A Republican senator is calling on President Obama to cancel the $12.8 million in bonuses that were approved for 10 executives at the government-seized mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that received a $170 billion taxpayer-funded bailout.
“I am calling on the president of the United States to cancel those bonuses and explain to the American people, the taxpayers who bailed out Freddie and Fannie, why he continues to reward failure,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said at a news conference Tuesday.
The two housing giants have received about $141 billion in taxpayer funds since the government took them over in 2008 during the financial crisis.
Politico first reported the $6.46 million in bonuses for the top five officers at Freddie Mac — including $2.3 million for CEO Charles E. Haldeman Jr., who is stepping down next year — and $6.33 million for Fannie Mae officials, including $2.37 million for CEO Michael Williams, for meeting modest goals.
A second bonus installment for Freddie executives in 2010 has yet to be reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Politico reported.
So where will these million dollar bonuses come from?
They come from taxpayers. Obama’s millionaires and billionaires get the bailouts, you get the bill.
In case you are looking for a good summary of the subprime mortgage crisis, read this recent article from Investors Business Daily.
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)
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.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The percentage of U.S. homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will nearly double to 48 percent in 2011 from 26 percent at the end of March, portending another blow to the housing market, Deutsche Bank said on Wednesday.
[…]Covering 100 U.S. metropolitan areas, Deutsche Bank in June forecast home prices would fall 14 percent through the first quarter of 2011, for a total drop of 41.7 percent.
[…]Homeowners with the riskiest mortgages taken out during the housing boom have seen the greatest erosion in equity, in part because they were “affordability products” originated at the housing peak, Deutsche said. They include subprime loans, of which 69 percent will be underwater in 2011, up from 50 percent in March, Deutsche said,
Of option adjustable-rate mortgages — which cut payments by allowing principal balances to rise — 89 percent will be underwater in 2011, up from 77 percent, the report said.
Regions suffering the worst negative equity are areas in California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and West Virginia. Las Vegas and parts of Florida and California will see 90 percent or more of their loans underwater by 2011, it added.
Socialism destroys economic growth. There is no way around it.
* 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.
Here’s proof from the Heritage Foundation. Democrats promised us that if their pork-filled spending bills were passed, that unemployment would be much lower than if we did nothing at all. But guess what? They passed the spending bills and unemployment is MUCH HIGHER now than if we had done nothing at all.
That means that we are now stuck with trillions of dollars in spending, massive budget deficits and a ballooning national debt. And not only did it not help unemployment, it actually HURT the unemployment rate.
In January, President Obama pressed for an $800 billion economic “stimulus” package to turn the economy around. Though the bill largely consisted of increased spending on traditional liberal priorities, the President claimed that it would “create or save” 3.5 million jobs. The President’s economic advisors predicted that unemployment would rise to 9 percent by 2010 if Congress did not pass the stimulus bill, but that with the stimulus unemployment would stay below 8 percentage points.
Congress passed the stimulus bill in February 2009 and the President has repeated his claims. President Obama recently said that the stimulus bill has already created or saved 150,000 new jobs and that it will “create or save” another 600,000 jobs by the end of the summer. Asked when the public should begin to judge the effects of the stimulus, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said “I think we should begin to judge it now.”
Surprise! You can’t borrow and spend your way out of debt. Maybe having rich parents is not the best preparation for higher office, yes?
Bush “spent” money on trillions of dollars in tax cuts. That’s how you stimulate an economy. Put the money back in the private sector – in the hands of working families and businesses – not in the hands of bureaucrats.
How out-of-touch are the Democrats?
The Wall Street Journal reports on how sincere the Democrats are in their empathy for the common man. (H/T Hot Air)
The spending on overseas travel is up almost tenfold since 1995, and has nearly tripled since 2001, according to the Journal analysis of 60,000 travel records. Hundreds of lawmakers traveled overseas in 2008 at a cost of about $13 million. That’s a 50% jump since Democrats took control of Congress two years ago.
The cost of so-called congressional delegations, known among lawmakers as “codels,” has risen nearly 70% since 2005, when an influence-peddling scandal led to a ban on travel funded by lobbyists, according to the data.
Although complete travel records aren’t yet available for 2009, it appears that such costs continue to rise. The Journal analysis shows that the government has picked up the tab for travel to destinations such as Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
People are suffering under a recession caused by the Democrats and they just keep collecting and spending more and more of our money!
We knew that Democrats would do this: we had access to their voting records, their pork and earmark records, their records on spending, waste and other issues. People who studied their voting records and voter guides knew that Democrats would mess up the economy.
The Republican response
Read this statement by Eric Cantor and you will hear a completely different attitude from the Democrats.
“First and foremost, the American people are concerned about the economy, job creation and the unsustainable debt obligations incurred in the last 6 months.
Beginning in January, House Republicans laid out a serious and substantive agenda that put jobs first. House Democrats, along with the White House, instead took an unfocused, ‘go it alone’ approach that has fallen well short of its goals and has failed to create jobs.
“Inexplicably, instead of focusing on jobs and restoring the financial security that has been lost by millions of struggling families, the President continues to push an agenda that the majority of Americans are uneasy with. The American people do not support a government healthcare plan that will increase costs, reduce patient choice and flexibility, and lower the quality of care available in our country. The American people do not support the radical Cap & Tax plan which will impose a hard-hitting tax upon families and small businesses costing our struggling economy thousands of jobs.
“As job losses continue to mount, families’ worries about losing their healthcare, paying their mortgage, and sending their children to college continues to intensify. Employment must be our focus, yet Speaker Pelosi and the unchecked Democrat majorities continue to increase Washington’s hand in the free market, at the expense of job creation. At some point, even the Speaker must realize that enough is enough.
Mike Pence gives his assessment of the situation here.