Tag Archives: Dodd

After causing the first recession, Democrats plant seeds of the next recession

From the Competitive Enterprise Institute. (links removed, please see original article for links)

Excerpt:

The Wall Street Journal today writes about how the Obama administration is repeating the “mistakes of the past by intimidating banks into lending to minority borrowers at below-market rates in the name of combating discrimination.” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez has argued that bankers who don’t make as many loans to blacks as whites (because they make lending decisions based on traditional lending criteria like credit scores, which tend to be higher among white applicants than black applicants) are engaged in a “form of discrimination and bigotry” as serious as “cross-burning.” Perez has compared bankers to “Klansmen,” and extracted settlements from banks “setting aside prime-rate mortgages for low-income blacks and Hispanics with blemished credit,” treating welfare “as valid income in mortgage applications” and providing “favorable interest rates and down-payment assistance for minority borrowers with weak credit,” notes Investors Business Daily.

Under Perez’s “disparate impact” theory, banks are guilty of racial discrimination even if they harbor no discriminatory intent, and use facially-neutral lending criteria, as long as these criteria weed out more black than white applicants. The Supreme Court has blessed a more limited version of this theory in the workplace, but has rejected this “disparate impact” theory in most other contexts, such as discrimination claims brought under the Constitution’s equal protection clause; discrimination claims alleging racial discrimination in the making of contracts; and discrimination claims brought under Title VI, the civil-rights statute governing racial discrimination in education and federally-funded programs. Despite court rulings casting doubt on this “disparate impact” theory outside the workplace, the Obama administration has paid liberal trial lawyers countless millions of dollars to settle baseless “disparate impact” lawsuits brought against government agencies by minority plaintiffs, even after federal judges have expressed skepticism about those very lawsuits, suggesting that they were meritless.

Fearing bad publicity from being accused of “racism”, banks have paid out millions in settlements after being sued by the Justice Department, even though they would probably prevail before most judges if they aggressively fought such charges (although doing so would probably cost them millions in legal fees).  A Michigan judge called one proposed settlement “extortion.” These settlements provide cash for “politically favored ‘community groups ” allied with the Obama Administration, and the Journal’s Mary Kissel predicts that “many” of the loans mandated by these settlements “will eventually go bad.”

This is exactly what caused the first recession.

Who caused the first recession?

Here’s a summary of how we got into the first recession – it was caused by the Democrats, and the Republicans tried to stop them.

First, watch this video of Barney Frank obstructing regulators and defending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (H/T Verum Serum)

Now look at this Boston Globe article.

Excerpt:

When US Representative Barney Frank spoke in a packed hearing room on Capitol Hill seven years ago, he did not imagine that his words would eventually haunt a reelection bid.

The issue that day in 2003 was whether mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were fiscally strong. Frank declared with his trademark confidence that they were, accusing critics and regulators of exaggerating threats to Fannie’s and Freddie’s financial integrity. And, the Massachusetts Democrat maintained, “even if there were problems, the federal government doesn’t bail them out.’’

Now, it’s clear he was wrong on both points — and that his words have become a political liability as he fights a determined challenger to win a 16th term representing the Fourth Congressional District. Fannie and Freddie collapsed in 2008, forcing the federal government to buy $150 billion worth of stock in the enterprises and $1.36 trillion worth of mortgage-backed securities.

Frank, in his most detailed explanation to date about his actions, said in an interview he missed the warning signs because he was wearing ideological blinders. He said he had worried that Republican lawmakers and the Bush administration were going after Fannie and Freddie for their own ideological reasons and would curtail the lenders’ mission of providing affordable housing.

“I was late in seeing it, no question,’’ Frank said about the lenders’ descent into insolvency.

This is not in doubt – this is a known fact. Democrats caused the recession by meddling in the free market.

Democrats caused the recession and Republicans tried to stop them

Here is Barney Frank in 2005 claiming that fears of a housing bubble are unfounded.

Here’s the timeline showing who wanted to regulate Fannie and Freddie, and who blocked their attempts.

Here’s video from a hearing showing Democrats opposing regulations:

That’s right – Republicans wanted to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Democrats said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are “doing a tremendous job”.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had paid the Democrats off handsomely during multiple election cycles, but I’m sure that the Democrats’ opposition to regulations had nothing to do with those political contributions.

The only ones to try and stop the Democrats were George W. Bush in 2003 and John McCain in 2005. Both attempts were blocked by Democrats.

Who caused the recession? How did the housing bubble happen?

Republicans on the House Oversight have released a report that explains what caused the subprime crisis.

I can’t read the whole thing! But Hot Air has the key facts so you don’t have to read it either!

* Political pressure led to the erosion of responsible lending practices:

In the early 1990s, Fannie and Freddie began to come under considerable political pressure to lower their underwriting standards, particularly on the size of down payments and the credit quality of borrowers. (p.6)

* Lower down payments led to housing prices that outpaced income growth: Once government-sponsored efforts to decrease down payments spread to the wider market, home prices became increasingly untethered from any kind of demand limited by borrowers’ ability to pay. Instead, borrowers could just make smaller down payments and take on higher debt, allowing home prices to continue their unrestrained rise. Some statistics help illustrate how this occurred. Between 2001 and 2006, median home prices increased by an inflation-adjusted 50 percent, yet at the same time Americans’ income failed to keep up. (p. 11)

* Members of an “affordable housing” coalition shared profits with political allies to help legitimize their business practices: Fannie Mae created and used The Fannie Mae Foundation to spread millions of dollars around to politically-connected organizations like the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. It also hired well-known academics to give an aura of academic rigor to policy positions favorable to Fannie Mae. One paper coauthored by now-Director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag, concluded that the chance was minimal that the GSEs were not holding sufficient capital to cover their losses in the event of a severe economic shock. The authors suggested that “the risk to the government from a potential default on GSE debt is effectively zero,” and that “the expected cost to the government of providing an explicit government guarantee on $1 trillion in GSE debt is just $2 million.” (p.7)

* The Government Sponsored Enterprises led the way into the housing crisis: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were leaders in risky mortgage lending. According to an analysis presented to the Committee, between 2002 and 2007, Fannie and Freddie purchased $1.9 trillion of mortgages made to borrowers with credit scores below 660, one of the definitions of “subprime” used by federal banking regulators. This represents over 54% of all such mortgages purchased during those years. (p.24)

My comprehensive post on this issue is here. In that post, I collected videos of Democrats admitting that their plan was to force banks to make loans to unqualified borrowers, as well as news articles by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times on the topic.

Understanding the effects of government-run health care

Previous health care posts

Before we see today’s post, here are some of my previous posts on health care.

Socialized medicine by the numbers

I was having a nice chat today with a friend about whether we should expect government-run health care to work as well as private health care. I asked to him to reflect on how incompetent government offices are for services like driver’s licenses, vehicle titles, immigration, postal services, etc. Then I asked him how satisfied he was shopping online from Amazo.com or in person at Wal-mart. A private seller in the free market needs to meet your needs better than other competitors, so you will get good service – because you have a free choice. But what happens when you have only one option?

Hot Air has a post by DirectorBlue that analyzes government-run health care.

Here are just a few of his numbers related to waiting times:

14: The percentage of all patients in Britain who wait more than one (1) year to receive treatment after a referral by a general practitioner. Half of all National Health Care patients in Britain wait between 18 and 52 weeks for treatment.

90: Number of days, on average, each Canadian patient must wait for an MRI under the Canadian government-run health care system.

750: The estimated number of people waiting in line (in the pouring rain) at Britain’s Bury Office attempting to register for dental care.

10,000: Number of Canadian breast cancer patients to file a class action lawsuit against Quebec’s hospitals because, on average, they were forced to wait 60 days to begin post-operative radiation treatments.

443,849: The number of British patients of the National Healthcare Service (NHS) who waited four or more weeks for inpatient admittance into a hospital (Excel file) in May of 2009 (more than 75% of all patients).

1,500,000: The number of Canadians who do not have — and cannot find — a general practitioner/primary care physician due to shortages in medical staff: “In Norwood, Ontario, 20/20 videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor… Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery ‘elective.’ …’The only thing elective about this surgery was I elected to live,’ she said.”

The article also discusses the costs of socialized medicine, patient outcomes, illegal immigrants, fraud, waste, etc.

Needless to say, this is a MUST-READ. Send it to all your friends!

Obamacare exposed: rationing for thee but not for me

Previous health care posts

We need to learn from what goes on in other countries.

The latest news

All communists are the same. They only want YOUR wealth to be redistributed, not theirs. In Obama’s socialist America, all the people are equal, but Obama is more equal than the others.

Check out this story from Hot Air. (H/T ECM)

President Obama struggled to explain today whether his health care reform proposals would force normal Americans to make sacrifices that wealthier, more powerful people — like the president himself — wouldn’t face.

The probing questions came from two skeptical neurologists during ABC News’ special on health care reform, “Questions for the President: Prescription for America,” anchored from the White House by Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson.

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that elites often propose health care solutions that limit options for the general public, secure in the knowledge that if they or their loves ones get sick, they will be able to afford the best care available, even if it’s not provided by insurance.

Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn’t seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he’s proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.

The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if “it’s my family member, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.[“]

The video is here at RealClearPolitics.

Read the whole thing, and remember what single-payer health care means, more demand, less supply, waiting lists, rationing and denials of service. But only for you plebians – NOT for Obama and his family.

CRISIS! Evaluating the leaked Democrat health care bill

Keith Hennessey is the go-to guy for analyzing economic policies. He takes a look at the leaked draft of the health care bill that I blogged about before. He lists 15 things you need to know about the draft bill.

Below I’ve listed a few of the scariest parts.

Mandatory coverage

The Kennedy-Dodd bill would create an individual mandate requiring you to buy a “qualified” health insurance plan, as defined by the government.  If you don’t have “qualified” health insurance for a given month, you will pay a new Federal tax.  Incredibly, the amount and structure of this new tax is left to the discretion of the Secretaries of Treasury and Health and Human Services (HHS), whose only guidance is “to establish the minimum practicable amount that can accomplish the goal of enhancing participation in qualifying coverage (as so defined).”  The new Medical Advisory Council (see #3D) could exempt classes of people from this new tax.  To avoid this tax, you would have to report your health insurance information for each month of the prior year to the Secretary of HHS, along with “any such other information as the Secretary may prescribe.”

Employer mandate

The bill would also create an employer mandate.  Employers would have to offer insurance to their employees.  Employers would have to pay at least a certain percentage (TBD) of the premium, and at least a certain dollar amount (TBD).  Any employer that did not would pay a new tax.  Again, the amount and structure of the tax is left to the discretion of the Secretaries of Treasury and HHS.

Mandatory services that I don’t use

A qualified plan would have to cover “essential health benefits,” as defined by a new Medical Advisory Council (MAC), appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services… The MAC would have to include items and services in at least the following categories:  ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and new born care, medical and surgical, mental health, prescription drugs, rehab and lab services, preventive/wellness services, pediatric services, and anything else the MAC thought appropriate.

That’s just redistribution of wealth for elective services, right there. I wonder whether support for contraceptives and abortion would also be required.

Premiums not related to lifestyle risks

Health insurance plans could not charge higher premiums for risky behaviors:  “Such rate shall not vary by health status-related factors, … or any other factor not described in paragraph (1).”  Smokers, drinkers, drug users, and those in terrible physical shape would all have their premiums subsidized by the healthy.

Guaranteed issue and renewal

All health insurance would be required to have guaranteed issue and renewal, modified community rating, no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, no lifetime or annual limits on benefits, and family policies would have to cover “children” up to age 26.

…Guaranteed issue and renewal combined with modified community rating would dramatically increase premiums for the overwhelming majority of those Americans who now have private health insurance.  New Jersey is the best example of health insurance mandates gone wild.  In the name of protecting their citizens, premiums are extremely high to cover the cross-subsidization of those who are uninsurable.

Massive wealth redistribution, especially to Democrats

People from 150% of poverty up to 500% (!!) would get their health insurance subsidized (on a sliding scale).  If this were in effect in 2009, a family of four with income of $110,000 would get a small subsidy.  The bill does not indicate the source of funds to finance these subsidies.

…People in high cost areas (e.g., New York City, Boston, South Florida, Chicago, Los Angeles) would get much bigger subsidies than those in low cost areas (e.g., much of the rest of the country, especially in rural areas).  The subsidies are calculated as a percentage of the “reference premium,” which is determined based on the cost of plans sold in that particular geographic area.

Hennessey then goes on to explain all of the implications of his 15 points. READ IT ALL.

BONUS

Verum Serum has 2 posts up where they examine:

Comparing patient outcomes for cancer treatment in the USA vs Europe

Related chart:

Cancer mortality rates
Cancer mortality rates

AND:

Obama’s plan to pass the health care bill unilaterally, under a bi-partisan smokescreen

They have a plan to bypass the likely Republican filibuster. It’s a done deal.