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Republicans Can Be Leftists Too

It’s the classic tribal warfare.  The Republicans wanna blame the Democrats for the boom then bust of the housing bubble.  Specifically they wanna blame Carter for the CRA, then Clinton for accelerating it and finally Barney Frank for enabling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

For their part, the Democrats wanna blame the Republicans for easing regulations and over site of the financial markets.  Most especially with regards to leveraging, allowing banks to act as investment firms and the existence of the derivative market.

I have long been a believer that it was Fannie and Freddie that drove us up to and then over the cliff.  And for a long time have held the Democrats responsible.  I am learning and need to amend my position.

It was government policy that drove us up to and then over the cliff.  Policy that began with the noble intention of  providing affordable housing to more and more people.

However, when government subsidizes, we often always get poor results:

It was perhaps a worthwhile goal, but it caused the financial crisis when it was done by lowering mortgage underwriting standards. In the end, it was a colossal policy error by Congress and two presidential administrations.

Data from the article demonstrates the government’s involvement:

The affordable housing law required Fannie and Freddie to meet government quotas when they bought loans from banks and other mortgage originators.

At first, this quota was 30%; that is, of all the loans they bought, 30% had to be made to people at or below the median income in their communities. HUD, however, was given authority to administer these quotas, and between 1992 and 2007, the quotas were raised from 30% to 50% under Clinton in 2000 and to 55% under Bush in 2007.

It is certainly possible to find prime mortgages among borrowers below the median income, but when half or more of the mortgages the GSEs bought had to be made to people below that income level, it was inevitable that underwriting standards had to decline. And they did. By 2000, Fannie was offering no-downpayment loans. By 2002, Fannie and Freddie had bought well over $1 trillion of subprime and other low quality loans. Fannie and Freddie were by far the largest part of this effort, but the FHA, Federal Home Loan Banks, Veterans Administration and other agencies–all under congressional and HUD pressure–followed suit. This continued through the 1990s and 2000s until the housing bubble–created by all this government-backed spending–collapsed in 2007. As a result, in 2008, before the mortgage meltdown that triggered the crisis, there were 27 million subprime and other low quality mortgages in the US financial system. That was half of all mortgages.

In short, the government created the criteria, or the supply, and then the government created the agencies, or the demand.

Of these, over 70% (19.2 million) were on the books of government agencies like Fannie and Freddie, so there is no doubt that the government created the demand for these weak loans; less than 30% (7.8 million) were held or distributed by the banks, which profited from the opportunity created by the government.

So yes, it was the government POLICY that created this bubble.  But, back to Fan and Fred, did they have a role?

Of the 19.2 million subprime and low quality loans that were on the books of government agencies in 2008, 12 million (about 62%) were held or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie.

Yes.  And a big one.

However, I’m forced to amend my position.  It was not the SOLE fault of Fan and Fred for the crisis, but they are certainly a major player.

To his credit, and to complete the Liberal tragedy, even Frank himself acknowledges his errors:

I hope by next year we’ll have abolished Fannie and Freddie … it was a great mistake to push lower-income people into housing they couldn’t afford and couldn’t really handle once they had it.

 

So, the bi-partisian debt committee Has admitted to failure; they are unable to reach an agreement on the gap they were to address. A couple of things:

1. There is no one that seriously thinks we have a revenue problem. If they say that they are died in the wool Statists or they are lying.

2. The committee was never really considering realm cuts to spending. They were talking about cutting the amount they were gonna increase spending. Never, ever, was the idea to spend less next year than this year.

3. Failure to reach an agreement isn’t the end of the world; we still get 1 trillion in cuts.

4. Republicans running around claiming they can’t cut the Pentagon’s budget are acting like Democrats.

5. With that said, defense spending IS called for in the constitution. Food stamps and section 8 are not.

Doesn’t mean it’s bad.

Or wrong.

Listen, I’m a pretty big “small government” kinda guy.  I resonate with the whole, “leave me alone” kinda thing.  I firmly believe that if we required government to focus on what government was supposed to do, we’d all be better off.

However, with that said, Government gets to do what it wants to do on land it owns:

Gun enthusiasts are rallying opposition to a string of new federal proposals that could close off hundreds of thousands of acres in the open West to target shooting.

The proposals from the Bureau of Land Management potentially would outlaw target shooting in swaths of public land in Arizona and Colorado as part of a broader conservation planning effort.

As near as I can tell, the government isn’t saying that you can’t own guns on Federal property.  They aren’t saying you can’t CARRY guns on Federal property.  They’re just saying you can’t shoot skeet on government property.

There’s a lot of stuff you can’t do on government property.

You can’t speed.

You can’t sit in the middle of the street just because you’re a stinky hippy sad that someone makes more money than you.

A whole bunch of stuff.

I suggest that the NRA back off on this one.

 

Republicans, led by the Tea Party, have control of state houses across the country.  Why, right here in North Carolina for example, we have control of both the Senate and the House for the first time in 140 years.

Several, many in fact, good things have come as a result of this.  Tomorrow the Republicans are going to undo much of that good work:

RALEIGH, N.C. — The gay marriage debate has arrived in North Carolina after years in which Democrats managed to push it aside because they controlled the Legislature.

Now Republicans are in charge of the General Assembly after a 140-year absence. They’ve scheduled a legislative session Monday to consider proposed constitutional amendments, including those that would let voters decide next year whether to define marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman.

Now, it can be said that such considerations ought be left to the voters.  However, in this case, the basis of the founding of the nation protects the individual.  No matter HOW many people disapprove of gay marriage, the fact remains that Liberty must be served.  Two sovereign individuals have chosen to commit themselves to each other ought be enough for the state.  It ought to be enough for us.

I’m not advocating that the marrying habits of all people be APPROVED, certainly not.  After all, were that the case, it is highly likely that I would never have been allowed to marry my wife; so many people objecting to such an honorable and capable woman of marrying such a degenerate as myself.  That not withstanding, she is capable of free will.

Liberty is powerful.  And hard.  It often means that the outcome isn’t exactly how we wanted it to end.  But that’s what makes it good; the hard.

I hope the Republicans fail tomorrow.  I really do.

You have to win to govern.  And winning vs. losing in political races is a zero sum game.  When your opponent gets more votes, you lose and he wins.  This creates a situation where elected officials want to “win” the vote as much, or more, than they want to “win” the debate.

I get it, but this still sucks:

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans are so anti-tax, surely they will fight to prevent a payroll-tax increase on virtually every wage earner starting Jan. 1, right?

Apparently not.

They’re saying a tax cut should end as planned, opposing President Obama, who wants to extend it. The policy helps the 46 percent of all Americans who owe no federal income taxes but who pay a “payroll tax” on practically every dime they earn.

Huh?

Surly they can explain themselves?

Tax reductions, “no matter how well-intended,” will push the deficit higher, making the panel’s task that much harder, Camp’s office said.

Nope.  They can’t.

I may give this whole thing up and just go watch some baseball.

Ahh…to be 20 again, right?  And do all that crazy shit that people in their 20s do?

Remember all the things that you thought were true back then?

“Adults” didn’t “get it”.  They weren’t hip.  The new generation was gonna change, ’cause everything was changin’.

And then you kinda grew up.

I know, I did it.  I used to be that long haired hippie dude with the ear-ring.  I used to go down to Mexico and build homes for immigrants trying to cross the border.  I used to support legalizing pot.

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Wisconsin recently passed a concealed carry law in the state.  Basically the law allows people in the state of Wisconsin to carry concealed weapons if they are licensed to do so.

However, the law is clear in that it does not trump private property rights.  That is, just because you have a carry-conceal license does not mean you can carry in my home.  Or other private property.

It would seem that certain people object to the concept of private property:

A Wisconsin jewelry store owner is under fire from customers for opting out of the state’s recently-passed concealed carry law.

Bret Eulberg, owner of Robert Haack Diamonds in Greenfield, Wis., says he has been getting angry messages threatening a boycott of the store. The new law allows residents to carry concealed firearms in public, but business owners still have a say whether or not they want to observe the law in their stores.

“We’re getting phone calls saying we’re not going to come to your store supporting you because you’re against gun rights,” Eulberg told Fox6Now.com. “We’re not against gun rights. My contention is if a bad guy is in my store and you’re a good Samaritan in my store and you see the bad guy whipping out the gun, we already have security procedures in place to protect ourselves.”

Private property is private property.  Mr. Eulberg isn’t saying that you can’t carry a gun, he’s not saying that he disagrees with you carrying a gun, he’s saying he doesn’t want you to carry a gun on his PRIVATE property.

Damn Republicans!

To be sure, there’s a lot of work to be done.  But the “state” is getting closer and closer each passing year.

We’re seeing courts rule that gay marriage is protected; is a civil right.  To restrict the contract of marriage at a state or government level is simply not consistent with the role of that state.  We wouldn’t expect governments to restrict marriage within the context of religion.  Nor do we expect the state to restrict marriage on the basis of race.

It is with that in mind that I applaud the Navy in their decision:

The Navy will allow its chaplains to officiate same-sex marriages once the military’s ban on gay marriage is officially lifted this summer, according to a new memo written by Navy’s head chaplain, Rear Admiral Mark Tidd.

The memo reads: “Regarding the use of base facilities for same-sex marriages, legal counsel has concluded that generally speaking, base facility use is sexuality orientation neutral. If the base is located in a state where same-sex is legal, then base facilities may normally be used to celebrate the marriage.”

Awesome!

It’s about time.

And not only did the Navy get it right on the brush strokes, but they got some details down too:

Navy marriages on Navy bases typically involve Navy Chaplains, but the memo goes on to say the chaplains involvement is not mandatory and he or she could decline to participate if gay marriage is not “consistent with the tenets of his or her religious organization.”

I firmly believe this decision is consistent with the idea of extending personal Liberty to all.  Why in the world do we think the state ought restrict a legally binding contract enacted by two adult and consenting human beings?  Liberty means Liberty.  Even if, in fact, especially when, you may not agree with the application of such Liberty.

And for the religious conservative – Should the state forbid the marriages of atheists?

Or, Republicans Can Be Leftists Too!

We all want to what we think is the best for the folks under our care; at least I HOPE that’s what we wanna do.  Now, I understand that at the margin, there are politicians that do enter the system and play the game for the sole purpose of enriching themselves, either with power or money–or both.

By and large, however, I think they play the game in an effort to serve well.

And often times serving well means, or can mean, parenting.

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