Now that the US Senate has loaded up the 2008 financial rescue package with additional tax ‘extenders’ and increased the size of the Bill to 441 pages at a price tag of One Trillion dollars, it was the Democrat Majority in the US House who passed the “bail out bill”. Over the past two weeks the US markets have been volatile, the credit markets hobbled and various experts scrambling to figure out exactly how we got here. But the historical record is clear, the US Congress, particularly the Democratic members, have had their fingerprints on legislation to advocate a greater government role in housing and related targeted loan guidelines. In fact, in 1994 Barack Obama (note his long time affiliation with ACORN) sued Citibank under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to legally pressure a leading US Bank to make risky mortgage loans. (More below)
Back in 2003, when some Republican members of Congress (who were in the Majority at that time), expressed concern about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the Democrats rose to defend the government role in risky loans. In the words of the esteemed Member of Congress, and chairman of the US House Financial Services committee Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.): I worry, frankly, that there's a tension here. The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities (Freddie & Fannie) that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disaster scenarios . . . .
Oops! It looks like Representative Frank was exactly wrong. For more on what the members of Congress said 5 years ago http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122290574391296381.html
Where did the Congressional fingerprints start? In the beginning was the word, or in this case legislation passed by the US Congress.
During the administration of Jimmy Carter and a Democratically controlled Congress, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was signed into law in 1977. This started the ball rolling whereby the government began to require banks to make loans for social engineering purposes. For more info on the CRA legislation, impact on the housing and mortgage lending in the US, see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Reinvestment_Act
So how did community organizers, like Barack Obama, use the CRA as a way to leverage their agenda? Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk show host, put it this way in his early October 2008 show: "That has provided an opening to radical groups like ACORN ... to abuse the law by forcing banks to make hundreds of millions of dollars in 'sub prime' loans to often uncreditworthy poor and minority customers. Any bank that wants to expand or merge with another has to show it has complied with [these community redevelopment things] -- and approval can be held up by complaints filed by groups like ACORN. In fact, intimidation tactics, public charges of racism and threats to use CRA to block business expansion have enabled ACORN to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and contributions from America's financial institutions." Think of ACORN as a thousand Jesse Jacksons, in terms of shaking down companies and institutions.
In the mid 1990’s, Democratic President Bill Clinton weighed in by expanding the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) roles in the housing marketing. From the initial elimination red lining in targeted neighborhoods (a practice by banks that was less risky for underwriting but not socially acceptable in liberal circles) set forth in the CRA in 1970’s, the movement in Congress was to ramp up mortgage lending to targeted neighborhoods and populations (lower income, minorities and substandard housing). Social policies of home ownership were pushed onto the banking system using Freddie and Fannie (GSE’s), through lessening of credit standards and pressuring banks through community organizations like Accorn.
Ed Lasky, a blogger with American Thinker www.americanthinker.com on October 4, 2008 noted: Nine years ago (1999), Steven Holmes of the New York Times wrote admiringly of the way Bill Clinton and the Democrats could claim credit for "Eas[ing] Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending." It amounts to a map of how Bill Clinton and Democrats created this crisis.
In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.
The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring. NYT, 1999.
According to conservative research (see TownHall at www.townhall.com)
and Media Circus www.mediacircus.com) Barack Obama, as a left wing activist attorney sued Citibank under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in 1994. This lawsuit, which was settled by Citibank, is part of the legal underpinning to force banks to make poor mortgage loans in order to meet CRA requirements Here is the direct link on the details: www.MediaCircus.com/2008/10/obama-sued-citibank-under-cra-to-force-it-to-make-bad-loans
Social justice (ACORN) plus fiscal liberals in Congress equals risky mortgage polices resulting in a US government bailout. Another experiment in government responsibility superceding personal responsibility, resulting in the Federal government stepping back in with taxpayer dollars (2008 Rescue package passed by Democrat majority House on October 3, 2008) to fix the mess. And to realize that Barack Obama was one of those who pushed for this social engineering at the taxpayer expense. No wonder he had a “hands off” approach during the crisis, and preferred to stay on the campaign trail as long as possible, while blaming Wall Street “fat cats” for the mortgage loan crisis.
© 2008, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media, www.jasperwelch.org