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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Conference of Mayors, ACORN, and Health Care Reform

Several things have happened today that have put a lot of pieces of the ACORN puzzle together for me. First, I read this piece from Politico. The piece is a sort of inside baseball look at the negotiation process to try and come up with a health care reform bill. Prominently mentioned in this piece is a group known as Health Care For America Now. Here's how they are described in the piece.

A spokesman for Health Care for America Now, a major liberal advocacy organization, said Wednesday that it will not support Conrad's alternative to the public plan because it would not seem to have the bargaining clout to control costs or keep insurers honest.

Conrad said he doesn't really care what they think.

"I am unaware that HCAN has any votes on the floor on the U.S. Senate," Conrad said. "I am dealing with votes in the Finance Committee and the floor of the U.S. Senate. I am frankly not terribly interested in what these myriad groups all think. I am interested in what people who vote think."

When a reporter pointed out that the groups represent the base of the Democratic Party, Conrad questioned their end game.

What isn't mentioned in the piece is that HCAN is one of two hundred or so affiliates of ACORN. In fact, I don't know if the author even knew this. (I emailed her though I haven't had a response yet) HCAN is demanding that the so called public insurance option be included in any final health care bill. They are also planning on running grass roots media campaigns against any Democrat that opposes this option. They can do this since ACORN has a media arm. So, they are ready and willing to use all their media resources to pressure any and all Democratic politicians into backing this public option.

What is the so called public option? It would mean that a government run insurance company would go into the marketplace to compete with private health insurance providers. Essentially, it is a quasi socialist way of running health care. Opponents, like me, would further say that such an option is a back door way to single payer fully government run health care. That's because private health insurance providers can't compete with the unlimited resources of the federal government. Soon enough, they will go bankrupt competing and almost everyone will be covered by the government.

At the same time, I just finished going sort of rogue on a conference call between the Conference of Mayors and ACORN on the topic of foreclosures in our cities. (I als want to point out that was forwarded an email inviting me to the call and I foolishly identified myself as part of ACORN 8. I am not a part of the group though I have spoken off the record with some of its members on background for stories relating to ACORN)

This was a conference call that included Mayor Bloomberg of New York, Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia, as well as Bertha Lewis CEO of ACORN. The topic was a sort of brainstorm of ways that cities can deal with rising foreclosures.

Ms. Lewis highlighted something known as the Philadelphia Mortgage Foreclosure Plan. This is a program that has been started in Philadelphia in which banks are mandated to sit down and mediate with borrowers in default to modify their loans before they are even allowed to foreclose. Ms. Lewis also lamented that Congress didn't pass the so called "cramdown bill". This would have allowed bankruptcy judges to mandate themselves loan modifications for borrowers in bankruptcy.

A loan modification is when struggling borrowers have the terms of their loans modified so that their payments are more affordable. This is a process that I spoke often about. In fact, I correctly predicted that loan modifications would lead to a populist revolt that would pit responsible borrowers against irresponsible. That's exactly what we saw with the Tea Parties which were largely fueled by the Rick Santelli rant against these very loan modifications.

Yet, Ms. Lewis not only supports when cities mandate that loan modifications be forced on banks but that bankruptcy judges be mandated to impose loan modifications in bankruptcy. Now, I won't go into a philosophical debate on loan modifications (you can click any of the links to read my views), but it is without a doubt that support for such measures is indicative of a big government quasi socialist point of view.

Furthermore, everyone from Democratic Mayor Villairagosa to Independent Mayor Bloomberg all thanked Ms. Lewis and ACORN for their efforts on the matter of confronting foreclosures in cities. Of course they did, ACORN cohosted the event.

Let's put all of this into perspective. Not but two weeks ago, Ms. Lewis is on the O'Reilly Factor defending ACORN against charges of embezzlement and a lack of transparency in hiding the books of their accounting arm, Citizen's Consulting Inc. Now, here she is being congratulated by many of the most prominent mayors of this country for her work in the community. The mayors also pointed out that ACORN was ahead of the curve in seeing the problems of exploding foreclosures. That's absolutely correct. This is among the most effective grassroots groups ever created. They know what's going on on the ground because they are on the ground in the middle of it.

This is also a sign of just how effective ACORN is at immersing itself in our political culture and effectively taking over. While they are on the one hand fighting off charges of criminality, their health care arm is being referred to as "representing the base of the Democratic Party". Meanwhile, their CEO can with fluidity move from defending the group against this same criminality on the O'Reilly Factor, to being praised by some of the most powerful mayors in the country within weeks.

The agenda of this group is pretty obvious. They don't really hide it. Whether it is health care, real estate, or jobs, the envision a quasi socialist state. At the same time, they have effectively created a grassroots effort and media campaign that allows the group to have influence over politicians of all stripes in all positions of power.


Anonymous said...

Think it was interesting that the Mayor of ST Louis said that ACORN was working side by side with him to work on the foreclosure mess. I do not think that there is much of an ACORN presence in St.Louis. There is the regional director, with not much to direct. It would be interesting to see how many members there are. So the paid staff is the one doing the "members"work because there are no members, So much for grass roots, more like algae slim.

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