Pat Oliphant — Wednesday, September 17, 2008
On September 18, 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) spoke on the Senate floor in grave and stringent tones about the state of Wall Street, the bailout, and serious fiscal challenges of New York State and its workers. She decried the lack of transparency during the Bush Administration, and how it turned a blind eye toward what was happening toward the economy, and toward middle class families, who saw their wages decline, their mortgage rates balloon, and their employers’ tax rates dwarf their own.
Hillary’s ideas to help homeowners stay in their homes, with the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) model, is a new version of a program that was first implemented during the Great Depression. It sounds so obvious to anyone who owns a home, has lost one due to rising rates, or is on the verge: We lower their rates. Again, Clinton shows she thinks about People. (Read: DNC = fools for selecting a self-indulgent candidate instead of one who actually cares about the middle class and can clearly articulate the problems we face and the common sense solutions we can implement. But really, I’m so sick of saying the same thing for the last eight months.) I don’t pretend to know anything about the economy or understand economic policy. I do understand concern for people. Read the transcript of her speech, plus outlined points on her website.
As far as my understanding of the housing market, I only had to look at my neighborhood. I bought my own very first home in Northern California when the internet-boom-fueled market had just begun to rise. I sold it at a profit before the market tanked. I knew I was moving across the country and had been asking my respected advisers if I should sell in Spring 2005? Over the period of a year, I was told that the market was strong and yet, one by one, I noticed the “For Sale” signs popping up. I’d ask, “Are you sure?”
If I had followed my own instincts, I would have profited an estimated 25 percent more, and sold it more quickly, according to comparable sales in my area. As it was, the first buyer, who made an offer within the first three weeks, fell through. The final sale took four months, during which time I was paying both my mortgage and my NY apartment rent, and I had to drop my price three times — however, thanks to a dynamite agent, I came out ahead. I was lucky. My main indicator was: the number of homes that had sprouted up in my area as compared to several years previous, when there were absolutely NO homes for sale. During that time, homeowners were swamped with multiple offers from buyers that often included bonuses of vacations, time shares, and cars to seal the deal! Buyers were crafting touchy-feely bios with photos to sell the sellers on that they were worthy of the purchase beyond just their cash.
My point is, forgetting about our brain-dead President for a moment, don’t our legislators actually live Somewhere? What exactly about driving down [name any street] and seeing “For Sale” signs was not obvious to them, too? And what about shop after shop on “Main Street” going out of business over the last two years was also not obvious? That doesn’t take a hearing or a meeting, just peeping out of your eye holes and listening to your struggling constituents.
I’m not letting either Party off the hook. Riverdaughter weighs in about the greed, and points to Anglachel. Where was our government’s concern when the housing market began turning downward and the sell offs began in 2004 and 2005? The fire sale, the fire? It takes millions of foreclosures to get them off their dime and bail banks out to the tune of $700,000,000,000 before we’re in certain doom? No accountability for Treasury Secretary Paulson? As McCain said this morning, he has deep concerns about letting one trillion dollars rest in the hands of one person.
Here, McCain is showing that he’s no George Bush.
This morning McCain weighed in about the economy at a town hall meeting in front of Irish Americans in Scranton, PA. He recommends a bi-partisan oversight board to establish accountability criteria and determine who gets help and who doesn’t. He suggested Warren Buffet who supports Obama, Mitt Romney who supports McCain, and Michael Bloomberg, an independent would be ideal potential members of this board.
McCain decried golden parachutes, as in Lehman Brothers top executives asking for $2 billion in bonuses after they ran the company into the ground. He stressed that they must have transparency, we must know which companies will be helped, in what manner, and have this information available online for public scrutiny. He proposed to fix the Wall Street mess, reform Wall Street, and create an economic plan to provide jobs and put our country back on track. He said we need to put our country first and focus on what’s best for Main Street, iterating that we must keep people in their homes and keep college students in school.
Among Democrats, Senate Banking Committee Chairman, Chris Dodd has voiced confidence in Paulson’s plan, but Barney Frank has advocated for exercising caution before approving a no-strings-attached plan. According to OpenSecrets.org, the Center for Responsive Politics, who looked at which politicians benefited most from contributions from the failed mortgage institutions Freddi Mac and Fannie Mae since 1989, Obama ranks second, only to Dodd. They list Democrats as the top three recipients, including the Presidential nominee, who racked up his totals in only three years.
Dodd, Christopher J S CT D $165,400 $48,500 $116,900
Obama, Barack S IL D $126,349 $6,000 $120,349
Kerry, John S MA D $111,000 $2,000 $109,000
In fairness, as I was about to complete this blog, Obama also gave a compelling speech in Green Bay, WI, about making Wall Street accountable. A major problem I have with Obama is his slash and burn style of slandering his opposition, while failing to be responsible for his own actions. How about the Democrats who came to office in 2006 and promised to stop the war, cut off war funding, create jobs, and forward environmentalism? How about Obama’s votes for the Bush/Cheney energy bill? How about his flip-flops on every significant liberal issue: FISA, war funding, campaign finance reform, abortion, gun control? How about 130 votes “present”? That’s all in addition to the despicable way he treated Hillary Clinton throughout his primary campaign. Oh, and let’s not forget caucus fraud, Florida and Michigan. And Israel. Soft stance on Ahmadinejad.
How can I trust Obama in any way to take a strong stand or do what he says he’ll do? I cannot. Do his expediency and greed not equate? They do.
Call your representatives and demand that they don’t bail out Wall Street with a no-strings-attached blank check! Demand accountability and transparency.
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