
"Much more progress is needed," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a July 10 letter to the industry, arguing that participating companies should "devote substantially more resources to this program."
Here are some questions and answers about the program.
Q: How many borrowers have been helped?
A: So far, more than 55,000 borrowers have received refinanced loans and at least 200,000 were enrolled in three-month trial loan modifications, out of about 370,000 who were offered modifications by mortgage companies.
Q: What's the difference between a refinanced loan and a modification?
A: When you refinance your home loan, you sign a new contract with your lender. A loan modification involves changes to the existing contract — such as lowering the interest rate or extending the term from 30 years to 40.
Q: Why has progress on loan modifications been so sluggish?
A: The loan modification program requires major changes in the operations of companies that collect mortgage payments — known in the industry as loan servicers.
In normal times, those companies simply collect payments from the vast majority of borrowers who pay on time — and try to recoup what they can from those who are delinquent. But enrolling borrowers in the Obama administration's plan is much more like writing a new mortgage. That means training employees, reworking computer systems and spending a lot more time with each borrower.
Also, the initial assumptions behind the plan may have been overly optimistic, the Government Accountability Office said in a report last week. While the Treasury Department estimates that about 65 percent of borrowers at least two months behind on their mortgages will sign up, the actual rate of responses is more likely to be about 50 percent.
Q: Why has progress on the refinancing program been slow?
A: Initially the administration's refinancing program to help borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth was limited to borrowers who owe up to 5 percent more than their home's current market value. That excluded many people in areas like Las Vegas and Southern California, where prices have declined by as much as 50 percent.
More borrowers may now qualify because the government expanded the program this month to borrowers who owe up to 25 percent more than the market value.
Q: Is the Obama administration planning any big changes?
A: Not yet. While some mortgage companies have been slow to get moving with the loan modification effort, others are faring better, said Howard Glaser, a Washington-based mortgage industry consultant and former housing official in the Clinton administration.
"The fact that some servicers are doing well means that the program can work," he said.
Q: What more can the government do to step up pressure on the industry?
A: Shame might work. The government will soon release a public report on how each company is doing. Exposing the leaders and the laggers could be a powerful incentive for the latter to perform better.
Q: What's in it for the mortgage companies?
A: Money. Under the program, the servicers will pocket up to $4,500 for each loan they modify. But they won't start to be paid until homeowners have made on-time payments for three months. The owners of mortgage securities — complex investments backed by the value of mortgages — can get paid as well, but how much will depend on what it costs the investors to modify the loan.
For borrowers who make timely payments for at least a year, the government also will pay up to $5,000 to reduce borrowers' outstanding principal balances.
Q: What are the consequences if the effort doesn't work?
A: If the program doesn't kick in reasonably well, experts warn, the recent spate of optimism about the housing market and the economy could fade as more borrowers fall into foreclosure, putting downward pressure on home prices and forcing banks to write down the value of their mortgage-backed securities.
Q: How does this effort compare to previous efforts to tackle the mortgage crisis?
A: It's actually doing better. For example, lawmakers spent much of last summer arguing about a refinancing effort known as the "Hope for Homeowners" program. It was launched by the government last fall but so far has provided few homeowners with hope, proving unattractive to banks required to absorb large losses.
So far, only about 950 borrowers have applied for that program, and only 1 loan has been refinanced.
Ex-TARP overseer denounces US government cover-up of Wall Street crimes
31 July 2012
In interviews prompted by the publication of his new book (Bailout) on the $700 billion US bank bailout scheme—the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)—the former special inspector general for the program, Neil Barofsky, has denounced bank regulators and top officials in the Bush and Obama administrations for covering up Wall Street criminality both before and after the financial crash of September 2008.
In an interview last Thursday with theDaily Tickerblog, Barofsky accused Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner of facilitating the banks’ manipulation of Libor, the global benchmark interest rate, when he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2007-2008, prior to his joining the Obama administration. Recently published documents show that as early as 2007, Geithner knew that London-based Barclays Bank was submitting false information to the Libor board to conceal its financial weakness.
Geithner merely wrote to the Bank of England suggesting certain changes in the Libor rate-setting mechanism, but made no public statement and failed to notify regulators at the US Justice Department, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, even though major US banks were alleged to be involved in the rate-rigging fraud.
In his interview, Barofsky rejected Geithner’s claims to have acted appropriately. Calling the Libor scandal a “global conspiracy to fix one of the most important interest rates in the world,” the former TARP inspector general said, “[Geithner] heard this information and looked the other way. Geithner and other regulators should be held accountable, they should be fired across the board. If they knew about an ongoing fraud, and they didn’t do anything about it, they don’t deserve to have their jobs. I hope to see people in handcuffs.”
In the same interview and others given over the past week, Barofsky has spoken in scathing terms of the domination of Washington by Wall Street and the subservience of both major parties to the financial elite. “It was shocking,” he told theDaily Ticker,“how much control the big banks had over their own bailout and how they often would dictate terms of some of the TARP programs and the overwhelming deference shown by Treasury officials to the banks. I saw no differences in these core issues between the Bush and Obama administrations.”
In an interview with CBS News’ Charlie Rose on July 23, Barofsky referred to key elements of his account of TARP, including the lack of any restrictions on the banks’ use of bailout funds and the fact that they were not even required to tell the government what they were doing with the taxpayer money that had been handed to them.
“When I got to Washington,” he said, “I saw that it had been hijacked by a small group of very powerful Wall Street banks... It’s not Democratic, it’s not Republican, it’s across political barriers… [Geithner] oversaw a policy that saw our largest banks, the too-big-to-fail institutions, get bigger than ever and more powerful, more politically connected.”
In his book, Barofsky derides the cynicism of the claims made when President Bush, candidate Obama and congressional leaders of both parties were seeking to ram through the TARP law over massive popular opposition that the bailout would benefit Main Street as well as Wall Street. He notes, for instance, that the government’s mortgage modification program—billed as a means to help millions of homeowners—has disbursed only $3 billion out of the $50 billion set aside for it.
Barofsky, who served as the Treasury Department’s special inspector general for TARP until his resignation last February, is well placed to document the collusion of the government with the banks. He issued numerous reports while in his TARP post exposing the lack of any real government oversight over the taxpayer money funneled to the banks, as well as decisions ensuring that Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs recouped tens of billions of dollars in potential losses at the public’s expense.
Deprived of any enforcement powers under the TARP law drafted by Wall Street lawyers and ratified by Congress, Barofsky was simply ignored by Geithner and the Obama administration and his reports were largely buried by the media.
Barofsky’s book has received a similar response from the media, as did reports issued last year by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations documenting in detail fraudulent and illegal activities by the banks in the lead-up to the financial crash of 2008.
Four years after the crisis precipitated by the banks, not a single top banker has been prosecuted, let alone convicted. Meanwhile, the same bankers, and the government officials who shielded them and ensured that they grew even richer, are demanding that American workers accept the “new normal” of wages at $13 or less, along with the destruction of pensions, health care and working conditions.
For all of his exposures, Barofsky, a Democrat, fails to draw the requisite conclusions, suggesting that popular rage can “sow the seeds for the types of reform that will one day break our system free from the corrupting grasp of the megabucks.”
The criminality of the financial system and the complicity of all of the official institutions are not, however, mere aberrations or blemishes on an otherwise healthy system. They are expressions of the putrefaction and failure of the capitalist system itself. Its mortal crisis is reflected above all in the ever-greater scale of social inequality.
There is no way to break the power of the financial oligarchy outside of a mass working class movement armed with a socialist program, including the seizure of the ill-gotten wealth of the financial mafia and the nationalization of the banks and major corporations under the democratic control of the working population.
THERE’S NO ONE IN AMERICAN HISTORY THAT HAS WORKED FOR CRIMINAL BANKSTERS MORE THAN BARACK OBAMA! THERE’S NO ONE THAT HAS TAKEN MORE MONEY FROM BANKSTERS THAN OBAMA.
DURING IS FIRST 2 YEARS IN OFFICE, BANKSTERS MADE MORE THAN ALL 8 UNDER BUSH! AND NOT ONE HAS BEEN PROSECUTED!
Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America [Hardcover]
BY CHARLES H. FERGUSON
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Charles H. Ferguson, who electrified the world with his Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job, now explains how a predator elite took over the country, step by step, and he exposes the networks of academic, financial, and political influence, in all recent administrations, that prepared the predators’path to conquest. Over the last several decades, the United States has undergone one of the most radical social and economic transformations in its history.
Finance has become America’s dominant industry, while manufacturing, even for high technology industries, has nearly disappeared. · The financial sector has become increasingly criminalized, with the widespread fraud that caused the housing bubble going completely unpunished.
· Federal tax collections as a share of GDP are at their lowest level in sixty years, with the wealthy and highly profitable corporations enjoying the greatest tax reductions.
· Most shockingly, the United States, so long the beacon of opportunity for the ambitious poor, has become one of the world’s most unequal and unfair societies.
If you’re smart and a hard worker, but your parents aren’t rich, you’re now better off being born in Munich, Germany or in Singapore than in Cleveland, Ohio or New York. This radical shift did not happen by accident.
Ferguson shows how, since the Reagan administration in the 1980s, both major political parties have become captives of the moneyed elite. It was the Clinton administration that dismantled the regulatory controls that protected the average citizen from avaricious financiers. It was the Bush team that destroyed the federal revenue base with its grotesquely skewed tax cuts for the rich. And it is the Obama White House that has allowed financial criminals to continue to operate unchecked, even after supposed “reforms” installed after the collapse of 2008.
Predator Nation reveals how once-revered figures like Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers became mere courtiers to the elite. Based on many newly released court filings, it details the extent of the crimes—there is no other word—committed in the frenzied chase for wealth that caused the financial crisis. And, finally, it lays out a plan of action for how we might take back our country and the American dream.
Guest Reviewer: Simon Johnson on Predator Nation by Charles H. Ferguson
Simon Johnson is coauthor of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown and White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters To You.
Predator Nation demolishes the view that the global financial crisis was merely some sort of freak accident. Charles Ferguson makes a convincing case that the world’s banking system was brought to the brink of complete collapse in 2008–09 by a virulent combination of unchecked greed and criminal behavior.
This is an epic crime story with an apparently clean getaway, courtesy of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Both presidents proved unwilling to hold anyone to account—or even to launch meaningful investigations.
Leading bankers walked away with billions of dollars in unjustified compensation. The costs imposed on the rest of us can be measured in the trillions of dollars.
Predator Nation provides a roadmap for prosecution, systematically covering the banks involved, the names of culpable executives, the obvious crimes, the precise laws broken, and the evidence hiding in plain sight. No doubt it will be widely ignored by our legal officials.
Ferguson’s points are also intensely political. Reckless behavior by bankers can be traced back to the bipartisan consensus around deregulating finance in recent decades. This result is a socially destructive industry with immense political power—and capable of defeating all attempts at meaningful reform. The continued predominance of rogue finance is greatly facilitated by its effective corruption of American academia and many so-called “independent experts” (documented in Charles Ferguson’s Oscar-winning movie, Inside Job.)
Big banks hold American politics in a death grip. To understand this—and to start to think about how to break this grip—read Predator Nationand give a copy to everyone you know.
THE BANKSTER-OWNED PRESIDENT PROMISED HIS CRIMINAL BANKSTER DONORS NO real REGULATION, NO PRISON TIME, AND UNLIMITED PILLAGING OF THE NATION’S ECONOMY! DESPITE THE DEVASTATION THESE BANKSTERS HAVE CAUSED AMERICANS, THEIR PROFITS SOARED GREATER DURING OBAMA’S FIRST TWO YEARS, THAN ALL EIGHT UNDER BUSH. SO HAVE FORECLOSURES!
Records show that four out of Obama's top five contributors are employees of financial industry giants - Goldman Sachs ($571,330), UBS AG ($364,806), JPMorgan Chase ($362,207) and Citigroup ($358,054).
“Barack Obama's favorite banker faces losses of $2 billion and possibly more -- all because of the complex, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't trading in exotic financial instruments that he has so ardently lobbied Congress not to regulate.”
Is JPMorgan's Loss a Canary in a Coal Mine?
Posted: 05/16/2012 4:49 pm
That sound of shattered glass you've been hearing is the iconic portrait of Jamie Dimon splintering as it hits the floor of JPMorgan Chase. As the Good Book says, "Pride goeth before a fall," and the sleek, silver-haired, too-smart-for-his-own-good CEO of America's largest bank has been turning every television show within reach into a confessional booth. Barack Obama's favorite banker faces losses of $2 billion and possibly more -- all because of the complex, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't trading in exotic financial instruments that he has so ardently lobbied Congress not to regulate.