3
   

Bob Barr: Telling it like it is

 
 
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 09:21 am
Yes, he is running for president against both Obama and McCain and has an interest in pointing out their failures, but this still rings pretty true to me.
Bob Barr(L-GA) wrote:
While both the Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, and his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Barack Obama, proclaim themselves "agents of change" as a primary reason for the American people to elect them to the nation's highest office on November 4th, the fact is, neither of these candidates -- or their running mates -- represents a real break with the typical, big-government solutions to problems facing America. This is illustrated most clearly in the latest government "solution" to the "crisis" in the housing sector -- the bailout by the U.S. taxpayers of the two government-created and -supported enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

All four of the candidates for the country's two major political parties publicly support this latest big government move by the Bush Administration. This puts voters on notice that an administration headed by either the McCain-Palin team, or the Obama-Biden, ticket will be business as usual, and "maverick" in name only.

The federal government has spent decades subsidizing the housing industry, and making it easier and easier for homebuyers to purchase homes, sometimes with virtually no equity stake in the homes they were purchasing. Then the subprime lending crisis hit. Mortgages went bad, lenders folded and investment houses tottered. Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve engineered a $30 billion bailout of Bear Stearns, and just this summer, the administration and Congress agreed to a $300 billion mortgage bailout.

Bankrupt borrowers get federal support while money is transferred to the usual interest groups. The federal government, which has never met a budget it couldn't bust, will counsel over-stretched homeowners about their finances. Congress tossed in an authorization for the Treasury to "invest" in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which have guaranteed $15 trillion worth of mortgages - a large majority of all residential mortgages in the country.

Now the federal government has taken over the two organizations. But the Treasury Department can't tell us what it will cost: Maybe $25 billion; maybe $100 billion. Perhaps more. Who knows?

The old Fannie/Freddie management will get paid handsomely -- several million dollars for each of the departing CEOs -- for messing up while the American people clean up the mess. No one on Capitol Hill or in the White House will be held accountable for designing a system that enriched the housing industry at public expense.

Moreover, neither Sen. Obama nor Sen. McCain will stop the federal government from acting like a soup kitchen for well-connected businesses. Sen. Obama supported the housing bailout and endorsed the administration takeover of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. One of his advisers is former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines, ousted for accounting irregularities in 2004.

Is this Sen. Obama's definition of change?

Sen. McCain also supported the housing bill and the Fannie/Freddie bailout. During his nearly three decades in Washington Sen. McCain has been AWOL in working to remedy the "mismanagement and flawed structure of these two companies" that he now claims are so obvious. So much for being the great reformer.

Now Sen. McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have penned an article promising that they would never, ever let something like this happen again: "For years, Congress failed to act and it is deeply troubling that what we are now seeing is an exercise in crisis management rather than sound planning, and at great cost to taxpayers."

True. But just what was Sen. McCain doing when this sound planning was absent? He got into trouble for befriending Charles Keating, whose failed Savings and Loans cost American taxpayers big money in the 1980s. Sen. McCain collected lots of campaign cash from companies doing business before the Commerce Committee that he chaired. He launched a crusade against steroids use. He authored legislation making it illegal to criticize incumbent politicians before an election, the very antithesis of reform. And McCain attacked pork barrel spending -- which is good, but it only accounts for about $17 billion out of the $3 trillion federal budget.

McCain has yet to offer a reform plan that reforms anything. He and Gov. Palin talk about restructuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, not privatizing them. As long as the organizations are government run, the lobbyists that Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin denounce will manipulate the system for the benefit of everyone but the public. The only solution is to make them truly private and say never again when it comes to government bailouts.

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin act as if they have discovered an important truth when they criticize dishonest borrowers -- but lying on a mortgage application already is against the law. They say, "We will push the nation's top mortgage lenders to provide maximum support to help cash-strapped, but credit-worthy customers." However, lenders already have an incentive to help these customers, since the companies also lose big from unnecessary foreclosures. Rather, all of the pressure from politicians has been to get banks to provide loans to customers irrespective of their credit-worthiness.

Anyway, how do Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin think bailing out improvident borrowers, lenders and investors will discourage irresponsible behavior in the future? History and human nature tells us that every bailout is both a vehicle for abuse and an invitation for more bailouts. It is far too late for the sort of half-hearted approach that they propose.

If Sen. McCain really believed in straight talk, he and Gov. Palin would say that people should be responsible for the consequences of their own actions. No more bailouts; no more subsidies.

Today the presidential candidates are wasting time arguing about lipstick on a pig while the federal treasury is being looted. America desperately needs serious leadership to respond to serious problems. Unfortunately, this leadership will not come from either the Republican or the Democratic parties.


Source
 
ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 09:41 am
@FreeDuck,
Is Idealogical purity really a good thing for the country?

Bob Barr is another third party candidate taking advantage of the fact that since everyone knows he can't possibly win, he can preach on idealogical purity without having to deal with reality.

It would be interesting to hear what Bob Barr would do about the Housing crisis? Would he let prices fall precipitously with no response? Would he do anything about the affect of the credit crunch on the economy? Would he care at all about the affect of banks failing on average Americans?

Do you have a link where Bob Barr says what he would do about the financial crisis and where he shows he has considered the consequences and alternatives-- rather than just ranting about what the real candidates would do?




FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 09:50 am
@ebrown p,
Oh, I agree that we are pretty much stuck with reacting to the problem. But he is right about the causes.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 10:21 am
@FreeDuck,
How is he right about the causes?

I don't see much substance in the midst of his ranting against the "parties". But he doesn't say anything about the failure of the government to regulate the mortgage industry.

He is whining about the way the government is addressing the crisis. This doesn't say anything about the causes of the crisis (or the way he would address it).
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  3  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 10:24 am
Just so you know FreeDuck, my thoughts on this thread are nothing personal. It is just that I think Bob Barr is a Conservative Crackpot.

I am happy about the Conservative part.
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 10:36 am
@ebrown p,
Don't worry, I don't take it personally. Just so you know, this is the part of the I agree with most.

Quote:
This is illustrated most clearly in the latest government "solution" to the "crisis" in the housing sector -- the bailout by the U.S. taxpayers of the two government-created and -supported enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

All four of the candidates for the country's two major political parties publicly support this latest big government move by the Bush Administration. This puts voters on notice that an administration headed by either the McCain-Palin team, or the Obama-Biden, ticket will be business as usual, and "maverick" in name only.

The federal government has spent decades subsidizing the housing industry, and making it easier and easier for homebuyers to purchase homes, sometimes with virtually no equity stake in the homes they were purchasing. Then the subprime lending crisis hit. Mortgages went bad, lenders folded and investment houses tottered. Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve engineered a $30 billion bailout of Bear Stearns, and just this summer, the administration and Congress agreed to a $300 billion mortgage bailout.

Bankrupt borrowers get federal support while money is transferred to the usual interest groups. The federal government, which has never met a budget it couldn't bust, will counsel over-stretched homeowners about their finances. Congress tossed in an authorization for the Treasury to "invest" in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which have guaranteed $15 trillion worth of mortgages - a large majority of all residential mortgages in the country.


3rd paragraph being the bit about the cause. There is more to it, of course, but he's right about it, IMO.
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 10:53 am
@ebrown p,
Quote:
Just so you know FreeDuck, my thoughts on this thread are nothing personal.
It is just that I think Bob Barr is a Conservative Crackpot.

I am happy about the Conservative part.

I have met Bob Barr several times
and I have had some long talks with him.

I like him and I support his ideological foundation,
but I know that splitting the good guys
puts the bad guys into power; in other words,
the good guys can succeed if thay ignore Bob.
In a perfect world,
I 'd rather see him as President and Sarah Palin or Ron Paul as VP.

It is more than obvious that Teddy Roosevelt put Wilson into power;
(which resulted in the ascent of communism in Russia)
and Bill Clinton owes his presidency to Ross Perot.

Bob shoud know that enuf is enuf.





David
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 10:55 am
@FreeDuck,
That third paragraph is the part I disagree with.

Deregulation of the credit industry was the most important cause of the sub prime lending crisis. Housing "subsidies" (if by this he means loan supports) is not the problem.

The government subsidizes Housing and Education loans because these are high cost items that Americans need.

We need regulation to ensure that Americans who purchase a house, or invest in the market, don't get taken advantage of with loans they can't afford(or assets that aren't worth anything).
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 10:56 am
@ebrown p,
You don't think the whole Freddie and Fannie concoction contributed anything?
ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 11:04 am
@FreeDuck,
The issue is regulation. Freddie and Fannie ran into problems because a whole lot of mortgages that should not have been made were made.

If you want to get rid of Freddy and Fannie, you need to find another way to ensure greater liquidity in the housing market.

But this is a different issue. It was the lack of regulation that allowed the subprime loads that brought on this crisis.


FreeDuck
 
  3  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 11:09 am
@ebrown p,
I don't see why it isn't both.

Why do we need to find another way to ensure greater liquidity in the housing market?
ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 12:20 pm
@FreeDuck,
Fannie and Freddie make it easier for Americans to buy and sell their homes. This is a very good thing as long as there is no widespread irresponsible lending.

I think giving Americans, particularly young Americans just getting started, the ability to buy a home is a good thing. Regulating the housing market is the way to avoid the problems.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 12:25 pm
@FreeDuck,
I agree with FreeDuck; we don't need "another" way. It was sloppy money management by everybody based on greed. The government should "not" rescue sloppy management. The taxpayers end up paying for their mistakes based on greed.
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 12:26 pm
@ebrown p,
But they do so by making loans that ordinary banks can't. Well, that used to be the case, anyway. And they can do that because they have the government guaranteeing them. They don't have the same risks as ordinary banks. It is an artificial system put in place of a natural system.

I don't completely disagree with you, ebrown. I just think there is a difference between regulation (preventing abuses) and market manipulation. Fannie and Freddie fall into that second category, IMO. But I admit that I am not expert.
ebrown p
 
  4  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 12:32 pm
@FreeDuck,
My problem with Bob Barr is that he is an ideological purist. He seems to want the markets to be left to their own devices no matter what.

I am a fiscal moderate, I want regulated free markets... the markets should be allowed to work where they work, but we should be able to step in when markets don't work.

In important areas like education and housing, I am willing to see the government provide opportunities that would not exist in a pure free market-- provided this is done in a controlled way. This is not what caused this crisis.

It is the lack of needed regulation against shady business practices that caused this crisis.
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 12:40 pm
@ebrown p,
We'll have to just disagree there, then. I believe it is the worst of both worlds that got us here -- deregulation coupled with unwise manipulation.

I'm kind of with you on the rest, though. I believe that we have to accept that the free market will not give us the desired outcome for things like education, healthcare, and probably transportation. I hadn't thought about housing that way -- not sure if I agree.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 01:32 pm
@cicerone imposter,
c.i. wrote :

Quote:
It was sloppy money management by everybody based on greed


as one financial commentator on CNBC's "morning call" put it :
"when the going is good , the large corporations tell us : ' capitalism and greed are good - they are what makes for a great country' - but when the losses are piling up , many of the same corporations are looking for 'socialized medicine aka. bailouts ' " .

from what i read , wallstreet has lost confidence in secretary paulson - he is now being called a 'flip-flopper' .
hbg
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 03:17 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:

My problem with Bob Barr is that he is an ideological purist. He seems to want the markets to be left to their own devices no matter what.

I am a fiscal moderate, I want regulated free markets... the markets should be allowed to work where they work, but we should be able to step in when markets don't work.

In important areas like education and housing, I am willing to see the government provide opportunities that would not exist in a pure free market-- provided this is done in a controlled way. This is not what caused this crisis.

It is the lack of needed regulation against shady business practices that caused this crisis.


This is an interesting comment in light of your post in McG's thread where, of course, you poo-poo'd the idea that the Cinton administration's manipulation of regulations via the Community Development Act had any effect on the whole housing collapse.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 10:27 pm
@ebrown p,
Quote:
My problem with Bob Barr is that he is an ideological purist.

I love and respect that about him.
He says what he means and he means what he says.





David
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 12:46 pm
I 'd prefer Bob Barr for President
above any of the candidates.
David
 

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