Tag Archives: fannie mae

Wednesday Evening News Round Up

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  • As I mentioned yesterday, government spending makes up approximately 25% of our GDP. Cutting government spending equals losing jobs. Our unemployment rate is unacceptably high and, instead of creating jobs, Congress has just taking a big step toward losing more jobs. The GOP is killing America.
  • Michele Bachmann, in an absolutely brilliant paragraph, starts out by stating that she could not afford to buy a house on her own and needed government assistance. No big deal. Almost everybody has had some sort of government assistance with buying homes over the last 15 or 20 years. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have facilitated tens of millions of loans for average Americans. Then, Michele Bachmann pivoted and talked about how these agencies need to be eliminated. Therefore, as I see it, it appears to be okay for her to use government assistance to buy a house, but it’s not okay for you and me to do the same thing. I wonder if you could give her house back?
  • Remember when Republicans like Michele Bachmann were talking about how blacks were better off in slavery because they had both a mother and a father? Remember that? Well, here’s a thoughtful response.
  • Can somebody please explain to me why there is a fight over funding the FAA? For some reason, dating back to the Reagan years, the FAA has been a political football. It sure seems to me that if Republicans are serious about closing the deficit (and I don’t think that they are) they wouldn’t let an agency sit idle and let millions of dollars in revenue float off into the ether.
  • Why is Senator David Vitter still in the Senate? Wasn’t he in the DC Madam’s phone book? How did he win reelection? I’m still baffled by it. He is blocking a nomination to the Assistant Secretary of the Interior because it has become acceptable for senators to block nominations until their pet projects are funded. This is the kind of garbage that hurts America.
  • Speaking of hurting America, there is the NRA. The Obama administration is trying to work to control illegal guns getting into Mexican cartels. This would seem to be a good thing… unless you are the NRA. Then, you’re seriously mad about this affront to civil liberties. It would seem to me that we should do everything in our power to choke off the flow of guns to the Mexican cartels. If the NRA is upset, let them buy the guns and store them in a warehouse somewhere. The bottom line is we have to do whatever we can to stop that violence if it’s being fueled with American guns.
  • Please list this under the category of very stupid: Rep. Ron Paul has written a bill that will simply cancel $1.6 trillion in Federal Reserve debt.  Yep. that should calm the markets. Let’s simply write off our debt. I’m sure that foreign governments and Wall Street will love that.
  • This has been a terribly depressing week from a political standpoint. Because of this, I need to put on something that makes me smile –

Artist: Stevie Wonder
Tune: Do I Do

Grab Bag Wednesday – It’s the economy

Good morning!

  • Interesting study by the conservative American Enterprise Institute reveals that Medicaid spent more money than it should have on brand-name prescription drugs. Over $300 million was “wasted.” This is a significant sum of money. In my opinion, the conclusions of the study are somewhat misguided. It is true that Medicare and Medicaid need to save money wherever possible. They need to figure out how to do this in a safe and cost-effective manner. On the other hand, I’m not sure that forcing generic drugs on patients is the right way to go. Instead, negotiate for fair and lower prescription drug prices. Use the power of the government, the power of the big purchaser (like Walmart) to push prices lower.
  • NPR has begun a multipart series on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The first installment is well worth a listen. (I talk about Fannie and Freddie, here and here.)
  • Is Greece the Argentina of this decade? The financial troubles of the Greek government continue to plague the European Union.
  • Weak home sales are an ominous sign for the economy.
  • I’m not sure what we were expecting in Libya. It seemed to me that the press was playing up some advances that the rebels made along with the “success” of our airstrikes. It appears that the rebels have taken some losses over the last 24-48 hours. Look for the United States to begin to supply the rebels with better weaponry. (Man, am I getting multiple different flashbacks – Somalia, Afghanistan of the 1980s. This is not good.)
  • Please correct me if I’m wrong but it is my understanding that a recession occurs when there is an overall lack of spending. There’s plentiful supply but nobody’s buying. How do you fix this problem by shrinking the size of government? The Republicans have never answered this question adequately; at least, I don’t think so. They continue to argue that we can cut our way to prosperity. Watch the video:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The final installment: conservative questions; progressive answers

My first two installments are here and here. Let’s continue.

  • When did it start making good business sense for the U.S. to hold preferred stock positions in small local banks, as the new small business stimulus allows?
  • When did it become fiscally responsible to have to borrow just to pay interest on the National Debt?
  • When did it become fiscally responsible governing to owe so much money to a country like China?
  • When did we become a nation in which WE THE PEOPLE told the government what we wanted, and then were ignored by those whom we voted into office?

When did it make business sense not let the economy collapse? Sometimes it is mind-boggling that conservatives ask these questions. Let’s go back. The U.S. economy was in freefall. Because of complex derivatives, credit default swaps, CDOs and other exotic financial tools, our banks are more interconnected than ever. It turns out that almost 1/4 of the banks in the United States own stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You don’t have to be a financial genius to figure out that if some of these banks have borrowed against these stock holdings, they are in trouble. The question is, what would be the intelligent way to stabilize small banks? Conservative ideology would tell you to let the market sort it out. Translation: let millions more Americans lose their jobs, let the credit markets seize up and convince Americans this is all for their own good. Or, intervene, stabilize the markets, stabilize the small banks and mitigate the suffering and loss for the American people. One way can keep Americans working and the other invites a second Great Depression.

When did it become fiscally responsible to have to borrow just to pay interest on the national debt? Where’ve you been? Republicans haven’t been fiscally responsible since before Nixon. The interest on our national debt in 1988, the last year of the “Great Communicator” was $214 billion. Where was your outrage then? When George H. W. Bush and then George W. Bush, the sequel, never presented a balanced budget to Congress, where was your outrage?  I guess it became okay to let China buy our debt when it became okay to go to war over oil. A war that we never budgeted for, never decided to sell war bonds to pay for. Where was your outrage… then? I have a huge problem with this selective financial argument. Look, if you want to be financially responsible then let’s have an honest discussion on how D’s and R’s aren’t getting it done. If we are going stand around and fear-monger, then I don’t have time for that. Sorry.

When the majority of Americans decided they did not want to go to war in Iraq, where was your frustration, outrage and condescension? Gallup polls just before the invasion show the majority of Americans were not in favor of the war. How was that different? Was that just a strong president being decisive?

So, instead of asking thoughtful questions we have a list of partisan pet peeves. That’s fine, but it does nothing to further our national debate. How do we get out of this massive debt hole? I’m happy to have the discussion. I’m happy to have the discussion just as long as everything is on the table, but for the most part, conservatives don’t want everything on the table. The defense budget is off-limits. When did it become fiscally responsible to spend tens of billions on missile defense when test after test has shown that it doesn’t work? We don’t have the available technology right now. Why don’t we scale back, go back to the drawing board, something? Instead, we keep throwing good money after bad. I’m happy to have the discussion about cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits as long as conservatives are happy to have the discussion about raising taxes. If the goal is to decrease deficits, then we need to increase revenues and decrease expenses. Put everything on the table. Now let’s have the discussion.