Archive for the ‘foreclosures’ Category

Obama’s three-pronged economic strategy: delay, delay and delay

March 12, 2009

We are in a world-wide economic disaster.  We are bleeding out, as doctors say.  And so far the United States has a tourniquet but there is no heartbeat.

The number of households threatened with losing their homes rose 30 percent in February from last year’s levels, RealtyTrac reported Thursday.

After the stimulus and omnibus what do we have: lots of pork and debt but still a very uncertain picture on what all economist say we need: jobs and a fix for the banking and housing sectors.

Economists’ main complaint centers on the administration’s plan for the banking sector. “The most important issue in the short run is the financial rescue,” said Stephen Stanley of RBS Greenwich Capital. “They overpromised and underdelivered. Secretary Geithner scheduled a big speech and came out with just a vague blueprint. The uncertainty is hanging over everyone’s head.”

In stark contrast with Obama’s popularity with the public, a majority of the 49 economists polled by the Wall Street Journal are dissatisfied with the administration’s economic policies.

Reaf a report from The Wall Street Journal:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123
671107124286261.html

[forecast] 

The number of households threatened with losing their homes rose 30 percent in February from last year’s levels, RealtyTrac reported Thursday.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200903
12/ap_on_bi_ge/foreclosure_rates

****************

Here’s David Ignatius of the Washington Post:

For all the legislative commotion surrounding the economic crisis, we are still living in the equivalent of “the phony war” of 1939 and 1940. War has been declared on the Great Recession, but it’s basically politics as usual. The bickering and mismanagement that helped create the crisis are continuing, even though we elected a president who promised a new start.

History tells us that phony war doesn’t last forever and that when it ends, all hell breaks loose. World War II officially began with Germany’s September 1939 attack on Poland, but for months it was just skirmishing on the sidelines. That hiatus ended on May 10, 1940, when Hitler invaded Belgium and its neighbors. Neville Chamberlain was out as British prime minister, and Winston Churchill arrived as the avenging angel.

We’re still in the Neville Chamberlain phase when it comes to the economic crisis. The government is talking about sacrifice and solutions, but it hasn’t yet made the tough decisions that will put the economy back together. Economist David Smick had it right in The Post this week when he said the administration had a three-pronged strategy: delay, delay and delay. The administration announces a rescue package but doesn’t deliver details; it promises budget discipline but saves the hard decisions for later.

One reason this season feels so political is that Obama has stacked his administration with politicians and former government officials. You might think that with the greatest financial crisis of his lifetime, the president would want a few business leaders with experience managing large organizations in crisis. But no.

Here’s the un-businesslike Obama Cabinet: At Treasury, a former government official; at State, a former senator; at Commerce, a former governor; at Defense, a former government official and university president; at Energy, a former professor; at Homeland Security, a former governor; at Health and Human Services, a former governor; at the White House as chief of staff, a former congressman; at the White House as economic czar, a former university president and government official.

All fine people, no doubt. But as thin on business experience as a Hyde Park book club. Maybe Obama sees business executives as too tainted by the financial crisis to be useful, or confirmable. The closest he comes is Paul Volcker’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board — which includes Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of GE; Jim Owens, chief executive of Caterpillar; and venture capitalist John Doerr.

The culture of immobilism starts on Capitol Hill. These people are still working a four-day week, taking Fridays off so they can run home and tell constituents how diligent they are. They may talk about a crisis, but they don’t act like it’s real.

Republicans and Democrats are sticking to party-line votes on many key issues. The Democrats were egregious in packing the stimulus bill with pet projects that won’t stimulate much except campaign contributions and in sticking with earmarks — a symbolic outrage that Obama promised during the campaign he would eliminate. But the Republicans have been even worse in their strategy of opposing recovery plans, which has given a legislative face to Rush Limbaugh’s “I hope he fails.”

The legislative pettifoggery was captured by a New York Times headline this week: “Obama’s Budget Faces Challenge by Party Barons; Panel Chairmen Oppose a Tax Plan but Want to Reduce Debt.” This nonsense has to stop, folks. The party’s over.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co
ntent/article/2009/03/11/AR2009031103
214.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

******************

You don’t get something for nothing….

Obama says we need a total rebuilding of American health care, education and energy: but we’ll just push reset with the rest of the world….It just seems like a sophomoric and socialistic thought process that can’t work.  The Soviet Union spent itself to death trying to keep up with U.S. military advances.  Now China and Russia will just watch as America spends itself to death with $1 billion dollars an hour of borrowed (much from China) money….

And despite spending $1 billion an hour in Obama’s first 50 days, the economy hasn’t rebounded and will need (likely) much more money and much more work….

Schools Have To Face Facts: Your Tax Base is Deteriorated So Your Have To Cut Costs

March 11, 2009

City and county officials all over the United States are coming to grips with the grim reality that school funding has to be cut.  The housing crisis and foreclosures have lowered home values everywhere and the local community revenue from taxes is lower than once expected.

The rampant spending at the national level by the Congress and the Obama Administration along with hoped for stimulus and other federal money just won’t make school budgets what they once were: so now it it time for the tough decisions about what to cut without hurting the education of our youth.

But everyone should take heart in knowing that more money spent has not always (I want to say never) translated into better learning — by most fair measures.

Some of our most expensive dollar per stundet classrooms, in the District of Columbia, as just one example, remain some of our worst at really giving children basic needed skills like reading excellence.

So when community organizations like ACORN and teachers unions demand school funding at previous levels once considered “normal” they are encouraging a denial of the very basic facts of life we should learn to get used to….

Related:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/11/terrif
ic-tax-subsidized-acorn-mob-teams-up-with-la
-teachers/

Obama on Education: What’s Good For You Is Wrong for Sasha, Malia

From the Wall Street Journal:
Local Economies Seek Revival
http://online.wsj.com/article/
SB123672424836788181.html

*****************

By Andrea Billups
Washington Times
.
Marching bands are silenced. Sports programs, summer school and driver’s education are being slashed. Schools are facing closure and consolidation.

Teachers, many now vacuuming their own classrooms, have been told to do away with space heaters and office refrigerators because they consume expensive electricity. Even the school year is being shortened as districts across the nation are making hard choices amid a worsening recession as they deal with budget woes.

“If school districts think it’s bad now, it’s likely to get worse in the next couple of years,” said Michael Petrilli, vice president of programs and policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation in Washington, who paints a grim portrait of the economy’s influence on education. He noted that as local revenues from property taxes continue to plummet, many districts likely will lose even more funding as foreclosures mount with increasing job losses.

Even as some hope that the economic stimulus will bring some relief, he said, children are the ones who ultimately lose as education bears a big hit from the downturn.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
9/mar/11/schools-cut-budgets-where-it-hurt
s-children-most/

Treasury island: Geithner’s lost crew

March 7, 2009

If President Barack Obama wants to boost confidence in his economic recovery plan, he’s going to have to assure the markets that there isn’t just one guy working on it.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is trying to stabilize the nation’s banking industry, implement a housing rescue plan and prop up a plunging stock market – all with about 18 vacant senior positions, virtually the entire upper echelon of his department.

The staff is so faceless that lobbyists have begun trading jokes about a “ghost” bureaucracy, given the many empty picture frames hanging on the department’s walls.

Administration officials told POLITICO they will soon submit to the Senate a slate of candidates for the posts, including replacements for two who bowed out Thursday, one of whom was Geithner’s pick for his top deputy.

Most of the people who have been tapped to fill the top positions are already working in the building; they just don’t have their titles, their offices and their portraits yet.

But without those particulars, Geithner’s quiet colleagues can’t publicly represent the administration, robbing Obama of the opportunity to work multiple media outlets to pitch the program or to flood Capitol Hill with a show of force – and action – that could impress lawmakers, investors and the public.

By Jeanne Cummings, Lisa Lerer
Politico

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico
/20090306/pl_politico/19723

Related:
NYT: After March 6 Economic News, “2009 is Probably a Lost Cause”

Obama’s First Weeks: Economic Disaster, Socialist Agenda, Congressional Pork, Limbaugh Attacked, and “We Won”

Dow’s Decline Is Fastest for a New President in Nearly a Century

Geithner’s Top Two Treasury Assistants Withdraw; 17 Unfilled Top Jobs At U.S. Treasury

Most Obama “Economic Advisors” Raised Money for Democrats

 Obama’s Economic Strategy Akin To LBJ’s Vietnam Fiasco: “Pour In More”

Senate Halts Obama Spending; At Least For The Week End

March 6, 2009

The United States Senate came to its senses Thursday and refused a $410 billion measure that would have funded U.S. government operations until the end of this fiscal year in September.  The “omnibus” bill, containing some 9,000 “earmarks” that critics call pork-laden, could not get enough votes in the Senate to pass.

This means a special continuing resolution will have to be passed today to keep the U.S. government operating at last year’s levels.

The omnibus will be considered again starting Monday.

After the more than $700 billion stimulus, the debate on health care, foreclosure bailout, bank bailout, the troubles of such giants as AIG and GM, lawmakers can apparently see that spending money we don’t have will now be the legacy of this administration and this Congress…

Add in a revolution in the energy sector, “cap and trade,” new taxes, and a tanking stock market and well, maybe the Senate is waking up….

Related:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090306
/ap_on_go_co/congress_spending

Related:
Obama Urged Investors to “Buy,” But Stocks Dive Again Thursday

NYT Urges Obama To “Bail Out” Third World Too

 Most Americans Now Say America Could Go Bankrupt

 Obama Can’t Revive Economy With Socialism

American Workers, Businesses Cut Back; Obama Launches Spending Spree

Presidency of Fear

Obama’s Brazen Deception: Why The Stock Market Won’t Recover Soon

 Obama plan to prevent foreclosures won’t help many California homeowners

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/05/fi
nally-a-show-of-cojones-senate-gop-forces-
delay-on-omni-pork-bill/

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, has criticized a $410 billion omnibus spending bill as being bloated with earmarks.  Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

We note that the New York Times blamed the lack of a vote on the omnibus on Republicans in their headline and first paragraph; admitting later that Republicans are joined by some Democrats who oppose this bill…..

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/0
6/us/politics/06spend.html?hp

Obama plan to prevent foreclosures won’t help many California homeowners

March 6, 2009
Nearly a third of the state’s mortgage holders are underwater on their loans, many of them by amounts that would disqualify them for government-sponsored refinancing.
By E. Scott Reckard and Peter Hong
Los Angeles Times
10:38 PM PST, March 5, 2009
The Obama administration’s plan to stave off foreclosures could fall flat in California, where nearly one-third of mortgage holders are underwater on their loans — many of them by amounts that would disqualify them for government-sponsored refinancing.

The problem is likely to be especially acute in areas like the Inland Empire, where homes have lost more than 40% of their value in the last year and nearly half the homeowners owe more on their loans than the properties are worth.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f
i-housing6-2009mar06,0,2516760.story

Foreclosed home auction A sign in front of a house in Palmdale announces an auction of foreclosed homes.  David McNew / Getty Images

Stimulus: On This Path, Here’s What We Have in 2010 and Beyond

February 13, 2009

Between 1990 and 2007, the total mortgage debt held by Americans rose from $2.5 trillion to $10.5 trillion. This rise was part of a societal credit bubble that burst in 2008. To cushion the pain of that collapse, federal authorities decided to replace private debt with public debt.

By David Brooks
The New York Times
.
In 2008, the Bush administration increased spending by about $1.7 trillion, and guaranteed loans, investments and deposits worth about $8 trillion. In 2009, the Obama administration spent $800 billion on a stimulus package, $1 trillion on a second round of bank bailouts and committed another trillion on health care reform and other bailout plans.

Americans generally welcomed the burst of public activism. In “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about what happens to a people beset by anxiety: “The taste for public tranquility then becomes a blind passion, and the citizens are liable to conceive a most inordinate devotion to order.”

In normal times, Americans would have been skeptical of proposals to double or triple the size of federal programs, but amid the economic fear, that skepticism fell away. Wall Street traders hungered for a huge federal bailout replete with strings. Economists produced models that assumed that government could efficiently spend huge amounts of money, and these models were accepted.

The Obama administration was staffed with moderates who found that there was no reward for moderation. Liberals attacked them for being tepid. Republicans attacked them because it was enjoyable to see Democrats attacked. Over time, the administration drifted left and created what you might call Split Level Technocratic Liberalism.

President Obama defended spending initiatives in broad terms. He had enormous faith in the power of highly trained experts and based his arguments on models and projections. The actual legislation was cobbled together by Democratic committee chairmen, often acting beyond the administration’s control.

During 2010, the economic decline abated, but the recovery did not arrive…..

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/1
3/opinion/13brooks.html?_r=1

How Banks Are Worsening the Foreclosure Crisis

February 13, 2009

The bad mortgages that got the current financial crisis started have produced a terrifying wave of home foreclosures. Unless the foreclosure surge eases, even the most extravagant federal stimulus spending won’t spur an economic recovery.

Business Week

The Obama Administration is expected within the next few weeks to announce an initiative of $50 billion or more to help strapped homeowners. But with 1 million residences having fallen into foreclosure since 2006, and an additional 5.9 million expected over the next four years, the Obama plan — whatever its details — can’t possibly do the job by itself. Lenders and investors will have to acknowledge huge losses and figure out how to keep recession-wracked borrowers making at least some monthly payments.

So far the industry hasn’t shown that kind of foresight. One reason foreclosures are so rampant is that banks and their advocates in Washington have delayed, diluted, and obstructed attempts to address the problem. Industry lobbyists are still at it today, working overtime to whittle down legislation backed by President Obama that would give bankruptcy courts the authority to shrink mortgage debt. Lobbyists say they will fight to restrict the types of loans the bankruptcy proposal covers and new powers granted to judges.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/bw/20090213/bs_b
w/0908b4120034085635

A foreclosure sign is posted in front of a townhouse in Herndon, ... 
A foreclosure sign is posted in front of a townhouse in Herndon, Virginia. President Barack Obama’s quest to bridge Washington’s sharp political divides has been dealt another blow with the surprise exit of his commerce secretary pick, Republican Judd Gregg.(AFP/File/Paul J. Richards)

“Banking Spanking”: Barney Franks Unleashed

February 11, 2009

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has decided today to engineer a public flogging of top bankers: call it the “banking Spanking.”

But Franks also wants the bad guys to cooperate and behave.

Related:
“Republicans Rape Truth,” and The “Over the Top”

“I urge you going forward to be ungrudgingly cooperative.  There has to be a sense of the American people that you understand their anger … and that you’re willing to make some sacrifices to get this working, ” Franks said.

Franks also said he was angry that the TARP wasn’t executed better by the bankers.

But wasn’t he there in the Financial Services Committee, crafting the provisions of the TARP?

Franks also said the administration was taking “too much time” developing a foreclosure plan and called on companies that hold or service mortgages to suspend foreclosure proceedings until it is released.

He took shots at Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s bank bailout plan along the way.

Franks has criticism for everyone all around but hasn’t taken any responsibility himself….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related from the AP:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009021
1/ap_on_go_co/bailout_banks

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02
/11/the-sanctimony-of-morons/

Bankers Vow To Work Toward Financial Reform
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090211/a
p_on_go_co/bailout_banks

Barney Frank
Photo: AP