Sorry to say I was relieved that the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008” bill in its present form did not pass. I am in hopes that when another bill is considered, it will be made available online so that we taxpayers (as opposed to tax recipients) can read it before any vote is taken to pass this important bill into law.
The last draft I saw included a provision to return a percentage of profits to the Affordable Housing Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund. This in my opinion frankly would benefit the very types of entities that led to this disaster problem to begin with.
In addition, there are, in my opinion, sizable fraudulent securities within the bailout "assets." I spent less than an hour searching various FBI field office releases. I found more than $125,000,000 in fraudulent lending cases in just three field office reports.
Other questionable relate to loans tailored to 'Sharia' law and loans provided on the basis of 'Bad credit ok.' Many of these loans filtered to the community by way of various community organizations.
If we take a hit, we take a hit. The bill in the form it was. presented was unacceptable, even to many Democratic legislators. Pelosi's leadership is an insult to the country and to females in particular according to my wife. The paper in this fiasco traces right back to the Community Reinvestment Act and Democrat obstacles to oversight. Let us not forget that for much of his first term as committee chair, Sen. Dodd was campaigning for his party's nomination for president.
Congress should move beyond this bill by passing an economic growth bill and an energy bill. We need growth and we need to bring home at least $500 billion of the $700 billion a year we are sending overseas. The Congress should also begin a series of public hearings on how we got into this mess and what kind of insider-dealing has been at work.
Therefore, while I am discouraged at the Final collapse of the Bush Administration and frustrated by the Democrats’ passion for the taxpayer’s money. I do what I always do. I look to the past. To our great leaders and there wisdom for some help
"It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now ... Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus." John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962
The Bush Administration has now provided three case studies in arrogance, isolation, and destructiveness: Michael Brown during Hurricane Katrina, Ambassador Jerry Bremer in Baghdad, and Secretary Paulson at Treasury. It is a tragic and very expensive legacy. No conservative and no Republican should doubt how much all of these has hurt there cause and the Republican party.
Michael Burgess threw a fit yesterday on the floor of the house, because in putting this thing together, they "surprisingly" didn't need all 535 members of the House and Senate in the room gumming things up:
What really makes this thing "interesting" from a political perspective is that nobody wants to do it, but the folks in the know understand that we need to do it. Our only choices here are bad and worse. I suspect that politicians like Burgess want to be able to vote against it, yet hope that it passes. I think Burgess wants to be able to sit back, do nothing, then when all of the fallout from this comes to pass - right about the time Barack Obama takes office, he gets to blame the Democrats.
For what it's worth, I do agree that the bill needs to be passed in the light of day, and made available to the public to read. This has got to be a bipartisan bill, and it needs input from all four caucuses. If Michael Burgess wants some input on this one, I'd suggest he talk to his Republican leadership and make his concerns known.
On Tuesday night, in a special meeting of the Lewisville Park Board and Planning and Zoning Commission, the following was on the agenda:
2. LAKE LEWISVILLE MASTER PLAN PRESENTATION A. Overview of the Lake Lewisville Master Plan including options for developing a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) adjacent to the Garden Ridge rail station by the City's consulting architects (The Beck Group). B. Discussion from the boards on the uses, needs and desires to be incorporated into the plan.
We weren't there, but have heard that there may have been a presentation regarding redeveloping Lake Park to turn it into more of a "tourist destination".
Update: We originally heard the park might be sold. We got an update this evening that there are no plans at this point, and that the city is only looking at concepts for how to bring more tourism into the area.
Washington, Sep 24 - Our financial markets are stressed to the breaking point and decisive action is needed to prevent further harm to our economy. But, rushing to judgment and being reactionary is not the responsible way to address this crisis. Nationalizing assets and bailing out corporations is not the answer either.
Congress has a responsibility to act swiftly and in a way that protects American taxpayers from more debt, higher taxes, and untold risk. Safeguarding the fundamentals of our free market system must be a critical piece as well.
Well, isn't that special? (I'm making my best Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" face here...)
"...being reactionary is not the responsible way to address this crisis..."
Yes, the responsible way would have been to be proactive and responsive with regulations, instead of being asleep at the wheel. If it weren't for extremists like you and the others in your party, who believed dogmatically in deregulation, in spite the obvious consequences, we wouldn't be in this mess. But that's water under the bridge to nowhere, now, isn't it?
"Nationalizing assets and bailing out corporations..."
First, lets be crystal clear that you're using misleading language here. We are not expropriating assets or industries. We are not seizing an industry. This is not socialism. We are offering to purchase illiquid securities from the banking system. They can choose to sell or not. They will face their own natural consequences should they decide to hold those assets.
In all this, the shareholders of these corporations are seeing their equity wiped out. They failed to elect responsible boards and select management that would deliver them the balance of risk and return that would have better served them. These banks will survive, but most importantly, our financial system will survive.
"Safeguarding the fundamentals of our free market system must be a critical piece as well. "
100% agreed here, but the important thing for your party is to update your understanding of what the fundamentals of a free-market system are. The fundamentals now, it is abundantly clear, must include a role for appropriate and fairly scoped government oversight and regulation to control for the excesses of greed that drag the overall industry down.
I just heard Bush's speech tonight on the proposed bail-out of the financial sector. He talks a good game, and frankly the speech reminded me a lot of some of the post-9/11 talk. The fact is that this time at least, there is truth in what he says. If you aren't convinced of the need to act, I'd point you to just about anything McBlogger has written lately. I think he's spot on: "May you live in interesting Times" 9/24/08 "The Fallout" 9/22/08 "While You're All Whining" 9/19/08
But lets talk about how to make this thing work for the taxpayers and perhaps even turn a nice little profit. I'm no Wall Street expert, but I didn't fall off a turnip truck yesterday, and I know that letting one man make secret deals with $700 billion and no strings attached is just asking for graft. With that in mind, and knowing I may get some of the terminology wrong, here's my idea.
1. All deals will be public, and made on the basis of competitive bids held in the opening market.
2. The Treasury Secretary should define a standard "unit" of mortgage-backed securities, including the face value, performing status, collateral value, and default risk.
3. Congress should codify the standard and put some criminal penalties on anyone who intentionally falsifies the rating of one of these "units".
4. Each day until the market begins to recover, Treasury should hold a reverse auction of sorts where they announce that they will buy X number of units of a given rating.
5. Any holder of these mortgage-backed securities, regardless of how large or small, may bid in the open auction to sell up to the daily limit of units, stating the price they're willing to accept for those units.
6. Treasury will accept bids until the bidding stops, choosing the lower-priced bids. The lowest bidder will then sell their bid units at the winning price. If they bid fewer units than Treasury is buying on that day, the next lowest bidder will sell those units at their bid price.
7. After purchase, Treasury will have the package rated and inspected for fraud and material difference in value from the stated specifications on the bid. Findings for each lot will be public. Fraud will be referred to Justice for prosecution.
8. Representatives from the executive and legislative branches will keep a watchful eye on the markets, looking for signs of liquidity in these securities. They will meet each week or more often to provide input on the size of the next week's auction units.
9. When liquidity is restored, whether or not the $700 billion target is reached, the government will then taper off these auctions.
10. The securities will be held until such time as Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury agree that the market would support their sale. At that time, Treasury would reverse the process, selling a number of these units each day based on market conditions.
I think my plan would work because it combines the best elements of transparent government and free-market pricing. Because there is no means for anyone in government to show favoritism to a given institution, there is no incentive for graft. Pricing will be competitive. Those institutions with the greatest need for cash to move these securities off the books will price them the lowest.
Because the government would be inviting all holders of these securities to bid their sale, you would be making a market for them. If for instance, the market sees that by the third day of these auctions, these securities are selling for 65% of face value, you may have some investors begin to purchase them, knowing they will get at least that much back if they want to sell them.
By limiting the amount purchased each day to some percentage of the total market, and being aggressive in the first days, you show that you mean business, and you get some of the worst debt off the books.
What do you folks think? Is there some other way to ensure the process is open and fairly priced? If there is, I'm all ears. Lets hope your elected representatives are too. BTW, Mike Burgess finally provided a couple of paragraphs as of tonight, showing that he still doesn't understand, or that his calls to the think tanks are not being returned.
Resolution Trust Company formed to cover debt of Lincoln and 746 other S&L’s
$125 billion bill was passed on to taxpayers
Budget deficit causes cuts in other programs
Real estate boom crashes
Phil Gramm the “economic guru of Keating 5 Maverick” authors Gramm-Leach-Billey Act which repealed important protections in 1933 Glass-Steagall Act. (Glass-Steagall Act controlled rampant speculation that enabled the banking collapse at the beginning of the Great Depression)
Removed regulations from banks allowing them to become directly involved in:
Promotes bank buyouts and mergers allowing financial institutions to become:
TOO BIG TO FAIL
Phil Gramm the “economic guru of Keating 5 Maverick” authors Commodity Futures Moderinization Act (CFMA).
Large parts written by industry lobbyists
expands scope of futures trading
creates new speculation vehicles
shelters certain investments from regulation including Credit Default Swaps
includes Enron Loophole (written by Phil Gramm and Enron lobbyists) which exempts energy trading from regulation
Credit Default Swaps - were sheltered by CFMA. “A kind of insurance one bank could exchange with another, credit default swaps supposedly made it safe for banks to take on ever riskier forms of debt.” CFMA placed credit default swaps “in a state where they were not only unregulated but almost perfectly opaque. No one could determine their worth. Greenspan said credit default swaps would be the salvation of the industry because they spread the risks around. For a more thorough explanation, see http://docs.google.com/TeamPresent?do ... n_0cdjsr4fn&skipauth=true”>Sup Prime Primer
banks accept lower and lower down payment on homes
credit check, salary check and asset checks are skipped
This recommendation later was exposed to be a push to privatize regulation which essentially provides no regulation at all. (see legislation below that never made it out of the Republican controlled Congress)
“Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005 - Amends the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992 to establish: (1) in lieu of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an independent Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Agency which shall have authority over the Federal Home Loan Bank Finance Corporation, the Federal Home Loan Banks, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac);”
The bill died at the end of the 109th Republican controlled Congress
NOTE: This bill was transferring any remaining oversight FROM the government TO an INDEPENDENT Agency! That meant it had NO FEDERAL OVERSIGHT AT ALL! Hat Tip to txag007 for calling my attention to this ah hmmm...oversight
Capitalism is the best economic technique in the world because it demands and rewards hard work. It challenges the American people and business to strive to be exceptional. However, like everything else in life, capitalism can be distorted and exploited. Corrupt people can and most undoubtedly will find ways to swindle the procedure of capitalism. That is why the federal government oversees the American economy to make sure there is some sort of accountably, justice and integrity in quest of revenue and profit.
Time and time again, the federal government has let us down. Former California republican Congressman Chris Cox is the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, The Securities and Exchange Commission is supposed to protect investors, from thieves and reckless risk players. Mr. Cox issued no word of warning at all to any elected official at any level of government. Mr. Cox raised no alarm regarding the bad lending practices that were taking place under his watch. These lending practices have caused the U.S. economy to become incapacitated. Mr. Cox did not look out for the citizens of the United States. Mr. Cox must resign his post.
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman was nominated to the post in 2005. A former Deputy Treasury Secretary Mr. Bodman was chosen to succeed Spencer Abraham as secretary of energy. Despite the fact, Mr. Bodman had very limited experience in energy policy. Nonetheless, Mr. Bodman was no novice in the Bush administration. Before serving as deputy treasury secretary, Mr. Bodman was the deputy to Secretary of Commerce Don Evans. Itis rare for a deputy secretary to be promoted to a Cabinet-level job in his department, but it is particularly rare to move to the top job in another agency.
Under Mr. Bodman, watch there is massive evidence that the American oil companies profited when speculators artificially drove up oil prices. In addition, when the speculators got out with their profits, the price of a barrel of oil dropped drastically but not the price tag at the pump. The oil companies will keep the price of a gallon of gas as lofty as they can for as long as they can. Anticipate more record earnings from the seven sisters. Even as Americans cut back drastically on oil use.
The Department of Energy is our watchdog over the oil companies. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman is supposed to make sure that the American people are not gouge at the pump. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has done nothing, has said nothing, and has seen nothing. All by himself Samuel Bodman has become the three monkeys. Mr. Bodman must resign his post.
The Federal Aviation Administration Chief Robert Sturgells is supposed to keep things under control in the skies and at the airports. Are things under control? No, they are not. Mr. Sturgell has done nothing to keep our skies safe and moving. Mr. Sturgells must resign his post.
Democrat Congressman from Massachusetts Barney Frank Must be forced to resign from chairing the banking committee. this disaster has happen on his watch while he did nothing to sound any alarm. Mr. Frank is great talking about parliament procedures but knows little about the banking industry. In 2002, shortly before accounting irregularities were exposed at both companies, Congress Frank said, “I do not regard Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as problems,” The Wall Street Journal reported. After the Freddie Mac accounting scandal in 2003, Frank said, “I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis.”
Nevertheless, there was a crisis, thanks in large part to Congressman Frank, Senator Schumer and others on the leash of these companies. In Congress, they made sure there was no additional oversight, no additional limit on executive behavior and compensation, and no further restraint on the growth of the companies’ mortgage-backed-securities portfolios, among other changes. Congressman Frank made matters worse by pushing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to take on greater risk. They wanted more loans to people who might not qualify for traditional bank financing. And, as The Wall Street Journal has pointed out, Congressman Frank “pressured regulators to ease up on their capital requirements. Mr. Frank must resign his post.
Let us not forget Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut chair committee with oversight of the financial industry Says he knew he was getting special treatment, he did not think it was any more special than anyone else. When Country Wide waived $2,700 in costs and reduced the interest rate, which would have saved the senator $75,000 over the life of the loan. Mr. Dodd must resign his post.
Barack Obama needs to tell the American peoples why Lehman, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their employees donated an astounding $520,000 to his campaigns.
John McCain also received money from those concerns, totaling more than $150,000.
The Bush administration has failed the country. Congress has failed our country both the Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats have had the majority in the do nothing Congress for the last two years. Therefore, everybody has failed.
The next president of the United States has a considerable mess to clean up. It starts with appointing independent watchdogs, not lazy lap dogs to run our federal agencies.
Every American should be furious about the economic meltdown. It is not our fault; it is the federal government's fault. It is obvious the federal government is not looking out for the American people. This must change.
With all the pandering going on allowing major corporations to traffic in bad loans. Our government stands by - mute -
While oil companies price a vital commodity based on speculation out of sight at the pump. Our government stands by watching - mute
Our nation's air system is on the verge of collapse. Our government stands by watching - mute
Failing to control illegal immigration and address the real issues of immigration. Our government stands by watching - mute
The economy will turn around in time. I truly believe this. Nevertheless, I do not trust the current leaders in Washington to do what is best. I am not sure the new crop of leaders will be any better.
It's Tuesday night, already and that means it is time for another belated edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly roundup. This week's roundup was compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex. I swear one of these days I'll get better about posting these on time.
Neither the authorities nor the media have found any bodies hanging from the trees in Galveston or on Bolivar Peninsula -- mostly because there aren't any trees high enough to catch one -- but that didn't stop PDiddie from posting the rumors at Brains and Eggs.
When I was in college, I worked for about 2 years as a "facilities manager" for a non-profit agency. That's basically a glorified title for the guy who carries a 5 pound keyring, a hammer, and a plunger. I cleaned toilets and fixed quite a few of them. I built things, fixed things, installed things, changed locks, delivered fixtures, and so forth.
This agency owned a group residential facility that was built as a private residence in the 1920's. Like any old house, it was in desperate need of repairs, and having multiple families with kids running around made it much the worse.
When I started working there, I noticed that the place smelled faintly of sewage. I was told by the "old timers" that it was just an old-house smell, and that plumbers had given it the clean bill of health multiple times. They told me that occasionally, heavy rains would cause water to pool under the house and cause problems.
Still, I smelled sewage, and couldn't take their word that it was just "old house". I'd certainly never been in an old house that smelled that way. So, I was always on the lookout for for a cause.
Despite working on higher-priority issues most of the time, I would always come back to that damned smell, racking my brain to come up with a cause and fix it.
I crawled under the house in a tiny crawl space, setting aside my fear of the creepy crawlies that might be down there, and tried to resculpt the old ground so that water would drain out into a pool where I installed a sump pump. Batch by batch, I mixed concrete and crawled under there, trowling the slope of my new drain. But that did not fix the problem.
Thinking it was maybe old germs, I bought bags and bags of lime, and spread it on the remaining dirt under the house. When that didn't kill the smell, I found out what kinds of chemicals are used to clean up after decaying bodies, and I went back down with my gas mask on and sprayed the heck out of it.
Still, it smelled like shit in there. And against the urging of the house manager, I continued my quest to find the problem. I began digging next to the side of the house where the toilets are, and noticed moisture on a dry day.
I followed it up the brick foundation to the sill and behind the vinyl siding. Piece by piece, that afternoon, I plucked out pieces of siding, not knowing how I would get them put back on. The old wood siding behind the vinyl and insulation, I pulled out the circular saw and cut a hole. Inside the hole in the wall was black and moist. Above, on the second floor, the toilet. I cut and pulled more until I could reveal the entire insides between these two studs. There was a soil stack from the upstairs toilet that came out and into the wall, then went back in and under the house. A closer inspection revealed a 5 foot long open crack on the back of the pipe, covered with you-know-what.
Not being a plumber, that's where I stopped and called for help. Best we could tell, something clogged it at some point, then it froze in cold weather and cracked the metal pipe. It had been this way for years. As I recall, there was difficulty in figuring out which insurer was to pay for it.
So when that was all put back together, I felt pretty good about myself for trusting my nose in spite of what the more "experienced" folks in the house "knew" about the situation. But it didn't end there. When after several weeks the smell didn't dissipate, I knew I needed to get into the section beneath the house where the pipe went in, and get that disinfected. Since this part of the beneath was inaccessible, I had to bust a new scuttle hole out of the brick.
Want to make a homeowner nervous? Just start hammering away on brick. When it was big enough to look through, I shined a flashlight down and saw the reflection of water. Yuck. The air was also nasty.
I crawled down and took a look around, not seeing much, but suspecting that maybe the downstairs toilet had a leaky ring. I went ahead and sprayed down in the hole, but went inside and took the downstairs toilet off. The floor was totally rotted and ruined there, so again with the circular saw and cutting. I removed the subfloor and was measuring for a new piece of plywood when I heard the upstairs toilet flush, and saw a gush of water and toilet paper spew out from down in the hole.
Seeing it from a different angle, there was about a 2 inch open hole in the bend of a different section of pipe than the one that was previously busted. Every good flush was dumping more water below the house. Again, I called a real plumber, who quickly found a way to fix it.
All this time, there had been plumbers at the house before, but they had not had the approval or guts to tear up the house looking for the leak they must have known existed.
Bottom line: It doesn't matter how much experience you don't have, or how much expertise you don't have. If you smell shit, there's a damned good chance there is shit. Don't ever let anyone convince you differently.