March 1, 2010

Thanks, VDH

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:48 pm

As usual, nobody says it better than Victor Davis Hanson (ordered listing and paragraph breaks added by me; bold is mine):

We have variously heard that opposition to Obama is based on:

  1. right-wing, tea-party know-nothing angst;
  2. greedy Wall Street profit-making to ensure riches for the elite;
  3. narrowly-minded partisanship of Republicans that only want power for themselves rather than what is good for America;
  4. the clueless American people and their “broken” system that hasn’t yet fathomed what a rare chance they have with a prophet like Obama who can lift them out of their NASCAR ignorance.

All of those tropes either did not resonate or backfired. Obama laughing about “tea-baggers,” his “fat cats” quip, his “partisans and Washington insiders,” and the notion that Americans will come to appreciate health care once he forces it upon them — they all failed.

What is left? The race card. Some of his own supporters have played it; other losing politicians like Gov. Paterson tried it. Yet it is a prescription for turning failure into catastrophe. Every time Obama got near racial grievance-mongering — the Rev. Wright mess, the “typical white person” slur, the clingers speech, the Holder “cowards” outburst, the Skip Gates “stereotyping” whine — he sunk in the polls or had to backtrack big time.

The population is so tired of racial chauvinism, so multiracial itself, so convinced that constant affirmation action bromides, entitlements and guilt will not ipsis factis remedy problems in the black community, that a charge of racism against the society that elected its first black president will simply boomerang.

That’s why I encourage the substance-free, out-of-arguments, far-lefty bloggers whose response to every failure of this Punk President and what the normally even-tempered Michael Barone characterized last May as his “gangster government” is to double, triple, quadruple, and quintuple down on the race card to do just one thing:

Keep up the good work. :–>

WSJ on Fan’s and Fred’s Losses As, In Essence, a Vote-Buying Exercise (With Plans to Expand the Damage by Banning Foreclosures?)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:37 am Wall Street Journal’s editorialists have a sadly insightful perspective on the continued hemorrhaging at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (bolds are mine):

…. rather than wind them down, or at least limit their losses, the Obama Administration has ordered them to modify hundreds of thousands of mortgages in an attempt to avoid foreclosures.

The companies are doing this with gusto, adding to the losses they have on the subprime and “liar loans” they piled up during the housing bubble they did so much to create. According to Fannie’s 10K filing with the SEC, the company lost $26.4 billion in 2009 from participating in the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

Taxpayers will still pay for this in the end, but Treasury would rather have the losses laundered through Fan and Fred than have Congress vote for new bailout money. So last Christmas Eve, Treasury announced that it was lifting the $400 billion loss cap on the two companies, creating a potentially unlimited liability.

…. Oh, and we almost forgot: Last week, Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress that Treasury will wait until next year to propose a plan to reform the companies so this catastrophe doesn’t happen again. Never mind that Treasury says it’s essential to re-regulate the rest of the financial services industry right now, without delay.

While we’re waiting, we can sleep well knowing that the executives at Fan and Fred are giving their all to lose even more money for the good of the nation, or at least of politicians in an election year.

In mid-January, someone who isn’t a presumptively evil Republican politician (according to establishment media stereotypes) warned about the effects of this:

Obama’s foreclosure relief program called a failure

President Obama’s plan to fix the foreclosure crisis has been a dud, putting the housing market recovery at risk, predicted Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s

…. “It’s a very serious threat to the housing market, and still one of the most significant risks to the broader recovery,’’ Zandi said.

Last week’s new home sales report showing the lowest level of sales since records began being kept in 1963 would appear to confirm Zandi’s fears.

A couple of Republican politicians, despite their inevitable portrayal as presumptively evil, have pointed out that HAMP has in reality been an excercise in bureaucratic inefficiency and borrower betrayal:

… the total pool of eligible borrowers – those 60 days late on their mortgages … was 3.4 million through January. HAMP reported a 28 percent rate of assistance, including those active in the trial phase (830,438) and those granted permanent status (116,000). The two figures combined represent the 28 percent out of the 3.4 million eligible.

The rate of conversion to permanent relief is 3 percent, based on those eligible. (116,000 divided by 3.4 million — Ed.)

… “Many Americans are throwing their money into homes that they believed the government would help them keep, only to find out thousands of dollars later that they will face foreclosure anyway,” Jordan said during a House hearing this week.

… In their letter to (Treasury Secretary Tim) Geithner last week, Issa and Jordan said the Treasury stopped reporting the cumulative number of borrowers who have applied for HAMP – virtually alleging a cover-up by HAMP administrators.

So what’s the solution? Premier — er, President — Obama wants to buy votes — er, ban foreclosures, so the bureaucratic inefficiency and systemic nightmare can continue unabated:

The Obama administration is considering kicking up the fight against foreclosures by banning any that haven’t been reviewed by its Home Affordable Modification program. The move would prevent lenders from initiating foreclosure unless HAMP had screened the loan and found it unsalvageable.

Oh, this is great (/sarc). No one other than lenders would have any incentive to do anything.

Just like that, 2 million-plus delinquent borrowers could stop worrying about any downside risk of not making payments for months on end. Eventually, they would be contacted by their banks and told to apply for HAMP. When that happens, as an AP columnist noted in a column conveniently published on Christmas Day, they’ll be able to lie at will and repeatedly about their income and assets without penalty on their HAMP applications, with every incentive to minimize both in the name of achieving lower payments.

HAMP’s paper-pushers can sit on loans they know are unsalvageable indefinitely without pulling the trigger, keeping them in the trial phase. How “cool” would it be for endangered Democratic congressmen to tell their wavering constituents this fall that their guy kept millions of people in their homes (never mind the disastrous long-term consequences and the continuation of the almost incomprehensible level of losses at Fan and Fred)?

Meanwhile, Fan, Fred, and private-sector lenders would be forced to expend thousands of hours trying to funnel millions of delinquent mortgages through the bureaucratic maze while not getting paid. Fan and Fred can survive this, because Treasury Tim has guaranteed them a bottomless checkbook. But it’s not unreasonable to believe that many private-sector lenders would be bankrupted under such a regime.

Or is that what Obama and his administration really want?


UPDATE: And no lender in his/her right mind will originate any news loans except those that are virtually riskless.

Ohio Reps Endorse Seth Morgan

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:21 am

Well, well.

It seems that more than a few of Ohio’s GOP legislators disagree with ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) concerning who should be the party’s candidate for Auditor in November.

This is from an e-mail sent by Seth Morgan’s campaign:


Huber Heights, Ohio – The list of support for Auditor of State candidate Seth Morgan, CPA, continues to expand with a group of influential legislators have announced their public support for his candidacy for Auditor of State.

Legislators for Morgan are:

State Representative John Adams (78th District), Minority Whip
State Representative Pete Beck (67th District)
State Representative Terry Blair (38th District)
State representative Terry Boose (58th District)
State Representative Danny Bubp (88th District)
State Representative Dave Burke (83rd District)
State Representative Courtney Eric Combs (54th District)
State Senator Tim Grendell (18th District)
State Representative Dave Hall (97th District)
State Representative Cliff Hite (76th District)
State Representative Ron Maag (35th District)
State Representative Jarrod Martin (70th District)
State Representative Jeff McClain (82nd District)
State Representative Margaret Ann Ruhl (90th District)
State Representative Barb Sears (46th District)
State Representative Joe Uecker (66th District)
State Representative Lynn Wachtmann (75th District)

“It is becoming clearer with each day that Seth Morgan has the people’s endorsement for this race,” said State Representative and Minority Whip John Adams. “Seth has a great reputation for being an unflinching conservative, true to his word. Seth Morgan is drawing support from all corners of the state, and I can’t think of a better CPA to continue the excellent work of Mary Taylor.”

I am happy to report that the above list includes Maag, who is representative for the district in which yours truly resides. Maag, of course, is used to bucking the big-money establishment, having done everyone a favor two years ago by defeating payday-lending executive John Rabenold (last item at link) in the GOP primary for the seat he holds.

Positivity: Two years after World Youth Day, Sydney sees upsurge in vocations and ordinations

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 9:07 am

From Sydney, Australia:

Feb 28, 2010 / 08:02 am

A record number of men are entering seminary for the Archdiocese of Sydney and up to six men will be ordained to the priesthood this coming June, a rise that observers partly attribute to the influence of World Youth Day 2008.

On June 11, between four and six men will be ordained priests by the Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell. This is the largest number of men ordained into the Archdiocese of Sydney since 1988, the archdiocese reports.

Two Uganda-born men who studied at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in Homebush, Australia will be ordained in their home country and will return to serve in Australian parishes.

“While Australia has been battling against a shortage of priests since the late 1980s, it now looks as if interest in the priesthood and men seeking priestly vocations is once more on the rise,” the archdiocese said on Friday.

In February, 10 men were accepted as candidates for the priesthood by the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, and they have since begun their first year of study.

“There is no doubt there has been an upsurge in interest in a priestly vocation,” said seminary rector Fr. Anthony Percy.

Fr. Percy attributed the trend to World Youth Day 2008 but also to past World Youth Day Events and to the Year for Priests, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI in June 2009.

Another sign of vigor in Catholic Australia is Sydney’s Theology on Tap program, which attracts between seven and eight hundred people to P.J. Gallagher’s Irish Pub in Parramatta on the first Monday of each month. …

Go here for the rest of the story.