Monday, October 4, 2010

Let's Get Frank About Barney

And, no, I don't mean the purple dinosaur.  I mean Barney Frank (D-MA), the political dinosaur.

According to Wikipedia:  "Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) is the United States House Representative for Massachusetts's 4th congressional district since 1981. He is a member of the Democratic Party. In 1982, he won his first full term, and he has been re-elected ever since by wide margins. In 1987, he became the second openly gay member of the House of Representatives (the first being Gerry Studds) and is one of the most prominent gay politicians in the United States".

But more important is Frank's central involvement with the unraveling of our financial system.  Frank became the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee in 2007 after the Democratic Party won a majority in the House. The committee oversees the entire financial services industry, which includes the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries.

In 2003, the Bush administration  recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis in response to growing concerns about Fannie Mae's role in the real estate bubble. 

Under the plan, a new agency was to be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The plan was an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together had issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt, was broken.  A report by outside investigators  concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics said Fannie Mae did not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.

At the time of the proposal, Barney the dinosaur said:  “These two entities  – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”  Don't you just HATE it when people exaggerate?

Frank, and accomplice Christopher Dodd (D-CT), used their influence over these two financial giants for their own purposes.

In 2008, Freddie gave $20,000 to a Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) event; Fannie Mae gave nearly $19,000 to the same event. Freddie has donated $125,000 and Fannie donated $80,000 to homosexual groups since 2005.)  Dodd, welcomed himself to the trough as well, getting preferential treatment from Countrywide on two mortgages totally $7 million.  Countrywide was one of the biggest subprime providers.

Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd also received thousands of dollars in contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the years.  Dodd has received $133,900 since 1989; Frank received $40,100. (While in the Senate, Barack Obama received $105,849).  Here, piggy piggy!  Soooeeee!

ACORN, the socialist group that routinely engages in voter fraud, was involved in pushing for risky loans to people with bad credit histories, no jobs and no money for down payments.  ACORN pressured banks in Chicago and elsewhere to give risky loans.  Obama actually trained ACORN workers when he was a community organizer in Chicago.  

After winning overwhelming victories in the last 3 decades, Frank is facing his toughest challenge ever.  Some polls show him to be leading by less than 10%. Frank's own polls reveal no threat.  Let's hope his ability to forecast the future of the housing and mortgage sector is as finely tuned as his own internal polling data.

Marko's Take

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