July 14, 2008

The Public Trust [Dan Collins]

From Insty Mac comes this tale of populist ethics:

In 2004, after a tip from a whistle blower who was later fired, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (Ofheo) issued a report finding that the government-sponsored entity Fannie Mae had engaged in Enron-like accounting machinations that allowed Fannie to overstate its earnings and underestimate the risk the company faced. The accounting wizardry Fannie engaged in was designed so that Fannie could meet profit targets to maximize bonus payments to company executives like Clinton administration deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick and Carter administration assistant director for domestic policy Franklin Raines.

For years, conservatives have been critical of how Fannie, and Freddie Mac, have leveraged their government-sponsored advantages (including exemptions from state and federal taxes, lower capital requirements, and the ability to borrow at rates well below those paid by private companies), to create a co-monopoly in the housing finance sector. When Fannie’s accounting scandal came to light in 2004, conservatives pushed hard for reforms to phase out Fannie and Freddie. Led by former Walter Mondale and Barack Obama campaign adviser James Johnson, Fannie and Freddie pushed back hard, raising millions of dollars for members of the relevant oversight committees and opening up “Partnership Offices” that funneled money into various housing projects in districts of key members of Congress.

Fannie also bought off activist groups such as the corrupt Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which has been indicted, multiple times across the country, for vote fraud (Obama worked closely with ACORN as a street organizer in Chicago). Fannie’s lobbying efforts paid off as liberal politicians such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. William Clay (D-Mo.) worked to kill any real reform of Freddie and Fannie. The Washington Post reports: “In an internal memo in 2004, Fannie Mae executive Daniel H. Mudd affirmed what the company’s critics had long contended: In the political arena, ‘we always won’ and ‘we took no prisoners.’”

We all have a stake in bailing them out, because . . . well, hell if I know.

Instalanche! wOOt

Posted by Dan Collins @ 7:50pm
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Comments (40)

  1. we are so fortunate that at this time of national peril, a messiah has arisen. and oh, yeah, jamie gorelick is some special kind of scum

  2. Dan, you lying liar. How dare you paint a government agency as corrupt! Off to the gulag with you!

  3. gorelick is also connected to suing the Duke lawyer webiste or something, but in any event, jamie gorelick has popped up in almost everything bad that has happened including her damn stupid wall.

  4. In what will surely rate as the least surprising development of the civil case, Judge James Beatty has rejected the Duke demand to sanction the unindicted lacrosse players’ attorneys and close the Duke Lawsuit website.

    gorelick is representing Duke.

    via durhamwonderland

  5. Gorelick seems to destroy everything she touches. Kind of like what happens to communities what Baracky organizes.

  6. via the WSJ link

    There were many moments of high entertainment during last week’s House hearings on Fannie Mae’s creative accounting. But our favorite was the Mister Magoo performance given by Barney Frank (D., Massachusetts) after learning that Fannie had handed out $245 million in bonuses over five years. Mr. Frank chided Fannie CEO Frank Raines and CFO Tim Howard, saying, “At the level of compensation you get, we ought to be able to count on you to do your very best without additional incentives.”

    …Maxine Waters (D., California) cooed all over Mr. Raines, and Clay Lacy (D., Missouri) played the race card by calling the hearings a “political lynching” of Mr. Raines, who is African-American. Are CEOs not supposed to be accountable simply because they’re persons of color? By the way, Roger Barnes, the whistle-blower who was fired by Fannie after complaining about its accounting procedures, is also black. In a more consistent world — where political principles mean something — these liberals would be scorching a company that used a government subsidy to enrich its own executives. Instead, they’re defending it.

    …And, aside from the evidence that Fannie was cooking its books to trigger big bonuses, there’s also the issue of performance. Mr. Raines’s 2003 compensation was over $20 million. That’s about $14 million more than the median for CEOs of very large companies. What did Mr. Raines do to deserve this giant sum? Not much. In the five years that Mr. Raines has been at the helm, Fannie’s cumulative shareholder return, including reinvested dividends, has been 4% compared with the 23% achieved by the S&P financial sector.

    Democrats and their BIG MORTGAGE!

    and that was back in 2003

    APRIL 03, 2008

    Chevron Corp. chairman and CEO David O’Reilly received a package valued at $15.7 million. This 17-percent increase in compensation accompanied the dramatic rise in oil prices.

    Andrea Jung, chairman and CEO of Avon Products Inc., received total compensation in 2007 for approximately $11.16 million, a 14-percent increase in salary from the previous year.

    Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren took home $14.4M in 2007 despite a $2.5 million cut in his cash payout. Lundgren’s compensation in 2007 decreased 11-percent from the previous year. Due to a decline in sales and profits, he collected no bonus payout in 2007.

  7. JD – I agree. Her name comes up with regard to so many things that are either wrong or corrupt.

  8. Gorelick seems to destroy everything she touches. Kind of like what happens to communities what Baracky organizes.

    Or companies managed by Carly Fiorina. Who is now working for McCain.

    Sigh.

  9. Sort of a female Frank Lorenzo?

  10. I know Fiorina was dumped by HP, but I think her most controversial move – the acquisition of Compaq – worked out quite nicely. Or am I full of shit again?

  11. Gorelick. Isn’t she shortlisted for Rushmore, somewhere in the Obama platform?

    On a more serious note, I tried to explain Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the wife, and maybe discuss some subjects we could bring up with our financial planner when we call him Wednesday.

    I couldn’t get anything out. I’m just tired of trying to make jokes about national suicide.

    We are a joke, when you get past the suits, the media, and the pop culture.

    What happened to the people who built the railroads, settled the plains, beat the Nazis?

    We beat the Sovs… well, they suicided. Never saw the Reds get the knife in to the hilt and twist though.

    Obama. Gorelick. Ayres. Wright. Gore.

    Have a fine one.

  12. Glad you posted this, as I missed it at Insty.

    Heritage really ought to set up some shell entities — like the Center for Soros’s Proggness — does to get their stuff out more effectively. They could call it ThinkHeritage.

  13. What happened to the people who built the railroads, settled the plains, beat the Nazis?

    They were as venal, vain, nasty, and silly as any other humans. And in their time were deplored, lampooned, etc.

    Their descendants built Apple and Microsoft. Their descendants are taking the fight to the enemy today.

    The passage of time blurs all of the bad things that actually happened alongside the glorious things. The humans of our past were humans like us. For example, the Continental Congress produced the Declaration of Independence. But do not think it was all selfless patriotism where they debated and worked. Their treatment of men like Anthony Wayne was awful.

    How much grief did Lincoln take?

    Fortunately, our enemies are also made up of humans, and act just the same way to each other.

  14. Why so many Democrats in corruption scandals? Because that’s how they think the world works.

    You say freedom, they think “license.” Which is why they keep denigrating cries for freedom or paeans to success – they view the very concepts as inherently corrupt, which is why, when they do get power, they screw it up.

    It’s not that Republicans never screw up, far from it. It’s just that it isn’t the basis of their philosophy.

  15. Which is why to screw-ups in the GOP get thrown under the bus when they’re exposed, while the Democrats circle the wagons.

  16. “We all have a stake in bailing them out, because . . . well, hell if I know.”

    Perhaps it’s because ‘we’re all God’s children’ responsible for bailing out the corrupt who are entitled to break laws by claiming theft is the only justice wealth and power can offer in serving the poor.

    “Thou shall not steal” has now become “Steal from your neighbor in the name of serving God’s children”.

    This is what happens when The Word is corrupted by those who ignore natural law; the Government is God and we are Serfs.

  17. Perhaps it’s because ‘we’re all God’s children’ responsible for bailing out the corrupt who are entitled to break laws

    Hey, now! You can’t point out corruption without making yourself at least as corrupt.

    Just ask SEK.

  18. Oh. And here I was thinking the government was Gargamel.

  19. Is there nobody that can squash these germs?

    Gore, Garelick, Obama, Lay, and who knows how many other selfish infants, are destroying this country for their own personal gain.

    Jeebus! How much fucking money does a person need? $200,000,000 a year? Yeah, right. How could anyone be happy with less than $200,000,000 a year? What is happening is a fucking nightmare of greed gone wild.

    Asshats. One and all, regardless of political affiliation.

    I guess I am just too old to understand the new millenium “FUCK EVERYBODY ELSE” ethic. With people like this in positions of power, we are screaming down from 40,000 feet without a parachute, and no amount of intellectual bullshit will change that fact. This country , unfortunately, is well on it’s way to a face plant.

    And apparently, no shred of shame even exists for the greedy motherfuckers who are pushing us off the cliff.

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  21. “We all have a stake in bailing them out, because . . . well, hell if I know.”

    I put a piece of my 401K into Fidelity Banking fund a couple months ago, thinking the worst was over. Since then, Freddy and Fannie are resposible for most of the money I’ve lost in this fund. So, I do have a stake and probably a lot of pension funds do, also.

  22. We all have a stake in bailing them out, because . . . well, hell if I know.

    I’m against bailouts on principle, but if it turns out they need it we’ll have to bail out the FMs. They’re so damn big that if they truly failed the entire US mortgage market would definitely crash with them and probably drag the rest of the credit market down with them. We’d end up in a genuine depression if they crashed.

  23. Any bailout should be conditional upon reform. Not a penny until things change. I agree with SeanH: we may need to bail them out due to their size, but the fact that they had such powers to do things like this was unacceptable.

  24. “I’m against bailouts on principle, but if it turns out they need it we’ll have to bail out the FMs. They’re so damn big that if they truly failed the entire US mortgage market would definitely crash with them and probably drag the rest of the credit market down with them. We’d end up in a genuine depression if they crashed.”

    I’m in complete agreement. Fannie and Freddie are not Enron in significance, to the stability of our nation. If they go under we will reach, most likely, a deep recession. Possibly, something akin to a 1930s scenario. Inflation, unemployment and taxes would skyrocket. And the consequences would be global.

  25. I wouldn’t mind a depression, at least for a while.

    Then maybe I could buy for $100K a house I’ve been eying that has been listed for 6-8 times that.

    People who are prudent should get things their way once in a while.

  26. I worry about the concept of “too important to let them fail.” What if we try very hard ($$$$$) and they still fail? Are we in a better or worse position at that point?

    I want a discussion of “If they fail w/o help, scenario A. If bailout is provided and they still fail, scenario B.”

  27. “I wouldn’t mind a depression, at least for a while.

    “Then maybe I could buy for $100K a house I’ve been eying that has been listed for 6-8 times that.

    “People who are prudent should get things their way once in a while.”

    Well this is assuming you would one of the fortunate ones who would have work and an income producing future, instead of standing in a line for rations.

  28. this is assuming you would one of the fortunate ones who would have work and an income

    What, is work handed out like a lottery, regardless of skill and experience?

  29. You don’t understand 5 trillion worth of assets and all that is dependent. Almost every industry with the possible exception of medical/health is related. It would mean most likely, millions out of work as a consequence. Lottery has noting to do with it.

  30. If the US taxpayer has to pay $5T to bail out Freddie and Fannie then I am going to sit on my ass and not pay a dime of income tax until it’s over. I not too eager to foot the bill for Obama’s ‘changes’ anyway.

  31. I’m sorry, Steevo, but you’re saying that we ought to allow ourselves to be blackmailed.

    Are you going to insist all those windfall brokers fees and executive compensation packages be returned? Or is it just stick it to the responsible little guy time?

  32. I don’t want any bailout for Fannie Mae until the GD DOJ and all other non-partison Oversights do an investigation of Johnson, Gorelick and all the big bonus stealers. ENOUGH OF THESE CROOKS!

  33. Dan I’m just giving you an idea of the consequences if these 2 institutions become insolvent. They have literally become pillars of our nation and have been allowed to go unchecked by many responsible elected to office. I’m largely a libertarian/conservative and no fan of big government but if they fail this one will change the landscape of our country for a long time. Just be honest with yourself and understand this is not Enron, OK?

  34. Oh, I understand that. I also understand capital flight. And I see that you use “responsible” figuretively, as well.

    My gut feeling is that it will be even more expensive to bail them out than not to, in a variety of ways not limited to the strictly economic considerations. I could be wrong.

  35. And you could be right.

    Btw capital flight might not be so easy in the event of their collapse.

  36. Or is it just stick it to the responsible little guy time?

    When is it not that time?

  37. If the GOP plays this right, this could unravel Obama’s candidacy. I don’t think the GOP will, so it will become Obama’s version of Teapot Dome (remember that?!) after he’s elected.

    Nutcracker depression? Hell, I’m a pharmacist, and as someone mentioned above, I’d wouldn’t mind the chance to buy that $75K house on my block – you know, the one that lists for $400K right now.

    As for the housing market: F&ck ‘em, bucky!

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  39. These goddamn dumbass politicians and GSEs can kiss my fuckin ass, after spending 10 goddamn years building a real estate appraisal business, I have been undercut, kneecapped, and thrown under the bus because of FNMAs bullshit with WAMU and Eappraisit collusion on real estate appraisals and fraudulent practices. To save face for FNMA and Freddie I have to take a 30-35% pay cut on my appraisal fees. I have appraised real estate for 11 years, I have NOT become rich, I merely make a living. This cocksucking SOB, to cover FNMAs crooked ass is putting me out of business. I would like to meet the bastard someday, and beat the living shit out of him, it could happen. Fuck him, fuck FNMA, fuck the Federal Government for allowing these bastards to blame the mortgage bullshit on me. I say today, I didn’t have a goddamn thing to do with the unravelling of the subprime mortgage industry, however, I wish I had been on that end of it, I would have made all the goddamn money I would need in a lifetime, instead of being the scapegoat for the greedy cocksuckers in the government, banking, mortgage,etc.

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