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Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bailout: The Inmates are Running the Asylum

One of the biggest problems for me about this bailout is that most of the same folks on the so called front lines of ignoring and creating this crisis are now in charge of trying to get us out of this crisis. Everyone agrees that many in the Federal government were asleep at the wheel while this happened, and yet, we are now giving them the power to get us out of this. Let's take a look at the players.

1) President George Bush

How long did President Bush tout the all time highs in new home ownership during his Presidency? Well, now we have all seen that this was created on the backs of bad loans, fraudulent loans, and loans to people that should never have been approved. Did he know? Did he care? When Alan Greenspan dropped the Fed Funds Rate below one percent where was President Bush to explain how dangerous this was? When fraudulent loans literally explode where was President Bush to provide oversight? His peformance, or lack thereof, in combating this crisis has been atrocious. Yet, now it will be his administration in charge of creating and rolling out this multi hundred billion dollar bailout plan.

2) Ben Bernanke

Last September he began to furiously drop rates. At the time, the Dollar was already weak. What this furious drop in rates did was weaken an already weak Dollar. This contributed to ballooning oil and commodities prices, and this exploded gas and food prices. His furious reduction in rates did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to combat the weakening economy, failing banks, or growing financial crisis. Then, he stepped in and wore the multi hats of investment banker, rainmaker, and Fed Chairman in making sure that Bear Stearns was bought out in a weekend when normally such a deal would be done in about half a year. This massive usurption of power was supposed to be done because it was necessary. We were supposed to avert crisis as a result of this move. Then, he picked and he chose which financial institutions would die and which would be saved. Then, he suddenly reversed course and said we need a massive bailout. Does this sound like someone who competently knows how to deal with the crisis?

3) Hank Paulson

Here is what Hank Paulson said in May.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday the worst of the credit crisis may have passed but acknowledged that rising gas prices will blunt the effect of 130 million economic stimulus checks.

He ruled out a second stimulus package for now....trio of crisis — housing, credit and financial — have pushed the economy to the edge of a recession. To help cushion the blow, the Bush administration and Congress speedily enacted a $168 billion stimulus package of tax rebates for people and tax breaks for businesses.

So, five months ago, the worst of the crisis, in his opinion, was over. Where has he been for the last five months? What exactly has happened in the interim? We are about to hand $700 billion to buy bad loans to someone who five months earlier didn't see these very loans as creating any further problems. Does this sound like someone who we can trust to do this properly.

4) Chris Dodd and Barney Frank

Both of these guys were in charge of overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They allowed both to not only make their own loans far too aggressive but to stake aggressive positions in even more aggressive Mortgage Backed Securities of sub prime loans. Furthermore, last fall, Barney Frank wasted everyone's time for a month with H.R. 3915. He attempted to remove Yield Spread Premium, a tool of a mortgage broker to make money, and that would have ended the mortgage broker industry. Chris Dodd was the front man on a recently atrocious and corrupt bailout of troubled borrowers. These borrowers would get brand new FHA backed loan at below market rates and even reduced mortgage balances. In other words, borrowers that couldn't pay their loans on time would be rewarded with loans that good borrowers couldn't qualify for. Furthermore, both of them are among the biggest recipients of campaign money from both Fannie and Freddie. Do these two sound like the sort of point men to make sure that this plan is executed properly?

Any sort of massive government plan as this one needs competent leadership. I think we can all see that the leadership on this bill is totally incompetent.

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