Tag Archives: TARP

At last, at long last

You may recall that the world-wide financial collapse four years ago was entirely the fault of irresponsible mortgage seekers who demanded houses they couldn’t afford. In other words, the little people did it. Remember that?

Since then – and while a whole passel of criminals who posed as investment bankers, ripped off their investors and made themselves obscenely rich, continued to enjoy their summers in The Hamptons – our Justice Department has been distressingly silent.

But lo, at last.

Federal prosecutors hit Bank of America with a $1 billion-plus civil mortgage fraud lawsuit Wednesday, accusing the banking giant of engineering a scheme that defrauded federally-backed agencies during the national financial crisis.

The complaint . . .  accuses the bank of using a loan-origination program called the “Hustle” to process mortgage applications at high speed with little financial checking  . . .

The result was defective mortgage loans that defaulted after Bank of America sold them to federal mortgage loan guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, causing more than $1 billion in losses and thousands of foreclosures . . .

“Countrywide and Bank of America made disastrously bad loans and stuck taxpayers with the bill,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara . . . [they]  systematically removed every check in favor of its own balance – they cast aside underwriters, eliminated quality controls, incentivized unqualified personnel to cut corners and concealed the resulting defects,” said Bharara.

Yeah.

I am so tired of Republicans getting away with this shit . . .

Since he was only a “chief economic policy adviser” to Reagan, what Bruce Bartlett says probably doesn’t count. In fact, these days that credential makes him suspect; he might be a Muslim-Kenyan liberal. Just like David Stockman. And David Frum*. You know, yesterday’s conservatives.

Republicans assert that Barack Obama assumed sole responsibility for the budget on Jan. 20, 2009. From that date, all increases in the debt or deficit are his responsibility and no one else’s, they say. This is, of course, nonsense – and the American people know it.

. . . Contrary to Republican assertions, there were no additional revenues from legislated tax increases.

. . . On the spending side, legislated increases during the Bush administration added $2.4 trillion to deficits and the debt through 2008.

The projected surplus when George Bush took over from The Big Dog:

was primarily the result of two factors. . . first, a big tax increase in 1993 that every Republican in Congress voted against, saying that it would tank the economy. This belief was wrong. The economy boomed in 1994, growing 4.1 percent that year and strongly throughout the Clinton administration . . .

During the 2000 campaign, Mr. Bush warned that budget surpluses were dangerous because Congress might spend them, even though Paygo rules prevented this from happening. . . .[he] reiterated this point and [said] . . .  future surpluses were likely to be even larger than projected due principally to anticipated strong revenue growth.

The 2001 tax cut did nothing to stimulate the economy, yet Republicans pushed for additional tax cuts in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The economy continued to languish even as the Treasury hemorrhaged revenue, which fell to 17.5 percent of the gross domestic product in 2008 from 20.6 percent in 2000. Republicans abolished Paygo in 2002, and spending rose to 20.7 percent of G.D.P. in 2008 from 18.2 percent in 2001.

. . . Putting all the numbers in the C.B.O. report together, we see that continuation of tax and budget policies and economic conditions in place at the end of the Clinton administration would have led to a cumulative budget surplus of $5.6 trillion through 2011 enough to pay off the $5.6 trillion national debt at the end of 2000.

. . . Republicans would have us believe that somehow we could have avoided the recession and balanced the budget in 2009 if only they had been in charge. This would be a neat trick considering that the recession began in December 2007.

. . .  they continually imply that one of the least popular spending increases of recent years, the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP], was an Obama administration program, when in fact it was a Bush administration initiative proposed by the Treasury Department that was signed into law by Mr. Bush on Oct. 3, 2008.

Lastly, Republicans continue to insist that tax cuts are highly stimulative, often saying that they add nothing to the debt, when this is obviously ridiculous.

Like I said though, Bartlett’s probably a commie by now, so no one should pay attention to him.

David Frum in 2012: Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause.

Media FAIL (yet again)

Bloomberg today:

“The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to rescue Wall Street banks and has overseen an economy that has grown for the past five quarters.

Most voters don’t believe it.

A Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 24-26 finds that by a two-to-one margin, likely voters in the Nov. 2 midterm elections think taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program won’t be recovered.”

Because we need to hear more from him

In just 16 months they’ve added more than $2 trillion to the national debt . . . Had President Obama campaigned on this agenda, he wouldn’t have garnered 30% of the popular vote.

Our greatest mind, Mr. Rush Limbaugh, has a word or two to say in The Wall Street Journal today. The headline alone – “Liberals and the violence card” is accusatory – which of course is Limbaugh’s permanent tone. Be outraged, accuse someone (else) of being the cause, define them as ‘the enemy’, ‘the other’. It’s an old old song.

Not quite daily . . .

In his op-ed, he honors today’s Tea Party and says one of  the reasons for their  protests is what Obama has done to the debt. Rush has perhaps not noticed what happened between October ’08 and January ’09?

Obama was inaugurated as President of a very different country than he campaigned in. On October 14, 2008, Bush and Paulson announced the economy was on the verge of collapse and created the Troubled Asset relief Program for $700 billion.

The economy didn’t collapse. It did however crash. And the ongoing impact on our national debt spilled immediately into the Obama administration. Whether the actions of either administration were right or wrong for the country is something we don’t know yet.

It seems we need to remind Mr. Bouncy Bouncy of that little matter. We became a different country 21 days before Obama won the election.

He wraps it up with:

A clear majority of the American people want no part of this. They instinctively know that the Obama way is not how things get done in this country. They are motivated by love. Not hate, not sedition. They love their country and want to save it from those who do not.

Which is, I guess, why the American people elected Obama and the Democrats. Silly Americans.