From the Right

Observing my upside down America

Posts Tagged ‘Market Meltdown

Fed to pump another $1 trillion into U.S. economy

leave a comment »

Washington: The Federal Reserve sharply stepped up its efforts to bolster the economy on Wednesday, announcing that it would pump an extra $1 trillion into the financial system by purchasing Treasury bonds and mortgage securities.

Having already reduced the key interest rate it controls nearly to zero, the central bank has increasingly turned to alternatives like buying securities as a way of getting more dollars into the economy, a tactic that amounts to creating vast new sums of money out of thin air. But the moves on Wednesday were its biggest yet, almost doubling all of the Fed’s measures in the last year.

The action makes the Fed a buyer of long-term government bonds rather than the short-term debt that it typically buys and sells to help control the money supply.

The idea was to encourage more economic activity by lowering interest rates, including those on home loans, and to help the financial system as it struggles under the crushing weight of bad loans and poor investments.”

Full story here.

ED:

Treasury monetizes debt by printing 1 trillion dollars to inject into economy – effectively borrowing from itself.

Taking such a measure this drastic means the “patient” is almost dead and this “injection” is a last ditch effort to save it.

Written by Ben

March 22, 2009 at 7:38 pm

The (not so) mainstream media agrees Dems obstructed reform

with one comment

International Herald Tribune: “Democratic takeover of Congress was major victory for Fannie and Freddie … Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage finance giants, which have been recovering from accounting scandals, had faced the possibility of tight new oversight laws pushed largely by Republicans. But some powerful Democrats had resisted, preferring to promote the companies’ housing mission over tighter capital standards and portfolio limits. (International Herald Tribune, 11/8/06)

American Banker: “Democrats Oppose White House plan to strengthen Fannie and Freddie oversight.” In late summer Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. began an effort to reach an agreement in the Senate, where Democrats oppose a White House-favored provision that would force Fannie and Freddie Mac to slash their mortgage portfolios. (American Banker, 12/1/06)

Origination News: “Until recently, the administration and Sen. Shelby have pushed for limits on the size of the GSE portfolios, which Democrats opposed. Now it appears that Secretary Paulson will insist on language that would allow the new GSE regulator to use systemic risk considerations in determining proper size of the portfolios. But the Democrats see systemic risk as a code word for portfolio limits.” (Origination News, 12/1/06)

Written by Ben

March 22, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Who benefits from this meltdown?

leave a comment »

Since 1989, Rep. Frank has received $42,350 from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers,” Center For Responsive Politics’ “Capital Eye” Blog, www.opensecrets.org)

Since 1989, Senator Reid has received $77,000 from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers,” Center For Responsive Politics’ “Capital Eye” Blog, www.opensecrets.org)

Since 1989, Sen. Dodd has received $165,400 from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, more than any other Member of Congress. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers,” Center For Responsive Politics’ “Capital Eye” Blog, www.opensecrets.org)

Since 1989, Sen. Carper has received $55,889 from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers,” Center For Responsive Politics’ “Capital Eye” Blog, www.opensecrets.org)

In just four years, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has received $126,349 from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, more than any Member of Congress except for Sen. Dodd. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers,” Center For Responsive Politics’ “Capital Eye” Blog, www.opensecrets.org)

Since 1989, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has received $111,000 from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers,” Center For Responsive Politics’ “Capital Eye” Blog, www.opensecrets.org)

Since 1989, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has received $76,050 from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers,” Center For Responsive Politics’ “Capital Eye” Blog, www.opensecrets.org)

Since 1989, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has received $56,250 from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers,” Center For Responsive Politics’ “Capital Eye” Blog, www.opensecrets.org)

Since 1989, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) has received $51,750 from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Lindsay Renick Mayer, “Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers,” Center For Responsive Politics’ “Capital Eye” Blog, www.opensecrets.org)

Former Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Executives Ignored Warnings

with 2 comments

(AP – Tuesday, December 09, 2008)

WASHINGTON–Top executives at mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ignored warnings that they were taking on too many risky loans long before the housing market plunged, according to documents released Tuesday by a House committee.

E-mails and other internal documents released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee show that former Fannie CEO Daniel Mudd and former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron disregarded recommendations that they stay away from riskier types of loans.

“Their own risk managers raised warning after warning about the dangers of investing heavily in the subprime and alternative mortgage market. But these warnings were ignored” by the two chief executives, said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the committee’s chairman. “Their irresponsible decisions are now costing the taxpayers billions of dollars.”

The two companies were seized by government regulators in September. A month later, Freddie Mac asked for an injection of $13.8 billion in government aid after posting a massive quarterly loss. Fannie Mae has yet to request any government aid but has warned it may need to do so soon.

Lawmakers questioned Mudd about an internal Fannie Mae presentation from June 2005 that showed the company at a “strategic crossroads,” at which it could either delve into riskier loans or focus on more secure ones.

Questioned about the presentation, Mudd defended his company’s effort to compete against Wall Street banks that were pouring money into subprime and other exotic loans.

“We couldn’t afford to make the bet that the changes were not going to be permanent,” Mudd said.

Mudd and three other former executives of the two companies defended their stewardship in a hearing held by the House committee.

“It’s important to remember that Freddie and its sister institution, Fannie Mae, did not create the subprime market,” said Richard Syron, Freddie Mac’s former CEO.

But Rep. Darrell Issa, R. Calif., blasted Syron and Mudd, along with former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines, and former Freddie Mac CEO Leland Brendsel.

“All four of you seem to be in complete denial that Freddie and Fannie are in any way responsible for this. Your whole excuse for going to risky and unreasonable loans that are defaulting at an incredibly high rate is that everyone is doing it. If we don’t do it, we’ll be left out.”

Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee around half the $11.5 trillion in U.S. outstanding home loan debt. The two companies are the engines behind a complex process of buying, bundling and selling mortgages as investments.

They traditionally backed the safest loans, 30-year fixed rate mortgages that required a down payment of at least 20 percent. But in recent years, they lowered their standards, matching a decline fueled by Wall Street banks that backed the now-defunct subprime lending industry.

Republicans blame Fannie and Freddie, and homeownership policies of the Clinton administration for sowing the seeds of the financial meltdown. Democrats defend the companies’ role in encouraging homeownership and stress that Wall Street banks — not Fannie and Freddie — led the dramatic decline in lending standards.

For years the two companies flexed their lobbying muscle in Washington to thwart efforts to impose tighter regulation.

Internal Freddie Mac budget records obtained by The Associated Press show $11.7 million was paid to 52 outside lobbyists and consultants in 2006. Power brokers such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato of New York were recruited with six-figure contracts.

The more difficult questions, however, will come next year, when lawmakers weigh what role, if any, the two companies play should play in the mortgage market.

Options include taking the companies private, morphing them into a public utility or a federal agency, or leaving them as government-sponsored entities that have private shareholders and profits, with tougher regulations.

A watershed moment

with one comment

Clinton signs banking overhaul measure

November 12, 1999

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The biggest change in the nation’s banking system since the Great Depression became law Friday, when President Bill Clinton signed a measure overhauling federal rules governing the way financial institutions operate.

“This legislation is truly historic and it indicates what can happen when Republicans and Democrats work together in a spirit of genuine cooperation,” Clinton said at a White House signing ceremony. The event brought together the president and several Republican members of Congress who have been among Clinton’s sternest critics — a sign of the bipartisan support that eventually developed for the package.

Congress passed the bipartisan measure November 5, opening the way for a blossoming of financial “supermarkets” selling loans, investments and insurance. Proponents had pushed the legislation in Congress for two decades, and Wall Street and the banking and insurance industries had poured millions of dollars into lobbying for it in the past few years.

“The world changes, and Congress and the laws have to change with it,” said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm (R-Texas), who has fought for years for the overhaul. Gramm said the bill would improve banking competition and stability.

“This is a bill that is bipartisan, bicameral and tri-institutional,” said Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), chairman of the House Banking and Financial Services Committee. He noted that the House, Senate and White House had worked together on the compromise that became law.

Clinton said the measure will “save consumers billions of dollars a year through enhanced competition.” He said it also would protect consumers’ rights and require banks to expand the availability of funds for community development.

At stake is an estimated $350 billion that Americans spend annually on fees and commissions for banking, brokerage and insurance services. Proponents say the legislation will save consumers some $15 billion each year, offering them greater choice and convenience and spurring competition. Consumer groups and other opponents maintain it will bring higher prices and jeopardize consumers’ financial privacy.

The overhaul measure is one of the few major pieces of bipartisan legislation to emerge from the Republican-controlled Congress this year.

Clinton’s support for the legislation comes despite warnings from Democratic critics and consumer activists that it could lead to price-gouging of consumers and the erosion of their privacy by newly formed financial conglomerates that are too big and powerful.

“The bill is anti-consumer and anti-community,” advocate Ralph Nader declared. “It will mean higher prices and fewer choices for low-, moderate- and middle-income families across the nation.”

In addition, he said, “Personal privacy will be virtually eliminated” under provisions allowing affiliated businesses of the newly merged companies to share customers’ personal financial data as they offer one-stop shopping.

And up until a few weeks ago, the Clinton Administration itself had threatened a veto of the legislation as it took various forms that raised a series of White House objections. In recent months, the administration objected most sharply to the issue of rules requiring that banks make loans in minority and low-income communities where they operate.

Gramm, an outspoken conservative who opposes the rules, last year managed to kill a similar bill that would have overhauled the community lending laws. The White House insisted that banks be required to have a strong track record in local loan-making as a condition for being allowed to expand into other financial activities.

The big breakthrough came in the wee hours of October 22 when administration officials — including Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers — and key Republican lawmakers reached a compromise after negotiating for days behind closed doors. The White House then lifted its longstanding veto threat.

“It was sweaty, it was tense, but it had momentum,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) said of the final bargaining session. He and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) whose states are home to Wall Street and the banking industry (New York) and the insurance industry (Connecticut), helped broker the agreement.

Dodd: General Motors Executive Should Resign in Exchange for Bailout

with 2 comments

Sen. Chris Dodd called on the CEO of General Motors to be replaced if the auto company is to receive any bailout money from the federal government.

U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd called on a top auto executive to resign in exchange for bailout money from the federal government.

Dodd said General Motors’ chief executive officer Rick Wagoner — who has been with GM since 1977 — should be replaced if the faltering auto company is to receive any money from the government.

“I think he has to move on,” the Democratic senator said of Wagoner during an interview Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“If you are really going to restructure this, you’ve got to bring in a new team to do this,” he said.

Dodd also said he is hopeful Congress will pass a short-term $15 billion aid package for the automakers in the next several days. But the Connecticut Democrat says the companies should have to restructure if they want a more significant bailout from Congress next year.

He added that the companies need quick cash to avoid collapse in the next several weeks. But over the long-term, Dodd said Chrysler probably ought to merge with another company.

Dodd said Ford is the healthiest of the Big Three U.S. automakers.

—-

ED:

If Dodd’s reasoning for calling upon a top auto executive to resign his position as head of a faltering company rests on claims of mismanagement, incompetency, dereliction of duty, lack of vision, failing to accurately gauge and correct failed policies, then for the same reasons Dodd should likewise resign his position as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Dodd’s leadership and failed policies for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac served to usher in the credit debacle tax-payers are to pay for.

In my opinion, both Dodd and Barney Frank are at the top of the pyramid and both should be the first in the long line of many Democrats (please give me a name of a Republican – an no, Bush does not count) to be removed from office.

If Dodd wants accountability from auto company leadership we should all be screaming from the mountain tops for Dodd’s and Frank’s heads.

We should show no mercy two years from now.

Why haven’t we seen heads roll?

leave a comment »

When working Americans act irresponsibly with their finances and fall behind on their rent/mortgage, credit card payments we have to answer to our lenders. If we cannot pay, our collateral is seized and our homes are foreclosed and we use whatever resources we have left to start over. That sounds, fair doesn’t it? Personal responsibility and accountability are the key components there.

Not so for the banks. Not so for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Government Sponsored Enterprises. They appear to be operating under a different set of rules. There doesn’t seem to be accountability whatsoever. I haven’t seen a single CEO fired or a single polititian lose their seat on a single board. There’s something wrong with that.

As all of these recent events slowly unfold, we are getting conditioned to the idea that when companies act irresponsibly and wreak them as we have seen, all we have to do is to look to the national treasury for the bailout. In the case of the banking industry, there are few options. They cannot declare bankruptcy and have the world fall into a depression scenario.

But in the case of the auto industry, we seem to believe the solution to their problem is also in the national treasury They appear to believe that since the banks are getting a bailout, why not them, too.

The message we send to these industries is clear and not healthy for our economy. In the process, we are certainly well on our way to a socialist society with government owning industry.

So who do we blame? Who should we hold responsible? Who is accountable? Who should pay?

Why haven’t we seen heads roll?

The scary part about the recovery plan for the auto industry is in Nancy Pelosi’s plan; save the unions. Truth is, the unions are a large component to the problem.

I read a story at the site of a famous journal which described the efforts of one auto company demonstrating innovation and vision by designing a plan that positioned the company to offer state-of-the-art autos using an alternate energy source. The plan to build these autos would be put into effect once gas prices became high enough. The trouble was that the execs couldn’t figure out how to make money with the plan. The production costs where too high. The main problem was that before the production line even rolls, there is a $5000 to $6000 cost associated with benefits demanded by the unions.

These are the same execs who agreed to the labor union’s demands and signed the labor contract.