Subprime Scandal: Announcing a massive $26 billion mortgage deal with “abusive” banks, the president blamed everybody for record foreclosures except the party most culpable: government.Speaking Thursday from the White House, Obama scolded “irresponsible” and “reckless” lenders, who “sold homes to people who couldn’t afford them.”He also cited buyers who bought homes bigger than their budgets, and Wall Street bankers who packaged the shaky mortgages and traded them for “profit.”“It was wrong,” he asserted. And now the nation’s “biggest banks will be required to right these wrongs.”Obama acts as if the private sector bears all the responsibility for the mortgage mess. But he and his attorney general know it’s merely a scapegoat for the reckless government housing policies they and their ilk drafted and enforced in the run-up to the crisis.Starting in the mid-1990s — in a historic first — it became federal regulatory policy to force all U.S. lenders to scrap traditional lending standards for home loans on the grounds they were “racially discriminatory.”President Clinton fretted that blacks and other minorities could not qualify for mortgages at nearly the same rates as whites and Asians. So Clinton codified more “flexible” underwriting standards in a “Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending,” and entered it into the Federal Register.At the same time, he set up a little-known federal body made up of 10 regulatory agencies — the Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending — to enforce the looser standards. It threatened lenders to either ease credit for low-income borrowers or face investigations for lending discrimination and suffer the related bad publicity. It also threatened to deny them expansion plans and access to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.“The agencies will not tolerate lending discrimination in any form,” the 20-page document warned financial institutions. The task force enforced these policies throughout the Bush administration.According to Peter Ferrara, senior fellow at the Carleson Center for Public Policy:“This overregulation reached the point of forcing lenders to discount bad credit history, no credit history, no savings, lack of steady employment, a high ratio of mortgage obligations to income, undocumented income, and inability to finance down payment and closing costs, while counting unemployment benefits and even welfare as income in qualifying for a mortgage.“This” he said, “turned into government-sanctioned looting of the banks.”The Justice Department — along with HUD, which regulated Fannie and Freddie — proved the most aggressive members of the fair-lending task force. Eric Holder, then acting as deputy AG, ordered lenders to actually “target” African-Americans for home mortgages they couldn’t otherwise afford. Obama cheered Holder on as an inner-city community organizer who also pressured banks to ease credit for home borrowers.In other words, the same two officials now leading the charge to punish “abusive” lenders had egged them on before the crisis.
Oh, by the way, who gets these funds? $17 Billion to California, $2 Billion to Florida. The “red” states get a few million, here and there. It’s another payoff to garner votes in states whose liberal leanings are wavering. An average of $2000 per home borrower.
At the same time, Schulte is recommending $7.5 million for raises, in part for management employees who haven’t had one in years. — Kansascity.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Mayor Sly James says the city needs $1 billion to fix its crumbling streets and infrastructure.
James on Thursday asked the Kansas City Council to approve what would be the largest general obligation bond infusion in the city’s history. He called for issuing $100 million in bonds every year for the next 10 years.
Voters would have to approve such a large bond authority, and it probably would require annual property tax increases. — The Republic.