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Tuesday, September 23, 2008
 
Bailout

One of the other Six said "Both candidates better focus on the $700B bail-out of Wall Street. I can't believe we're actually going to let them hit the 'reset' button. Gee, that would be great if I could just erase my mortgage and car loan. If the gov't does this, then we have to raise taxes and stop talking about cutting them because that's just a lie now. What a world! And by "let them" I mean all Americans who knowingly entered into loans they knew they couldn't pay back; greedy Wall Street money grubbers who kept pushing these loans; and the quasi-private-public mortgage houses of Fannie and Freddie; AND the Congress for not stepping in earlier to stop the craziness. I'm mad at everyone except the Chinese who will be kind enough to finance this debt for us. They owe us for providing positive coverage of how great their nation is during the Olympics."

I can't tell you how ticked I am with the Hill and the Administration over all of this financial crisis.

First, the reality check. People aren't waiting in breadlines, plants aren't shuttering laying off tens of thousands, and inflation isn't in the teens. Yet.

Second, say what you want about Big Oil or even the NRDC, for years I've been saying its the banks, financials, and insurance companies that have the strongest strangehold on public policymakers in Washington. Now even more evidence.

I agree that the public shouldn't have been taking loans they couldn't pay. Notice that the statistics for most housing foreclosures aren't in working class or middle class home markets - its in the upper middle and upper class housing markets. Plenty of people too smart for their own good who overextended to move into a McMansion somewhere. Too many non-banks in the mortgage business. Too many risky products? Where were the regulators?

In my discussions with the Hill in the Administration over the last few years, the financials rhetoric has increased. There has been many references to the need to "protect investors", the need to "protect the markets", "the investment must be protected or X tech, industry, product, will never happen", "mandate this or the invetment won't happen", "put in waivers or protections for consumers and investment will be reduced", "the investment community won't like it". Maybe it is the circles I work in, but I've never seen or heard anything to this level over the years.

I'm a free market guy, but we aren't operating in a free market. The Hill and the Admin is picking winners and losers or turning a blind eye based upon what Wall Street wants. They definitely favor that industry.

Ask Dodd, Frank, Paulson, Bolten, Steel, Kashkari, and the others where the regulators were?


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