Saturday, October 16, 2010

Good Morning, everyone. The patio thermometer registered only 42 degrees this morning. The South Bend news this morning predicted lows in the high 20s and low 30s for late this coming week. We probably won't get that low. We are nearer Lake Michigan. But the season is definitely changing. I have delayed cleaning out the last tomatoes and peppers hoping they will ripen but I don't think I can delay much longer. Everything except the mums and marigolds will come out this week. Then I will spread the compost and put the cleared containers to bed for the winter. I did get a few more ripe cayennes this week. I gave them to our landlord's handyman when he came to fix our smoke detector. We already have at least 2 years' worth drying in the kitchen.

MSNBC linked to this Newsweek article which I thought was interesting. The deficit has become a somewhat hot issue this election cycle. Eleanor Clift asks why and provides an interesting answer. The deficit, she says, is an intellectual issue but the emotional issue that intersects is where that deficit money is spent. So far, for most ordinary Americans, it seems to have gone down a rathole. We have saved several institutions from bankruptcy but wonder whether those institutions should have been saved--especially when individuals in financial difficulties are given rocks instead of life preservers. And more especially when ordinary Americans have experienced serious cuts in their take home pay, if they still have a job, while executives at the 'saved' institutions are on schedule to get another round of obscene 'bonuses.'
Clift's key paragraph, to my mind, is this one:
"Republicans have cast themselves as the deficit reducers in this election, even though earlier this year, they blocked the creation of a fiscal commission that would have come up with proposals to reduce the deficit, which Congress would then have voted on. Obama then had to appoint such a commission, which will report in December. Our politics are so out of whack that Republicans routinely oppose with impunity what they once supported. The health-care plan is founded on Republican principles: a competitive private insurance market; an individual mandate, which Republicans used to be for; and cost-cutting measures like a super Medicare commission, which is not really a radical idea. But in tough economic times, people focus on themselves—seniors worry about Medicare cuts, and Tea Partiers don’t want their taxes used to help people who may be undeserving. "
Unfortunately, it looks like the voters are going to let the Republicans get away with their hypocrisy and we have degenerated into a bunch of squabbling factions arguing over who is 'worthy.'

I can only agree with the assessment that our politics has become totally dysfunctional. This article from the Quad City Times is further proof. When the reports came out that Social Security would get no increase for the second year in a row, I wondered how long it would be before someone would push for another 'temporary, one-time payment' instead. Not long. HuffingtonPost had a small blurb that Obama is going to push for it as well. The first link reports that Rep. Phil Hare wants to link the Social Security payment to passage of the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts. Frankly, I don't see the equivalence here. The payment to seniors would amount to about $14 billion while the extension of the tax cuts would increase the deficit by more than $500 billion. I think both proposals should be dropped. I will give up the $250 and they should give up the tax cut.

Some of the coverage of what the media now calls 'Foreclosure-gate' makes me want to scream and swear a blue streak. So many of the talking heads give the bankers a carte blanche to blame anyone but themselves for the mess. I saw several episodes of that on CNBC over the last few days. I also saw several articles in which the bankers basically blame the 'unworthy' home buyers for getting mortgages they couldn't pay for to begin with. And these charges go unchallenged. Yes, some home buyers got mortgages they were not able to pay. But who the hell approved them for those mortgages? Who approved loans that did not verify income or job histories? The bankers and mortgage brokers did. And who was it that failed to properly convey the notes and mortgages into the securitization trusts? The bankers and mortgage brokers. And who was it who, on discovering that failure, resorted to forged paperwork and fraudulent affidavits? The bankers and mortgage brokers. They have compounded massive failures of common sense at the beginning of this mess with criminality on the back end. If they hadn't cut corners and ignored the 'technicalities' (read 'legalities') they would be fully entitled to foreclose now. But then, I have another question--given the fraud in the foreclosure end of the process, how much fraud was in the mortgage generation end?

No comments: