J. KARL MILLER: Handicapping the 2012 election on the GOP front

Sunday, November 27, 2011 | 4:10 p.m. CST; updated 4:54 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Thanksgiving turkey has been dispatched and digested for another year, so it seems a propitious time to cull what the media describes as the herd of turkeys vying to be the party nominee for president.

Since the incumbent is assured of the Democratic Party nod, and the Libertarians, Constitutions, Greens, Socialists and assorted political cats and dogs are not really relevant, the only game in town is the Republican battle for recognition.

I find it interesting that a majority of political columnists and editorialists, whether syndicated, local or on the web, are united in the ridicule/dismissal of the Republican hopefuls as individuals or as a group. 

Virtually the entire New York Times contingent (who view conservatives with the sentiment reserved for wife beaters), along with the writings of the Washington Post's E. J. Dionne, Ruth Marcus and Dana Milbank, typify the scorn heaped on Republican candidates.

Although I find this attitude interesting, I don't see it as surprising. According to the Media Research Center, it is no secret that historically some 80 percent of news reporters vote Democrat, and 85 percent of the reporters covering the White House beat vote Democrat. 

Perhaps journalists occupy a higher plane of objectivity than the rest of us, but — you must pardon my skepticism — that is a hard sell.

Among the purported minuses assigned GOP candidates are a lack of foreign policy experience, monumental gaffes in debates, weakness of field (no leader has emerged)  and the time-honored "out-of-touch Republicans cater to the rich," to name a few. 

A look at the record fails to vindicate those claims.

For example, what was the incumbent's foreign policy experience before taking office? 

As for gaffes, no one is exempt from bonehead comments. I would expect that every candidate now knows the U.S. is composed of 50 states.

Some Republican wounds are self-inflicted, primarily because of an overexposure in debates. Although they do serve a purpose, these oral engagements between multiple candidates are not debates per se but rather an exercise in responding to politically charged questions in 60 seconds without making a fool of oneself. 

Most of us lean toward Teddy Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick" as opposed to electing a "debater-in-chief."

A quick look at the Republicans vying for the nation's highest office is revealing.  With the exception of Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann, each candidate has far more leadership experience than did President Obama — three (Romney, Perry and Huntsman) were governors; two (Cain and Romney) were successful business executives; and Gingrich served as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Each carries unfavorable baggage in varying degrees, and not one has captured more than 25 percent of the Republican party faithful. 

Mitt Romney, the leader in most of the polls, fails the current litmus test from the conservative right, while Rick Perry, the most conservative, suffers from massive verbal inconsistency.

Newt Gingrich's (the most gifted debater) baggage includes three divorces and several political positions angering the party faithful. 

Herman Cain, the plain-speaking, charismatic businessman, enjoys popularity from the rank and file; however, accusations of sexual misconduct render his future iffy at best.

Currently, those either leading or considered to have a favored track to the nomination are Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Each has a difficult and expensive hill to climb to win the nomination and face the extremely well-financed and experienced campaigner, President Barack Obama.

Nevertheless, in the contemptuous dismissal of the GOP hopefuls as politically out of touch lightweights, beholden to corporate interests and an enemy of the middle class and working poor, neither the mainstream media nor the Democratic Party machine has countered with a convincing argument that the president deserves re-election.

Admittedly, he inherited a sinking economy. However, after a failed $857 billion stimulus and an increase of some $4 trillion in the national debt has failed to put a dent in joblessness, the public is beginning to question his direction. 

Additionally, assigning blame to former President George W. Bush, the Republican House of Representatives, unrest in the Middle East, the Gulf oil spill, the Japanese tsunami and the "laziness" of Americans has worn thin.

An incumbent whose personal popularity remains high, the president will not be easy to unseat. But I see Mitt Romney, the acknowledged most formidable rival, getting the Republican nod as most electable.

If the economic and employment status quo is continued, it is difficult to comprehend the conservative or moderate Republican or Independent who will opt for President Obama over Gov. Romney.

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via email at

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Ellis Smith November 28, 2011 | 1:36 p.m.

Where is Calvin Coolidge when we need him?

"Silent Cal" wouldn't screw up in a debate; he'd keep his mouth shut.

Teddy Roosevelt, on the other hand, would have plenty to say: "We'll speak softly, but we're going to beat the crap out of those Iranians!" Now that's a real foreign policy statement.

Abe Lincoln would probably note that "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but that Obama guy, he ain't foolin' anyone."

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush November 28, 2011 | 5:11 p.m.

What happens when our
Enemies talk about us
Like we do of them?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 28, 2011 | 5:46 p.m.

The Colonel dances around the issue of money, but... Romney has raised about as much as all of his rivals combined so far. That's why, despite the current "anyone but Romney" dance the GOTP is doing, Romney will likely win the nomination. It's always nice to have the money to buy whatever you want, including people's support and votes.

Obama, of course, has raised more than twice what Romney has raised so far. By the time any one of the GOTP candidates gets the official nod, Obama's coffers will likely be 4 times the size of his rival.

Just remember, one of the main goals of the Occupy movement is to get big money out of politics.

I also find it funny that the majority of the wealthiest are democrats, the vast majority of successful journalists are democrats, but... the democrats supposedly have no clue about financing or success. This is the same thought process as saying the Occupy movement is meaningless, but it's going to ruin everything. Some people just have really big walls in their brains that can somehow segregate those things, and not see the irony.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 28, 2011 | 8:28 p.m.

"Just remember, one of the main goals of the Occupy movement is to get big money out of politics." Therein lies their problem. We must pay attention and remove the Crooks from our politics. This is why "the majority of the wealthiest are democrats, the vast majority of successful journalists are democrats" I can't imagine where anyone might have heard that these two groups "supposedly have no clue about financing or success." They all excel at both traits, whether the accomplishment is done legally or not. The five major scandals in our country since WW2 revolve around Democrats stealing money from the government.

Are there any other "main goals" of the occupiers? The World is waiting!

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 8:05 a.m.

"The five major scandals in our country since WW2 revolve around Democrats stealing money from the government."

What are those 5 major scandals, Frank?

The 62 worst instances of fraud in government since 1972 have all been republican related.

There are currently 103 siberian tigers on the FBIs most wanted list.

Daily, there are over 300 smurf kidnappings taking place in Montana alone.

I can make up facts too. But mine are more entertaining.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 29, 2011 | 10:06 a.m.

I've posted this before, thanks for the opportunity to do it again. Arabscam - 7 D's taking bribes from Arabians wanting favors from our gov't. + D' J. Murtha who "ratted out" the 7.

Wed Tec Scandal - Democrat Congressional investigation of Reagan AG E. Meese. Meese cleared, evidence found against 4 or 5 D's.

Savings&Loan Debacle - D' controlled Congress allowed change of real estate lending rules. One was allowing loans to be made on amount of appraisal only. Normal requirements were and are, asking price or appraisal, whichever is Lower. Crooks hired their own appraisers, took the huge loan proceeds, defaulted, let Gov't repay the loan. The simplicity of this scam has always amazed me. Environmentalists got into the act as well, when "environmental impact statements" were required on each unit before resale by Gov't.
Keating 5 - 4 D'Senators + J. McCain (cleared but made to stand with D's) censured by Senate for attempting to intervene in an investigation of Keating (one of the crooks in above listed)

D' Speaker J. Wright resigned the post for "improper lobbying of government officials on behalf of a company in which Wright had an interest; taking a large royalty — 55 percent — on his book,"

"House Bank and House Post office" slush funds set up by D' controlled Congress. Closed by '94 R' House members, but "bank" got 5 D's & 1R' convicted. PO got D' Dan Rostenkowski 17 months for personal use of $600,000 public money.

Then there is the real estate financial melt down of 2008, created by Clinton, Frank and Dodd.

Next will be loss of taxpayer "stimulus" money to bankrupt "green" companies. I wonder about the 107M$ grant to the Carnahan wind farm?

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 10:35 a.m.

Absolute craziness. Your idea of Democrat scandals is beyond questionable. The real estate collapse was created by banks and Republicans claiming that regulation was killing our country, and they still are. You can put a slant on anything you want to to try to prove your point but your are far from the truth. It is just blind ignorance to live in the sea of half truths in which you live and you love living there. It will not be on my list of places to visit.
The 5 LARGEST scandals. You CHOOSE to see what you want. You want to hate democrats. Your choice but has nothing to do with fact or truth. You just display your hatred and it takes away from anything that you might have a point about.
You like to attack my thoughts. I will follow your posts too and try to interject a bit of the truth into the things you like to claim.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 10:42 a.m.

January 23, 2007: Republican radio personality Scott Eller Cortelyou of Denver arrested on suspicion of using the Internet to lure a child into a sexual relationship

January 29, 2007: Republican former Jefferson County, Colorado, Treasurer Mark Paschall indicted on two felony charges "in connection with an allegation that Paschall solicited a kickback from a bonus he awarded one of his employees"

January 31, 2007: Republican Congressman Gary Miller is named by Republicans as ranking member of oversight subcommittee of House Financial Services Committee despite the FBI's investigation into his land deals

February 14, 2007: Major Republican fundraiser Brent Wilkes and former CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo are indicted by a grandy jury for corrupting CIA contracts

February 16, 2007: Major Republican donor Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari, aka Michael Mixon, is indicted in federal court on charges of providing material support to terrorists

March 5, 2007: Ethics complaint filed against Republican Senator Pete Domenici for his role in the Attorney Purge scandal

March 6, 2007: I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney found guilty of obstruction of justice and perjury

March 8, 2007: Republican former U.S. Congressman and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich admits to extramarital affair

March 23, 2007: Former Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles, an oil and gas lobbyist who became an architect of George W. Bush's energy policies, pleads guilty to obstructing justice by lying to a Senate committee

March 27, 2007: Criminal charges filed against Republican Pennsylvania State Senator Robert Regola in connection with the death of a teenage neighbor who was shot with the senator's gun; he is accused of three counts of perjury, allowing possession of a firearm by a minor, recklessly endangering another person and false swearing

March 27, 2007: Ronald Reagan's budget director, David Stockman, "indicted on charges of defrauding investors and banks of $1.6 billion while chairman of Collins & Aikman Corp., an auto parts maker that collapsed days after he quit"

March 28, 2007: Robert Vellanoweth, a Republican activist and appointee of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, after a crash that killed three adults and one child

This is posted from website. It is a list of "scandals" from 2007, and is just up to march 28th.
I don't agree with republicans or democrats. They both are crooked. But it just goes to show there is plenty of information availible to prove any side you want to be on is wrong.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 29, 2011 | 10:46 a.m.

matt arnall - "The real estate collapse was created by banks and Republicans claiming that regulation was killing our country," Here's your first chance to interject a bit of truth. Prove it.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 11:09 a.m.

How does that sound?
Frank, you prove nothing that comes out of your mouth. Why should you require that from me?

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 11:14 a.m.

Just to prove my point. Your 5 BIGGEST scandals since WW2 are the 5 that you listed above? I believe that most people have not even heard of most of those, but those are your biggest 5? What about Watergate, or Monica, or the crap that is happening right now today in our government? The House Bank and House post office slush funds scandal? That is in the top 5 since WW2? Do you read what you write? Is that really what you believe? Seriously?

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 29, 2011 | 11:26 a.m.

"The five *major* scandals in our country since WW2 revolve around *Democrats stealing money from the government."*

These are scandals? After Bill Clinton, "Newt Gingrich admits to extramarital affair" is still on your list? Liberals have claimed Davis Stockman as their own ever since he wrote a book criticizing "Reaganomics".

"I don't agree with republicans or democrats." The old "they both do it" excuse. You may not agree with either, but only Democrats would agree with your views as expressed around here. When you think I've made a false claim, tell us. I'll be glad to hear from you.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm November 29, 2011 | 11:42 a.m.

Let me get this straight; Frank does not think that either Watergate or the Iran Contra belong on the list of 5 biggest US scandals since WWII?

Frank, that is even too far misinformed and delusional for you.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 11:57 a.m.

As I stated, it is not my list, but a list of "scandals" from the web site I don't know who Davis Stockman is. Me stating that all politicians are crooked is not an excuse for anything. I think the political system has failed us all. And if I think you have made a false claim, who is the US that I am supposed to tell. Are you channeling Rush or something right now? I have said that I think most everything you write is hogwash and false claims. You have no information to back your claims. And, as Jack states, I don't have to prove you wrong on anything. You do a great job of that yourself. You have a really unique perspective. It is fun to try to follow.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 29, 2011 | 12:02 p.m.

Matt says, "The real estate collapse was created by banks and Republicans".

Question: If folks had paid their mortgages, would the collapse have happened?

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 12:19 p.m.

Better question: If banks hadn't been given freedom to do ANYTHING that they could dream up, from interest only loans to predetory lending, and 6 banks hold 90% of public assests and are "too big to fail", therefore taking trillions of dollars from the Fed (tax payer money), would the collapse have happened?
By all means, keep arguing in favor of these monsters of finance. They have your best interests at heart, Michael. These banks that you like so much make money in good times, and lose OUR money in bad times, all while keeping their jobs and recieving their giant bonus checks either way. That is the Americans way you are arguing for, right?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 29, 2011 | 12:32 p.m.

The financial crisis was caused by the financial industry.

Any other, more convoluted explanation is cut short by Occam's razor.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 29, 2011 | 12:46 p.m.

Absolutely no doubt that the finincial problems we all suffered from was becasue of Clinton imposing fines on banks for not lending to "diversity" thus loosening the lending standards. Frank and Dodd helped out by using their status as committee members in congress to say there were no problems even though there was ample evidence to show otherwise. This is fact. This was the first domino that started it all. This debt (the mortgages) were sold through various types of investment vehicles that had traditionally been safe. The ratings agencies missed the boat by not properly factoring in the new risk. The companies that relied on the ratings agencies took on too much risk because the risk was not properly valuated. On so on and so on.

The "stimulus" has been nothing more than a con game to redistribute tax payer money to rich dem donors. We all know this now even though some don't want to admit that their king lied to them. (and lies more often than he tells the truth...)

Owebama didn't stop there though...

the Times reported earlier this month that U.S. officials took unusual steps to award the contract (for a small pox drug that we already have a vaccine for...) to Siga Technologies. Democratic donor Ronald Perelman has the controlling share of the company.

The article cited emails showing the Obama administration replaced the lead negotiator on the project following complaints from Siga, which was apparently concerned about the government's objections to how much money Siga would make off the deal.

Earlier, in December, the government also reportedly blocked other companies from bidding on the contract in a second round.

Siga ultimately won the contract in May, but some questioned the price of the drug -- approximately $255 per dose -- and the practicality of the project.

The government already has a smallpox vaccine on reserve.

So, now we know Owebama is a thief and a liar.
The time has come to admit your mistakes and move forward with these truths in mind folks!!!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 29, 2011 | 12:49 p.m.

Matt: You assume far too much about my beliefs about banks and what happened.

And you failed to answer my question...which still stands.

If folks had paid their mortgages, would the collapse have happened?

Was the question too difficult?

After you've answered that very basic question, we can proceed from there.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 29, 2011 | 1:01 p.m.

matt - I have read your Bloomberg piece. It is about the Fed bail-out of banks. States nothing about cause of the crisis except: "While the emergency response prevented financial collapse, the Fed shouldn’t have allowed conditions to get to that point, says Joshua Rosner, a banking analyst with Graham Fisher & Co. in New York *who predicted problems from lax mortgage underwriting as far back as 2001.* The Fed, the primary supervisor for large financial companies, should have been more vigilant as the housing bubble formed, and the scale of its lending shows the “supervision of the banks prior to the crisis was far worse than we had imagined,” Rosner says."

Also tells us: "At the meeting with Kaufman, Geithner argued that the issue of limiting bank size was too complex for Congress and that people who know the markets should handle these decisions, Kaufman says. According to Kaufman, Geithner said he preferred that bank supervisors from around the world, meeting in Basel, Switzerland, make rules increasing the amount of money banks need to hold in reserve. Passing laws in the U.S. would undercut his efforts in Basel, Geithner said, according to Kaufman." Tim Geithner is and was D' Tres Sec of the U.S.A. He caused D' Kaufman's bill to break up the large banks to Fail.

Some quick responses: "I believe that most people have not even heard of most of those" I would insert word ignorant,between most and people.
"You have no information to back your claims." and you are too lazy to look them up.
"The financial crisis was caused by the financial industry." Add manipulated by Democrats Clinton, Frank and Dodd, beginning in 1993.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 29, 2011 | 1:08 p.m.

MikeM says, "This was the first domino that started it all."

Actually, I say it may be the second, but not the first.

The first was the social attitude that everyone should own their own house. Once that premise was accepted, all that followed was directed towards, "Now, how do we get them into one?"

Worst named new show on TV: You Deserve It.

Says it all.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 29, 2011 | 1:17 p.m.

Oops, forgot to mention that it was 433 million that we paid to dem donor Perelman's drug company in the above mentioned scandal of the week...

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 29, 2011 | 1:21 p.m.

Heh, Michael. I haven't seen, "you deserve it". If it is a show where they give away money. Sad commentary on our crises of culture.
However, IF it is more akin to wipeout (my 12 year old boys current fav...) where the contestants get repeatedly smacked around... Well, then...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 29, 2011 | 1:24 p.m.

MikeM and Siga

Now, Mike...have a heart about SIGA.

This is a company in need of a huge bailout:

Set the chart on 3 years, then hit update. Buck ninety Wonder if Perlmann bailed in time?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 29, 2011 | 1:27 p.m.

MikeM: It's the former.

But I sure had one helluva laff about the latter.

I turned off the program after about 5 milliseconds. I was slower than normal.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 1:37 p.m.

Michael, I suppose that if all people paid their mortgage the real estate bubble might have been propped up. The financial collapse still would have happened, but if people still managed to pay their mortgage, I suppose the bubble might still be floating.

Frank. You are incapable of doing what you ask of me.
I posted the store that you read. Again, it matters not to me whether they are GOP or DEM. They are all bad. One party in particular openly supports tax breaks to wealthy, deregulation (the real reason for the financial industry collapse), money for defense (we out spend the world 7 times over every year and they want more) with no money for education and infastructure, the belief that all the scientists are wrong about global warming, the belief in small government except when it comes to an issue that matters to them, the belief in spending responsibly except when they want to start a new war. This party is the GOP. The Dems pretend to have the common man at heart, but AGAIN I say they are all crooks. You want to support the GOP and that is your right. I say the government is broke and we all need to find a solution that will actually work. You like to call me ignorant, lazy and a bigot. Name calling is not making you correct and not proving any of your points. I don't need to look up the outlandish things that you say because they are nonsense and would be a waste of my time that I specifically set aside to do nothing. I am jealous, however, of how low your heating bill must be with all the hot air that comes out of your mouth.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 29, 2011 | 2:24 p.m.

m a - I have already addressed "bigot" in relation to your posts. Now this in regard to ignorant and lazy: "I don't need to look up the outlandish things that you say because they are nonsense and would be a waste of my time". If the question was "Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? Would your answer be, "I don't know and I don't care"? I delve into most everything that I don't believe. Particularly in politics, which you rightly see as the source of the likely destruction of our country, wouldn't it better if you leveled your thinking and checked out the content and source of Every statement you read or hear? This is about all I have to say to you, except if you find me false, tell us. US being myself and the readers of this blog.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 29, 2011 | 2:31 p.m.

Welcome to the Republican party!!!
(I am actually closer to a Libertarian, but our time is still a way off...)
Before you object...
Unfortunately, you only have two parties to choose from.
They are both crooks.
Republicans will "waste" (over pay contractors, channel money to special interests etc...) a lot of your money but will mainly do so through defense spending which was the reason we formed a Federal government in the first place.

The Dems will waste all of your money they can get and will do so through any avenue they can find and want the government involved in everything.

So, do you let the crooks handle ALL of your money or do you let the crooks handle only the smallest amount you can get by with???

The choice is clear to me...

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 2:31 p.m.

Frank, AGAIN I am TELLING "US" that I believe most of what you say to be FALSE. Can I make that any clearer? I am glad you are done for today. I am too. But I will be watching for you in the future, that you claim to be able to foresee. I don't want to miss the next crazy episode. Have a good one.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 2:45 p.m.

MikeM- Republicans only "claim" to be fiscally responsible. Their actions prove otherwise. We know that most elected officials are going to be Dem or GOP. I am voting for new comers that are against lobbiests and for term limits. Government should reprent the people being governed, not its most wealthy and powerful corporations. Why anyone would vote otherwise makes very little sense to me.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 29, 2011 | 2:46 p.m.

Matt: You are correct. The market would have been sustained. It eventually would have burst, most likely from a supply/demand issue. But, if those mortgages had been paid, then the principal and interest would have been paid, the bond ratings would have been good, the CDOs would have not gone belly-up, and the bonds would have been liquid in the markets, able to be bought and sold in a sensible manner.

I am sympathetic with complaints about the banks. Derrick F is right; the financial implements constructed by banks have gone far beyond any participation in setting market prices (PS: although folks gripe about futures and options, they are in fact a good thing...they help set valid market prices. Banks went far beyond that).

I am unsympathetic with complaints that blame banks without a concomitant skewering of consumers who allowed predation upon themselves by others. My sympathies for OccupyWhatever would escalate immensely if some smart, courageous soul would stand up and say, "Ok, the banks screwed us, but the fact is we can't be screwed unless we allow it. We were stupid and ignorant and greedy. We failed in our self duty to educate ourselves about financial things, including buying our own home. We became consumers rather than wealth-accumulators. We blame the 1% for gaining wealth much faster than us, yet WE are the ones who bought the crap they sold and WE made them rich. Let's push for reform, but let's also push our own reset button and start doing the things we SHOULD be doing to avoid getting in trouble in the first place. Trouble generally starts from the inside; we need to protect ourselves so we don't have to blame others."

Matt, virtually ALL of my posts on this topic have not been as a defender of banks/gov't/etc. Yes, some posts have, but my MAIN thesis is that WE have been our own enemy. We are the initiator of this problem. It is OUR attitude that allowed this to happen simply because we failed in our duty to ourselves. We failed to educate ourselves. We relied on the hoped-for veracity of others.

That was a mistake. It remains a mistake. I see NO change in citizens of this country, much less the world. Hence, even with all the gov't intervention you can fathom, trouble will remain on the horizon....because the problem lies with the citizens, not the gov't. The citizens must change first. Gov't will follow because they will be forced to.

In summary, I want more self-flagellation instead of whining and blaming on this particular topic. Once I get that, I'll join the chorus about the bad ol' banks.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 29, 2011 | 4:16 p.m.

matt arnall - I did not ask for what you "believe", we've been subjected to enough of that. I meant when you have proven with factual word for word from a reliable source that I am factually wrong, tell us. A Bloomberg piece that does not even address your assertions is not acceptable.

Jack Hamm - It may have been better for me to add "in my opinion" but no, I don't consider a liberal tho Republican President resigning his office for lying about his shenanigans funded by money from wealthy donors as "top" 5 scandals. A scandal during the Reagan administration was the Democrat Congress going to the lengths they did to prevent any Congressional spending to include aid to stop Communism in Nicaragua (Boland Amendments). Trial of those that raised the needed money anyway was a scandal, but not top 5. Neither of these include theft of taxpayer money.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 4:19 p.m.

Mike Williams- that is the best post I have read on here in quite some time. I agree with all you said. I see your points. Individuals did allow themselves into this position. I and I assume you did not drink the koolaid. I pay my bills, I take care of my obligations. My thought is that if things don't change for the better soon, even those of us that have played by the rules and did the right things might find ourselves in a position that we don't want to be in. I work for what I have and I say what is on my mind. Again, thanks for stating your point of view. I salute you for your beliefs.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 29, 2011 | 4:24 p.m.

Frank, you have NOT offered proof to anything that you have claimed in any of your posts here today or in the past. Again, you cannot do what you ask of me. And your second paragraph shows how incompetent you are and how far off from reality your mind is. I hope that you get well soon. It's like playing cards with my brothers kids.......pointless!!!

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 29, 2011 | 5:13 p.m.

If Derrick F. is right, then my addendum would be wrong and it is not. The Savings & Loan Crisis as well as our latest has been shown time and again to have been instigated by regulatory changes to the normal lending rules instituted by the U.S. Congress. To ignore this fact is to ignore history.

There has been definite change in our citizens and it started with their public education. No one found it necessary to teach the Royalist side of the Revolutionary War when I was in public school. That came in '60s and accomplished one thing, lessening of patriotism for our country. The indoctrination began then and has become most apparent since J.E. Carter found the need for a Dept. of Ed. Republicans are trying to change most every fault registered here. Need for self reliance, thrift, values, honesty, name the one I have missed. That so many continue to flail around for a place for blame but ignore the corrupt side of the government and repeat "they both do it" is our real problem as a people, in my opinion.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 29, 2011 | 5:34 p.m.

Graph of personal debt, 1950-2010:
There are two distinct sudden increases in household mortgage debt: the 1st around 1984, which is closely related to both the Savings and Loan deregualtion and a significant drop in interest rates; and the 2nd in 2000, almost immediately after the Financial Services Modernization act, which massively de-regulated the financial industry, essentially gutting the Depression-era Glass-Steagall act. Of the two sudden increases, the one that started after banking deregulation was absolutely huge - dwarfing every other debt bubble that came before it.

Beyond the "blaming the victim" mentality (you shouldn't have fallen prey to predatory lending, and you shouldn't have been wearing that short skirt, either), how is it that nobody in the financial industry was able to see that bubble before it burst?

In fact, some did. In fact, quite a few did. The collapse of the mortgage debt bubble by itself was bad enough, but what brought down the financial industry was the complex web of CDOs and other "complex financial instruments" that amount to insurance on the debt, and insurance on the insurance on the debt. Financial institutions had been betting on the collapse of that bubble in private for months, while publicly saying everything was peachy. One of the things that ripped the financial industry apart during the collapse was that there was so much hedging against the toxic mortgage assets already when the bubble finally popped, that all the CDO "debt gone bad" payments banks owed each other could not be paid.

Again, you can look at any one of the posts above...

"...the finincial problems we all suffered from was becasue of Clinton imposing fines on banks for..." ...SLICE! - that Occam's razor is pretty sharp. Why should the financial industry's crisis have to run a maze of cascading external predicates to get to disaster?

The financial industry bought the deregulation, and proceeded to hang themselves with the rope they just bought. It's that simple. It's a clear case of malfeasance in the financial industry.

The problem is, once the crisis hit, they just bought their rescue, at the taxpayer's and general economy's expense: The recent Fed audit shows over $16 Trillion in cash flow between the Fed and the banks in the last 3 years. Bloomberg's paper reports it as roughly $7.7 Trillion circulated through the banks, which allowed them to "profit" about $13 Billion.

The financial industry has no one to blame but themselves. Nobody forced them to massively over-leverage on consumer debt. Nobody forced them to massively over-leverage on insuring that over-leverage.

Unfortunately, there's nobody to pay for all those mistakes, except US.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 29, 2011 | 5:34 p.m.

My previous post suddenly brings me back to a point I've made before: You think all that money has any real underlying wealth to back it up? I don't. It's all just funny money. That's why the handful of extraordinarily wealthy have to just keep that money, not create jobs with it, and not have it taxed. It will eventually all just disappear, whether through inflation, or a massive stock market crash, because it does not represent real wealth.

Here's another way to make that point.
Chart 1: Real income by percentile:
Chart 2: Gross Debt:
Look at those charts, one on top of the other, and you can see quite a correlation between the increase in government debt, and the increase in the fortunes of the wealthiest fraction of a percent. Where do you think their money comes from? If you don't think government debt has any value, you probably shouldn't believe the wealthy's fortunes have much value, either.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 29, 2011 | 7:09 p.m.

I had thought to mention that those intent on blame for anyone in the world but a Democrat, would make one wonder if they truly would want the reforms that they so profusely cry for.

Twist the facts, as usual. Clinton, frank,dodd program mandating sub-prime mortgages began in 1993 and attempts to change by R's all through Bush years are recorded. We are discussing recession, you refer to "sudden increases in household mortgage debt" "The financial industry bought the deregulation," No, the Congress of the United States brought the deregulation. Am I wrong? (I almost forgot, if we can get the money out of politics, all the crooks will become honest.) "The financial industry has no one to blame but themselves." Whom in the "financial industry is suffering? If they could create another disaster tomorrow, they would. The same profitable result has been assured by the Dodd Frank financial reform law, by leaving the corrupt Fannie-Freddie intact with a guaranteed 400B$ bailout available. You seem to have trouble fooling anyone, barring those agreeing that the demise of the United State of America would be a good thing.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 29, 2011 | 10:59 p.m.


Sorry I did not respond earlier. I was teaching an adult ed class.

Thank you for your kind words re: my post.

Derrick: Look...if you were my son and you came home drunk and beat up, you'd probably want to tell me how the other guy fought dirty. You'd want to be the victim and you'd want my support. Well, we'll get to that, but first I want to understand YOUR role in all this: what you were doing drunk in a public bar and how'd you get into the fight? I want to understand, and I want you to understand all the things that got you to this point. I want you to understand those things you contributed to make you a perceived "victim". And, if you did something wrong, then you can admit it and understand and accept responsibility for it.

After that, we'll discuss the other guy and plot revenge...if required.

Same thing buying home you can't afford. I'll discuss the banks once the self-flagellation and whinin' ends. Why? Because everything that came afterwords could not have happened without a complicit buyer. To discuss banks with no soul-searching simply leaves us in the same place we were when we started. There is no underlying citizen change. There is no progress. We simply repeat the process down the road. No amount of government intervention can prevent it since the underlying cancer is still present.

Citizen reset button needs pushed, a real "come to jesus" moment that has nothing to do with religion. Once we reboot, I'm on board with your program. Until I'm not into futility where the underlying cause remains.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 29, 2011 | 11:13 p.m.

Further, tomorrow we could throw every involved banker/investment firm in the world in jail and hide the key, and eventually we'd be back in this same damned problem because citizens did not change their attitudes and strategies. I'd rather citizens change first, and then those who financially rape cannot exist except in isolation.

I'd REALLY be happy if both things happened at the same time.

But they won't. The only sustainable action is for citizens to change first. Everything else is kicking the can.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush November 30, 2011 | 2:00 a.m.

Gullible people,
Stop it! You're easy prey for
All of the banksters.

Banksters, as you were.
Continue your business. No
Need for enforcement.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush November 30, 2011 | 2:42 a.m.

I guess the victims
Of Bernie Madoff just got
What they deserved, too.

It seems that jailing
Bernie Madoff is "kicking
The can down the road."

Similarly, teach
People to not buy things. There'd
Be no more stealing.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 30, 2011 | 6:19 a.m.

They said someday you'll find
All who love ["sure" riches] are blind.
When your heart's on fire, you must realize
Smoke [Madoff] gets in your eyes [sucker!].

Now laughing friends deride
Tears I cannot hide [I'm broke!].
I just smile and say, when a lovely flame dies
Smoke gets in your eyes.

Apologies to composer Jerome Kern. Since Mr. Kern's copyright has expired we're sure he wouldn't mind his lyrics morphed into the "Bernie Madoff haiku."

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 30, 2011 | 8:47 a.m.

Derrick says...

The financial industry has no one to blame but themselves. Nobody forced them...

Yes they were forced! They were forced to make mortgages available to people that would not have qualified prior by good 'ol slick Willie under the, "Everyone deserves to live the American dream whether they work for it or not" mantra of the Dems which is the biggest problem we have as a society. You can deny it, but it is fact. I will try to give you a readers digest version of how leftist regulations directly led to the meltdown.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 30, 2011 | 8:53 a.m.

The policy in question is the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which compels banks to make loans to low-income borrowers and in what the supporters of the Act call "communities of color" that they might not otherwise make based on purely economic criteria.

The original lobbyists for the CRA were the hardcore leftists who supported the Carter administration and were often rewarded for their support with government grants and programs like the CRA that they benefited from. These included various "neighborhood organizations," as they like to call themselves, such as "ACORN" (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).

So-called "community groups" like ACORN benefit themselves from the CRA through a process that sounds like legalized extortion. The CRA is enforced by four federal government bureaucracies: the Fed, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The law is set up so that any bank merger, branch expansion, or new branch creation can be postponed or prohibited by any of these four bureaucracies if a CRA "protest" is issued by a "community group." This can cost banks great sums of money, and the "community groups" understand this perfectly well. It is their leverage. They use this leverage to get the banks to give them millions of dollars as well as promising to make a certain amount of bad loans in their communities.

A man named Bruce Marks became quite notorious during the last decade for pressuring banks to earmark literally billions of dollars to his organization, the "Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America." He once boasted to the New York Times that he had "won" loan commitments totaling $3.8 billion from Bank of America, First Union Corporation, and the Fleet Financial Group. And that is just one "community group" operating in one city — Boston.


(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 30, 2011 | 8:54 a.m.


Banks were placed in a Catch 22 situation by the CRA: If they comply, they know they will have to suffer from more loan defaults. If they don't comply, they face financial penalties and, worse yet, their business plans for mergers, branch expansions, etc. can be blocked by CRA protesters, which can cost a large corporation like Bank of America billions of dollars. Like most businesses, they have largely buckled under and have surrendered to their bureaucratic masters.

Consequently, banks in every community in America have been forced to hold a portfolio of bad loans, euphemistically referred to as "subprime" loans. In order to compensate themselves for the added risk of extending these loans, many lenders have increased the lending fees associated with mortgage loans. This is simply an indirect way of doing what banks always do — and what they must do to remain solvent: charging effectively higher rates of interest on riskier loans.

But this is discriminatory!, complained the "community organizations." Thus, if one browses the ACORN web site, one can read of their boasts of having "predatory lending laws" passed in numerous states which outlaw such fees, prohibiting banks from protecting themselves from the added risk involved in making forced loans to "subprime" borrowers.

These are price control laws, and price controls always cause shortages. Normally, banks would respond to such laws by extending fewer riskier loans. But in this case the banks are forced to continue making the marginal loans by their bureaucratic masters at the Fed and the other three federal bureaucracies mentioned above. So-called predatory lending laws therefore force the banks to "eat" the losses.


I place as much blame with Clintin as I do with Carter because the enforcement of this act was ramped up dramatically under his admin and this is when the bubble started gaining massive momentum...

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 30, 2011 | 10:16 a.m.

Good post. Now lets move on to a more difficult chapter of the book of our history as written by those intent upon using our government as a tool for the extraction of wealth from our taxpayers (we used to refer to them as "socialists", now they protest being "labeled" or identified in any way.)

Try to explain why so many being privy to yours and much more information choose to ignore it as well as the big gorilla in every room in America, the Federal Gov't.

Some say "we can change it if we "occupy Wall St." and waste valuable lifetime camping on the curb while those in Washington plan more ways to confiscate their wealth. Others ignoring the concerted, successful, effort of the Government to mold, starting with youth, each of us into the image of a "victim" through our educational system, bottom to top, proclaim, we just have to wait for the people to change.

I'm left wondering if they truly expect, or want Any change. Could they be quite happy with the path we are on?

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 30, 2011 | 10:31 a.m.

The fact of the matter is that the large corporations are the ONLY "people" that have representation in our government today. To act like the big banks are being picked on by poor people and minorities is in my opinion absolute craziness. To think that the lobbiest for these banks would allow the government to do anything that would cause them to become not profitable is also false. The lobbiest pay the politicians to do what they want and the politicians have made it legal to do so. The banks thought they could make money with what was allowed to happen, and they did. They made money in the good times and they continued to make money when their bad practices caught up with them because the government gave them our (the tax payers) money. Not only that, but the big boys grew even larger in size and power. Dems AND GOP are to blame. For those that want to blame one side or the other, an analogy. Aliens attack planet earth. Their goal is to exterminate humans. All human kind SHOULD be fighting the aliens to try to preserve mankind. However, lets say the USA blames China and China blames USA for the alien attack. So instead of mankind fighting aliens, USA and China attack each other, therefore helping the aliens get rid of us. What sense does that make? None. The political system is broke, and fighting between parties furthers the problem. We need solutions, not blame. There is plenty of that to go around.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 30, 2011 | 10:42 a.m.

mike mentor wrote:

"They were forced to make mortgages available to people that would not have qualified prior by good 'ol slick Willie"

They were encouraged to make loans to underqualified people, but were not required to if they judged it would jeopardize their institutions.

"Nor does the law require institutions to make high-risk loans that jeopardize their safety. To the contrary, the law makes it clear that an institution's CRA activities should be undertaken in a safe and sound manner."


Enter Freddie and Fannie.

Enter the above mentioned deregulation (by Derrick).

Enter the "how much house can you afford?" crowd of buyers that didn't ask if something too good to be true really could be, and the real estate "professionals" that goaded them on.

Mix, bake for several years and watch it explode. And it smelled so good when it was baking that no one wanted to turn the oven off.

The true, non-partisan facts of the matter is *everybody* did this.


(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 30, 2011 | 10:48 a.m.

mike mantor again cut and pasted:

"The policy in question is the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)..."

This is a piece by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, and I don't see it attributed as such. This is the original article.

Missourian, is it legal for someone to cut and paste writing that is not theirs without attribution? I'd be concerned about copyright violations.


(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 30, 2011 | 11:27 a.m.

"The fact of the matter is that the large corporations are the ONLY 'people' that have representation in our government today."

If that's true, then why -- even when the economy was roaring along -- has the percentage of taxpayers who have no federal liability increased over the past decade to ~47%? Clearly a lot of members of Congress and presidents were trying to curry their favor -- and still are. That's representation.

Ditto for senior citizens, who merely crook their finger -- both individually and via the AARP -- to have plenty of Congresspeople and presidents at their beck and call.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 30, 2011 | 11:34 a.m.

Sorry to bust open your conspiracy theory, but Washington is full of lobbiests on both sides of the fence. When dems have control of the govt, dem lobbiests usually get what they want. To say that the right sided lobbiests always win for the big corps is flat out wrong!

You went to the government website that is responsible for this travesty and are using their spin as proof the banks weren't forced? That's about like cutting and pasting part of an article on the internet and using it for a comment section without giving credit...

One question for you.

Why were there no sub-prime mortgages before this act was passed?

The modern mortgages really came about after the Housing Act of 1934. So, for 43 years the banks lent based on credit worthiness with no meltdown. According to you they realized what fools they were only lending to people that could pay the money back and decided on their own to go out and start lending to people they previously wouldn't have. It was just coincidence that this "awakening" after 43 years happened at the same time this CRA was passed?

If the Owebama kool aid is that good at messing with your mind, then maybe I am missing out. I think I might try some on the weekends for recreational purposes ;-)

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 30, 2011 | 12:45 p.m.

Speaking of copyright violations, I have been remiss in attribution for the graphs I have been linking to (I have posted the same graphs before, with attribution). Everything so far except the one from Wikipedia comes from Left Business Observer, which publishes under the Creative Commons license. This attribution notice satisfies legal requirements for redistribution.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 30, 2011 | 12:56 p.m.

Speaking of graphs from the Left Business Observer, look at it again:

Please compare the sudden surge of mortgage debt immediately after the passage of the CRA act in 1977, in fact for the entire 22 years between 1977 to 1999, to the surge of mortgage debt immediately after the passage of the FSMA in 1999.

Fact is, the FSMA contained many significant liberalizations that allowed the original, very modest CRA to be ruinously abused. People can posit about how the CRA is the root of the problem, but the fact that it took 22 more years after the passage of the CRA for the mortgage bubble to really take off should effectively separate fact from fiction.

It was the FMSA that allowed the mortgage debt bubble to happen.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 30, 2011 | 1:27 p.m.

What goes into calculating those mortgage debt figures? If it includes interest owed over the lifetime of the mortgage, then it's no surprise that it would skyrocket after 1977 because they doubled and quadrupled through about 1983: Or is that coincidence?

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 30, 2011 | 1:36 p.m.

MikeMentor- you read what you want. I was NOT pulling for left or right lobbiest. I want all of them out. Do you understand? And please please please, Obama is spelled O_B_A_M_A. There is no need to misspell his name. It is already obvious that you don't like him. I got that. He is the elected leader of this country that you are a citizen of. Your childish pokes at him make you look silly.

Jimmy- if you think that low income people and elderly have equal representation in government as big business and banks, that is what you think. I would disagree with you. There is a difference between speeches/gestures and actual legislation that effect these groups. In my opinion, most things happening are for the benefit of corpoate america, not for the benefit of low income and elderly.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 30, 2011 | 1:49 p.m.

"There is a difference between speeches/gestures and actual legislation that effect these groups."

I'm sure you meant to say "affect," but you're also correct that the speeches and legislation effect ( ) these groups: The two across-the-board tax cuts, as well as increasing certain deductions that phase out at higher incomes, definitely effected them. That's why the percentage of taxpayers with no federal liability grew over the past decade.

The speeches also effect these groups, such as by making it clear that it's okay to be lazy and irresponsible (e.g., have a baby you can't support and get access to TANF, WIC, Medicaid, etc.).

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 30, 2011 | 2:51 p.m.

Jimmy, thank you for the grammer lesson. I am very impressed.

The affect vs. effect question can stump even the best English students. Generally, effect is a noun describing what something caused. For example, "The hoarseness of her voice was an effect of the flu." Effect can be turned into an adjective, as in, "The whistle was an effective way of summoning the workers to the factory." Affect is generally a verb which indicates that something has had an effect. For example, "The flu affected her voice." If you can remember that effect is a noun and affect is a verb, you are already ahead of the game. The trouble is that sometimes affect is used as a noun meaning an emotion or feeling. It is not used very commonly, but readding literature, one might come upon a sentence such as, "His reply had all the affect of a stuttering mule."
Provided by

There ya go, Jimmy.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 30, 2011 | 3:01 p.m.

If I make one Owebama lover mad by making fun of him, then it is all worth it, even if I do look silly!

Instead of getting mad when people made fun of Bush's blunders, I usually joined in...

As far as the lobbiests go, they are working for agendas and agendas come in all shapes and sizes. I am not a banker, but I work in an industry that is very heavily regulated by the government. We have had regulations placed on us by liberal politicians that made parts of our business unprofitable. They did this because it was popular with their voting base to "stick it to the man" and lower costs for the consumer. I know this to be true because I have lived it for the last 20 or so years. Thankfully, they were not able to make all of our business unprofitable or I would be one of the many looking for work. Why would there be any "pro consumer" or "anti-business" regulations on any industry ever if the government always sided with big business?

P.S. I will try to do better with crediting sources for those of you that care. Not so concerned when I copy/paste a line or two, but I definitely should have credited when the copy/paste was as big as the one today...(I can't say that I use one source all the time. I usually type my thought in a google search, ie "the mortgage meltdown was caused by government regulations in the way of the Community Reinvestment Act" and see if someone has done the tedious leg work for me. I don't think that repeating in an online comment section, what was written years ago would harm the author, but I'll try and play nice...

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 30, 2011 | 3:05 p.m.

"If you can remember that effect is a noun and affect is a verb, you are already ahead of the game."

But intentionally or unintentionally, you used effect as a verb. Either way, the usage is correct because the speeches and legislation effect and affect those groups.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 30, 2011 | 3:26 p.m.

MikeM, all of the groundwork was laid for the housing bubble and resultant depression long before Obama was president. It does no good to continue to bash him with it.

Also, we did not have significant subprime mortgage lending until the last of the Clinton years, like Derrick pointed out. Bush didn't do anything about it, and neither did Congress. Everybody was in on this - the banks, the Fed, Congress (who saw revenues rising) and the legions of consumers who thought they could get something for nothing.

You know something? It doesn't matter at this point how it happened. How do we get the nation working again (and it's really not anything like what it was in the Great Depression)? How do we balance the budget? No one from either party begins to answer any of those questions. They're just concerned with making partisan points for the next election.

You realize that nothing government (or the private sector) did ended the Great Depression? It was ended by WWII. Short of an industrial stimulus of that magnitude, I'm not sure that there are solutions other than mostly public sector ones at this point.

You say part of your business has been rendered non-profitable by regulation. Typically our governments don't regulate unless there is some abuse or problem that calls for the regulation. I'm not buying "stick it to the man".


(Report Comment)
frank christian November 30, 2011 | 3:56 p.m.

Derrick, Mark - We have heard of "selective memory" and you two what might be called, "take the cake". You only recently have been able to recall that our
Federal Budget was in balance and the debt was being reduced 4years in a row (97-00) and now can't seem to absorb any information about B. Clinton's changes to CRA starting in 1993. Read:

Look at Legislative changes 1995 "During one of the Congressional hearings addressing the proposed changes in 1995, William A. Niskanen, chair of the Cato Institute, criticized both the 1993 and 1994 sets of proposals for political favoritism in allocating credit, for micromanagement by regulators and for the lack of assurances that banks would not be expected to operate at a loss to achieve CRA compliance. He predicted the proposed changes would be very costly to the economy and the banking system in general. Niskanen believed that the primary long term effect would be an artificial contraction of the banking system. Niskanen recommended Congress repeal the Act.[54]"

Then read: Legislative changes 1999 "The 1999 Act also mandated two studies to be conducted in connection with the "Community Reinvestment Act":[60]

the first report by the Federal Reserve, to be delivered to Congress by March 15, 2000, is a comprehensive study of CRA to focus on default and delinquency rates, and the profitability of loans made in connection with CRA;[61]
the second report to be conducted by the Treasury Department over the next two years, is intended to determine the impact of the Act on the provision of services to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and people, as intended by CRA.[62" And this is what caused the melt down?

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 30, 2011 | 4:04 p.m.

Mark - W. Bush tried to stop this insane lending at least three times. One was to put Fan/Fred into the the U.S. treasury. John McCaine introduced legislation to stop it as well. Congress was all R's but each of these attempts were killed by Democrats in the Senate. Somehow try to remember this.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 30, 2011 | 4:51 p.m.

I might snarkily ask the editors whether deliberate name-calling of the President of the United States constitues a violation of comment policy. Eds?

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 30, 2011 | 4:54 p.m.

Mark, I didn't blame Owebama for the mortgage metldown. Even though it was the Carter admin that passed the bill that laid the groundwork for it, it was the Clinton admin that greatly increased the enforcement of it and got the ball rolling. Then Barney frank as a member of the committe that deals with this stuff and later the chairman of this committee kept the problem going by denying that there was a problem when everyone else started to see it coming. Thanks to Jeff Jacoby @ Boston Globe for the following that calls out barney for trying to blame it on the free market and follows along very closely with what I argued before which was this was not done (sub primes) because the banks wanted to...

Barney Frank's talking points notwithstanding, mortgage lenders didn't wake up one fine day deciding to junk long-held standards of creditworthiness in order to make ill-advised loans to unqualified borrowers. It would be closer to the truth to say they woke up to find the government twisting their arms and demanding that they do so - or else.

The roots of this crisis go back to the Carter administration. That was when government officials, egged on by left-wing activists, began accusing mortgage lenders of racism and "redlining" because urban blacks were being denied mortgages at a higher rate than suburban whites.

The pressure to make more loans to minorities (read: to borrowers with weak credit histories) became relentless. Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act, empowering regulators to punish banks that failed to "meet the credit needs" of "low-income, minority, and distressed neighborhoods." Lenders responded by loosening their underwriting standards and making increasingly shoddy loans. The two government-chartered mortgage finance firms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encouraged this "subprime" lending by authorizing ever more "flexible" criteria by which high-risk borrowers could be qualified for home loans, and then buying up the questionable mortgages that ensued.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 30, 2011 | 4:54 p.m.

All this was justified as a means of increasing homeownership among minorities and the poor. Affirmative-action policies trumped sound business practices. A manual issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston advised mortgage lenders to disregard financial common sense. "Lack of credit history should not be seen as a negative factor," the Fed's guidelines instructed. Lenders were directed to accept welfare payments and unemployment benefits as "valid income sources" to qualify for a mortgage. Failure to comply could mean a lawsuit.

As long as housing prices kept rising, the illusion that all this was good public policy could be sustained. But it didn't take a financial whiz to recognize that a day of reckoning would come. "What does it mean when Boston banks start making many more loans to minorities?" I asked in this space in 1995. "Most likely, that they are knowingly approving risky loans in order to get the feds and the activists off their backs . . . When the coming wave of foreclosures rolls through the inner city, which of today's self-congratulating bankers, politicians, and regulators plans to take the credit?"

Frank doesn't. But his fingerprints are all over this fiasco. Time and time again, Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in good shape. Five years ago, for example, when the Bush administration proposed much tighter regulation of the two companies, Frank was adamant that "these two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis." When the White House warned of "systemic risk for our financial system" unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.

Now that the bubble has burst and the "systemic risk" is apparent to all, Frank blithely declares: "The private sector got us into this mess." Well, give the congressman points for gall. Wall Street and private lenders have plenty to answer for, but it was Washington and the political class that derailed this train. If Frank is looking for a culprit to blame, he can find one suspect in the nearest mirror.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 30, 2011 | 5:44 p.m.

Derrick f. - "I might snarkily ask the editors whether deliberate name-calling of the President of the United States constitues a violation of comment policy. Eds?"

Why don't you snarkily answer my question about CRA and Financial Services Modernization Act?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 30, 2011 | 5:55 p.m.

Mike's hypothetical is interesting, but... I've never gotten drunk and gotten into a fight. Does that make me unqualified to speak up about the dangers of alcohol? I'm merely advocating that bartenders and establishments that sell alcohol should maybe have some culpability for serving customers who they know darned well will get in an automobile and drive home, or continuing to serve visibly intoxicated college kids who commonly end up getting into fights when drunk.

I'm not letting individuals off the hook. Nobody is. People who took out mortgages they couldn't afford have lost those homes, lost everything they have, or are still in the process of foreclosure.

I'm still the only one pointing out that mortgage debt is not the only facet of the financial crisis. In fact, it's only the tip of the iceberg, or the first few dominos, of the whole financial crisis. The impossibility of covering the web of derivatives based on mortgage debt, which were wholly and completely contained within the financial industry, were a significant component of the collapse of the financial industry. How were the borrowers - even if they made poor borrowing decisions - responsible for that part of the crisis?

I'm asking that the players in the financial industry who made the poor decisions about lending, and then doubling down on those poor decisions betting on the loans between other financial institutions, suffer repercussions of the same magnitude that homeowners are suffering: i.e., losing everything, including their 'credit rating' as employable in the financial industry. THAT'S "justice for all."

But in a fundamental sense, Mike (and DK) are right. In one sense it's important to understand the failure, so we don't make the same mistakes again. It's important to hold ALL the bad apples accountable. But ultimately, it's us, the people, the citizens, the 99.9%, who are ultimately responsible, and are gonna have to come up with some answers and some actions, or suffer the consequences.

That's why I support the concept of the Occupy movements. It's time to stand up and speak out. It's time to call BS on the "job creators" lie, and point out that as the fortunes of the .01% have skyrocketed, job creation has nosedived.

Chart 1: Real income, selected percentiles:
Chart 2: 10-year rolling job creation:

Source: Left Business Observer

It's time to stop this madness of gutting our own economic engine for cheap crap and mindless entertainment. It's time to get big money out of politics, and put We the People back in.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 30, 2011 | 6:03 p.m.

Dear Frank: Since you asked so directly, I will inform you that I have decided to stop engaging you directly on these discussion boards. I believe your posts do enough damage to themselves, without further comment from me.

I urge others here to consider doing the same.

(Report Comment)
Tim Trayle November 30, 2011 | 6:18 p.m.

Derrick Fogle had written: "Dear Frank: Since you asked so directly, I will inform you that I have decided to stop engaging you directly on these discussion boards. I believe your posts do enough damage to themselves, without further comment from me.

I urge others here to consider doing the same."
Well said. Engaging with FC left such a bad taste in my mouth--I saw how I repeatedly allowed myself to descend nearly to his level of "debate." It was tough, but I broke away. It just became too depressing to watch thread-after-thread develop into vitriol, and I believe FC has been a primary instigator of that process here at this newspaper.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 30, 2011 | 6:27 p.m.


"Occupy" is concerned ONLY with being a victim.

Until it also engages in self-reflection and acknowledges/addresses the citizens' portion of the culpability, I refuse to support "Occupy".

Because the citizens' portion is the only portion that really counts. Everything after that is simply painting over rust.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 30, 2011 | 6:32 p.m.

Mike: Did I not bluntly point out that my comment was snark? I know I'm being childish when I do it, but hey, at least mine rhymes. I don't do it often, and I don't feel big or claim a self-important win when when someone calls me out on it. I also generally refrain from criticizing other people's grammar or writing skills.

The fact that both you and Frank jumped down my throat about it should drive home the point of how churlish that kind of stuff is. Sometimes, I find playing the part of a mirror is entertaining enough.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 30, 2011 | 6:40 p.m.

Derrick says, "I'm not letting individuals off the hook. Nobody is. People who took out mortgages they couldn't afford have lost those homes, lost everything they have, or are still in the process of foreclosure."

Sure you are. You believe that the loss of money/home is the price they paid.

No, it's not. The real price is not acknowledging WHY and HOW they got into the problem in the first place, not acknowledging their own culpability in the problem. They are considered victims (even by you) instead of accomplices. Losing money is a symptom, not a cause. Until folks understand WHY and HOW they got into problems, they are doomed to make the same mistakes. The current emphasis is NOT on this aspect of the problem, and therein lies my objection.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 30, 2011 | 6:54 p.m.

To Mike Williams- I don’t think the occupy movement has defined itself to be just a bunch of whiners. I get what you are saying, but OWS has many parties represented. I support it because something needed to start, and this could be it. I totally agree that its the people that have to realize the mistakes that they made before we can proceed to a better place, but not all people at the protests are jobless, youthful hacks. I think many good ideas are present and I will support it until it defines itself to be something that I disagree with. Change is needed and the OWS ball is rolling. I support that.

I also support the idea of not letting Frank Christian drag me down to his level. He is distasteful to say the least. I support people having different views, but the constant attacks and insults that he tosses into debates accomplishes nothing and leads to nowhere. Instigator is the correct term.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 30, 2011 | 7:03 p.m.

Mr Williams- define your point of view please. People need to realize they willingly bit off more than they could reasonably chew. Is your sticking point that they realize they did it to themselves?
As far as loosing house and everything and that person not understanding they did a bad thing seems unrealistic.
I like Derrick’s interest in the banks and bankers making these bad loans suffering the same fate. Both made bad decisions. Seems like if one is homeless the other should be jobless.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 30, 2011 | 7:07 p.m.

I can recall when D. Fogle or h4whatever went nuts after I refused to converse with him. Too bad that some, honestly questioned about their accuracy while exercising their first amendment right to propagandize us, must refer to that action as vitriol.

Derrick might answer the question and address it to Williams or Trayle, or as a poster wrote about "frothferous" (sorry, Chris). "When you have no answer, you just disappear."

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 30, 2011 | 7:19 p.m.

Mike: Have you talked to the occupiers themselves? I have. None of the people I've talked to sounded like career victims. I've known some; I know the difference.

I've been a protester, I support the movement. Do I sound that much like a victim? I don't feel particularly victimized, whether or not other people hear it in my voice. My point is not that inequality in itself is bad; it's not. My point is that the last time inequality reached the levels we're at now, we got the Great Depression. As DK pointed out, NOTHING brought us out of that except domestic spending and industrialization on the scale of WWII.

Over the last few years, we hit that level of inequality again, and guess what? We're currently suffering the "Great Recession." It astounds me that people can't seem to connect these two dots. It's not that inequality in itself is bad, it's just that there are practical limits to it, just like almost everything else. One way or another, the country is going to have to restructure to back away from those limits to become productive again.

This time, we don't have a workable WWII scale *anything* to get us back out. We're already in 2 big wars and that doesn't seem to be doing anything but creating an bottomless pit of debt. We've cut federal taxes, mostly on the poorest and the richest, until they're the lowest in over 60 years. Again, the result is just more debt. We need to try some different solutions.

I've proposed a 2-part simple income tax that would be half flat, and half track the real income distribution in the US; a simple inverse percentage-of-payroll business tax to encourage domestic employment; and a massive industrial project to regain energy independence to isolate ourselves from global energy resource competition. I advocate real and significant energy conservation measures like using bicycles for transportation. I also urge people to minimize personal debt and turn away from mindless consumption and consumerism. I try to inspire people to find something that will drive their dedication and passion to work hard and accomplish something. Of what I preach, I practice what I can.

If that sounds like a whiny victim mentality to you, that's your problem, not mine.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 30, 2011 | 7:43 p.m.

Does anyone else have a blue screen in this thread?
I do. I can't read your stuff.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks November 30, 2011 | 7:47 p.m.

Yep. Believe it or not but this happens a lot on this site at least on my end. I have even switched computers in the past and figured it would just work its way out eventually. I have not seen the screen like this in at least 3 weeks.

If you have problems reading it just click and drag and it will highlight the words for easier reading.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop November 30, 2011 | 7:48 p.m.

The biggest scandal since the end of WW2 is Bill Clinton's betrayal of our nation by assisting in the sale nuke technology to N. Korea, and the sale of our ICBM staging and guidance technology to Red China. Clinton's treason took away forever the ability of any future president to deal with Red China from a position of stragetic and tactical nuclear superiority.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall November 30, 2011 | 7:54 p.m.

@Don- are you on the wrong page?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 30, 2011 | 8:10 p.m.

Good news. My comment mentioning the pejorative alteration of "teapartier" has been deleted. I received an email from the Missourian that the alteration is now considered an obscenity by the paper and a violation of their comment policy.


(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 30, 2011 | 8:16 p.m.

I feel like i have to jump back in here with a reminder that the banks hands were tied by the government. They were forced!
Govt meddling started it all...

(Report Comment)
Vega Bond November 30, 2011 | 8:26 p.m.

Whip me!
Beat me!
Make me write bad checks!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith December 1, 2011 | 4:52 a.m.

@ Vega Bond:

Fascinating! A former employer of mine sold a product named "Vegabond." It was used to bond bricks together, but not the type of bricks used in building construction or paving.

"Vega" means "meadow."

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith December 1, 2011 | 5:08 a.m.

@ Michael Williams:

A "heads up" about another no-no. Suggest you not employ the term "redneck."

Ah, yes! Political correctness. As a society we are drowning in it. (Applying political correctness to the plays of William Shakespeare would probably cut their content by at least 25%.)

[Let's see how long it takes to delete this post.]

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 1, 2011 | 7:56 a.m.

Derrick Fogle wrote:

"Over the last few years, we hit that level of inequality again, and guess what?"

My thinking is wealth inequality is a symptom of the problem, and not a cause. In both cases, the financial sector came to dominate the economy through the creation of money through undersecured loans. People with money, in such an economy, can make more of it much easier than someone without money can.

While we had a lot more domestic manufacturing in the 20's, it was typically not well paid, and there was a lot of immigration at the time, which drove down wages and made good jobs very competitive. So the size of the "real" economy wasn't large with respect to the huge stock market bubble that was fueled by undersecured lending.

How much can we encourage domestic investment that creates jobs? I doubt it will be possible in our globalized world to do this very effectively. So what do we do? Anyone?


(Report Comment)
frank christian December 1, 2011 | 8:03 a.m.

"How much can we encourage domestic investment that creates jobs? I doubt it will be possible in our globalized world to do this very effectively. So what do we do? Anyone?"

Cut taxes.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor December 1, 2011 | 10:55 a.m.

How much can we encourage domestic investment that creates jobs? I doubt it will be possible in our globalized world to do this very effectively. So what do we do? Anyone?

Reduce uncertainty! According to the people that will actually be the ones making these investments, uncertainty is the biggest obstacle. This includes taxes, health care, interest/investment returns, etc...
According to polling of these folks, the uncertainty of Owebamacare is a huge deal. How "we" let "our" zeal get a hold of "us" and passed such a huge monumental law without knowing all the effects, and all those it would affect, (callback) is beyond me. I think Pelosi's, "We have to pass the bill to find out what's in the bill" has to rank as the most irresponsible thing a speaker has ever said trying to get a bill passed... Well, guess what... Job growth has been stunted because business owners are waiting to see what is in that thing...

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 1, 2011 | 11:15 a.m.

Tax rates are the lowest they have been in 60 years. Any ideas that might actually work?

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 1, 2011 | 2:56 p.m.

"matt arnall December 1, 2011 | 11:15 a.m.

Tax rates are the lowest they have been in 60 years."

And tax revenues are Higher than ever. OMB

Mike - These guys deal with numbers. "If we do x then subtract y, z will be our answer". Human nature, somehow, cannot be considered in their calculations. Tax cuts,(they cannot depend on Americans to do the right things with their money.), yours, provide certainty, stable environment for growth, less useless regulation (again, they cannot count on Americans to invest their money the "right" way.)

The things we suggest involve human nature, thus are summarily rejected, at least in every discussion I've enjoined. The difference, I believe, is that the people in gov't they support are the true 1%er's the demonstrations are about and they do not Want any growth in our country.

I wrote "cut taxes" for fun, knowing Mark would begin tearing on his hair. We can rest assured that if R's can control again, these are the things that will be put in place and that they will work, as they have in the past.

We can now expect around 14 graphs and charts trying to show that they did not work. We'll just have to wait and see and have hope.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 1, 2011 | 5:17 p.m.

Washington’s spendthrift ways have taken much of the blame for sending the budget deficit more than $1.5 trillion during the recession, but equal blame should go to a collapse in federal revenues to 60-year lows, budget analysts say.

To be sure, President George W. Bush, President Obama and Congress went on spending binges in 2008 and 2009 in an effort to quell the financial crisis and counteract the downturn. But at the same time, revenues plummeted by a historic 18 percent because of high unemployment, widespread bankruptcies and a series of tax cuts.

Revenues plunged from their peak of $2.57 trillion in 2007 to reach $2.1 trillion, or 14.8 percent of economic output in 2009 — the lowest level since the 1950s — and taxes remain that low today, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

While that may seem like good news to millions of people filing their federal taxes, that level of revenues is far below the 18 percent historical average and is not sufficient to support a federal government that is waging two wars and has become the primary source of income for a growing population of retirees, economists say.

The collapse in federal revenues has driven the total weight of taxes on the economy to the lowest levels since the 1960s, even when myriad state and local taxes are added in, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

With federal, state and local tax revenues totaling 24 percent of economic output, the OECD said, the United States is in the same category as countries like Turkey and South Korea, which have neither a globe-spanning military to support nor fully developed economic safety-net programs such as unemployment benefits, Social Security and food stamps.

Moreover, the U.S. is the only major developed nation that has allowed tax levels to fall so low despite creating dangerous and potentially destabilizing deficits and debt burdens, the OECD said.

“The upcoming fiscal challenges simply cannot be solved by spending cuts alone,” said Harm Bandholz, an economist with Unicredit Markets who is mystified by the stubborn resistance to raising taxes in Congress given historically low revenue levels and the inexorable growth in retirement spending in coming years.
This is from the washington times, cut and pasted.


(Report Comment)
frank christian December 1, 2011 | 7:25 p.m.

"Tax rates are the lowest they have been in 60 years."

"Revenues plunged from their peak of $2.57 trillion in 2007"

Both statements are yours. Without using "LIES" could I suggest that you are wrong?

“The upcoming fiscal challenges simply cannot be solved by spending cuts alone,” said Harm Bandholz, an economist with Unicredit Markets who is mystified by the stubborn resistance to raising taxes in Congress"

"UniCredit Group was the outcome of the 1998 merger of several Italian banks. In 1999, UniCredito Italiano, as it was then known, began its expansion in Eastern Europe ..." As I recall, Italy is in worse shape than we. Being polite is difficult... I'll keep trying.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 2, 2011 | 7:12 a.m.

mike mentor wrote:

"Reduce uncertainty!"

I'm not buying that as an explanation for why businesses aren't generally expanding.

There has always been uncertainty in the legislative process, and business has always dealt with that. We have some of the lowest taxes and least regulation in the First World.

The only uncertainty about "Obamacare" is whether certain parts of it will actually go into effect. Read the various summaries of the legislation if you're uncertain.

Here's an objective summary of the effects on workers insurance from NEJM:

I'd say a far bigger source of business' reluctance to expand has to do with consumer confidence, and perceived demand for products and services. But that doesn't support a partisan agenda as well.


(Report Comment)
frank christian December 2, 2011 | 8:22 a.m.

"Human nature, somehow, cannot be considered in their calculations."

Mark F. says ""Reduce uncertainty!"

I'm not buying that as an explanation for why businesses aren't generally expanding."


Human nature doesn't count, unless it can be used to blame the people, rather than Government. "reluctance to expand has to do with consumer confidence,"

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 2, 2011 | 10:00 a.m.

Tell me how you can suggest that numerical facts based on data is wrong. Revenues in 2007 were 2.57 trillion, and since have declined dramatically. Please tell me how you can argue that fact. I can't wait to hear this......

(Report Comment)
mike mentor December 2, 2011 | 10:35 a.m.

Are you being disingenuous or just stubborn? Whether you buy it or not, when the people that actually make these decisions (small business owners on expansion/job growth) were asked, uncertainty was their answer. This is a huge deal. The irresponsible lawmakers that passed this thing had no idea of all the effects. The cost estimates change regularly, all to the upside. No shock there. There is still much to be argued in court. Pelosi recently called Catholic bishops lobbyists because part of the bill forces Catholics to buy coverage that includes coverage for contraceptives including abortifacients which is in direct contradiction with their faith and the Bishops let their concerns be known. How dare they question! If you look at different sources for "objective summaries" they do not all agree. How could that be if everyone knows everything? Even if we were to ignore the fact that no one really does know how all this will play out and what the eventual costs per employee will be, you still have to take in to account the complexity of all this. Maybe Mr Buckingham knows BBQ inside and out, but he may not have an economics degree. They will wait until they actually see what happens and then react instead of risking their life's work and financial security on promises made by politicians that lie more than they tell the truth.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 2, 2011 | 11:57 a.m.

"matt arnall December 1, 2011 | 11:15 a.m.

Tax rates are the lowest they have been in 60 years. Any ideas that might actually work?"

My post was to tell you that tho tax rates have been lowered during those years the take for the government has steadily increased to record highs in 2007. I forgot to except the recession and pretty much knew you would jump on those three years as proof of something. Does the rate of spending shown have any effect on you?

Mark and his cohorts will be here soon to claim tax rates had nothing to do with the increased revenue, that it has been only a cyclical occurrence. Horse pucky!

Republican reform of the tax code, lower, fairer taxation, will increase revenue to gov't and careful attention to spending will go far to a balanced budget. I recently read that R' Rep. Paul Ryan and committee is preparing to change from the imo, criminal gimmick of "baseline budgeting" for Congressional spending (start with amount spent last year, then decide how much more is to be spent this year.), installed by Democrat Congress in 1974. N. Pelosi has never bothered with Any budget. This in it's self will halt the growth in careless spending, but have not heard one of those producing numbers and the protest, "impossible to balance the budget without raising taxes!", indicate in any way that they have considered this tool as a way to save any money. Fiscal responsibility can be achieved in our government, but not with Democrats in control of anything.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 2, 2011 | 12:05 p.m.

I just can't compete with crazy. Have a great day.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield December 2, 2011 | 12:32 p.m.

Maybe you guys could debate this over beers at Flat Branch.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.