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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Chicago area in Indiana
Home country: USA
Current location: Burlington, Vermont
Member since: Tue Jan 18, 2005, 10:05 AM
Number of posts: 58,306

Journal Archives

NYT - The big lie - an oped on the RW lie that Freddie and Fannie caused the economic collapse

You begin with a hypothesis that has a certain surface plausibility. You find an ally whose background suggests that he’s an “expert”; out of thin air, he devises “data.” You write articles in sympathetic publications, repeating the data endlessly; in time, some of these publications make your cause their own. Like-minded congressmen pick up your mantra and invite you to testify at hearings.

You’re chosen for an investigative panel related to your topic. When other panel members, after inspecting your evidence, reject your thesis, you claim that they did so for ideological reasons. This, too, is repeated by your allies. Soon, the echo chamber you created drowns out dissenting views; even presidential candidates begin repeating the Big Lie.

Thus has Peter Wallison, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a former member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, almost single-handedly created the myth that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the financial crisis. His partner in crime is another A.E.I. scholar, Edward Pinto, who a very long time ago was Fannie’s chief credit officer. Pinto claims that as of June 2008, 27 million “risky” mortgages had been issued — “and a lion’s share was on Fannie and Freddie’s books,” as Wallison wrote recently. Never mind that his definition of “risky” is so all-encompassing that it includes mortgages with extremely low default rates as well as those with default rates nearing 30 percent. These latter mortgages were the ones created by the unholy alliance between subprime lenders and Wall Street. Pinto’s numbers are the Big Lie’s primary data point


It is important to fight this and other Republican lies. (A case could be made that Peter Schweitzer did the same with Congressional Inside trading. The Boston Globe reported a study that looked at ALL the trades made for Congressmen - and they did worse than a passive index fund would have done - http://articles.boston.com/2011-12-14/bostonglobe/30516909_1_insider-suspicious-trades-portfolio )

You likely have been too influenced by Fox News

1) Solyndra is a green energy company that received a grant and failed. Congress passed legislation that called for grants for green energy as part of the stimulus. It is not the least surprising that a company, even with a grant, could fail in what everyone knows is the toughest economy in recent times. As to top people in the company being Obama donators - I would bet they contributed to Kerry and Gore as well. It is hard to imagine that, having a passion for environmentally clean energy, they did not see that the Democrats were much more in line with their values.

2) Fast & Furious is an idiotic, immoral program, started when Bush was President in ATF. The Republicans blocked not just Obama's choice to head ATF , BUT Bush's choice to head the ATF. ( http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/06/nation/la-na-atf-director-20110907 ) This because the NRA has been against everyone nominated. Though Senator Grassley says that not having a confirmed head would have not made a difference, that is speculation. Note that the acting head was also only part time. It would seem that a confirmed, full time head of the organization would have more authority to set the agenda. The problem here is that ATF is a troubled organization - and it was so in the 1990s. The NRA's actions precluded the possibility that a good, strong head could have reset the organization's goals. The real problem is that the NRA, not wanting any regulation of guns, used its power to make the organization dysfunctional.

3) Indiana primary fraud is the dumbest Fox claim I have heard - and there's a lot of competition there. The fact is that they found TWO invalid signatures in a 150 signature sample. Then they declared this meant Obama should not have been on the ballot. The fact is that there always are some invalid signatures - which is why all candidates gather more than are needed and eliminate the obvious ones. Here, using the fraud rate identified, it is well outside the 95% confidence interval that Obama had insufficient signatures. (Here is what I wrote then - http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=433&topic_id=828461&mesg_id=828499 ) Beyond that, it was incumbent on his opponents or the state to challenge the petition and none did.

4) Executive overreach - Uhmm, it is hard to out do the Bush administration on this. Not to mention, the right pushed Alito onto the Supreme Court even though he was a proponent of the unitary executive. Senator Kerry and others passionately and eloquently spoke of the danger of moving in that direction.

5) Politicized DOJ - You mean pushing federal DA's to open investigations and make indictments - that did not have merit to hurt candidates in the opposing party in the mid terms? That did happen and they were caught at it, but that was the Bush administration in 2006, not Obama. (Small side fact, it was Chris Christie's office that investigated Senator Menendez, who was running in 2006 - the case dropped as having no merit after Menendez was elected.

6) Health insurance costs have risen fast for years. The fact is your costs would not have remained constant if there were no law passed.

7) 5 Trillion spent? The President does not have the power to spend money that Congress does not legislate. Not to mention, a large part of what was spent was for the two wars that started in the Bush era, including one that was not necessary. It is entirely likely that had Bush not diverted troops and resources to Iraq, that Afghanistan would have ended in his first term. He also might not have outsourced the capture of Osama Bin Laden and his key people to warlords that weeks before were allied with the Taliban. Not to mention, the Bush tax cuts, which were rammed through the Senate under reconciliation, were unaffordable. (This also led to the passage of the Byrd rule that bills passed under reconciliation must lower the deficit. ) The United States has never fought a war while cutting taxes. Yet Bush refused to even reduce the tax cuts to pay for the war - he threatened to veto the $87 billion supplemental if Congress paid for it that way. (So, like Kerry, he also had two positions on the $87 billion. Our financial standing now would have been better if Bush and the Congress would have taken the position Kerry voted for. )

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