The writer of this corner looks back over the last six or seven decades, then contemplates what he has learned from the history books and comes to the conclusion that this country is more poorly led now than at any time in its history with respect to the Congress. There have been times when the nation has been poorly led but with the justified excuse that the lawmakers at those times had nothing like the resources available (historically, technically) to the leaders of today to use in coping with the grave responsibilities of governance. It's a given, of course, that corruption always has its place, no matter the era.
The so-called financial crisis is the best current proof that this country's Congress is either collectively as dumb as a gourd, on the take constantly from lobbyists, etc., or simply doesn't give a fig about its constitutional mandates, which its members have sworn to obey in maintaining the welfare of the populace, instead of manipulating it for whatever purpose. It's been obvious for a number of years, as borne out in a plethora of congressional hearings, as well as recounted by experts in/or counseling the media, that the country has been headed toward this catastrophe; yet, despite its pompous and oft-repeated blabbering regarding the importance of its oversight responsibilities, Congress, after enacting it years ago (something for nothing concept), has allowed the current mess to happen.
This is from the New York Times of 11 September 2003: "The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago. Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would 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." President Bush early in his administration recognized the problem but was stiffed by his own dimwitted Congress in doing anything about it.
This is from the New York Times of 30 September 1999: "Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits. In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called sub-prime borrowers." In other words, a quasi-governmental agency was being virtually coerced to handle (guarantee) loans that ultimately would go into default, with the U.S taxpayer being the patsy.
Some of the most damning democratic demagoguing concerning the current Fannie Mae fiasco that has brought the financial markets to the brink occurred in a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee in 2004, with the video available on the Internet. The democrats actually tried to lynch the regulator who was trying to move them toward a resolution of the problem eventuating in the current mess. New York Representative Gregory Meeks actually made a jackass of himself in the process, is still on the committee, and should be forced to watch that video ten times a day. Indeed, everyone should watch Meeks's histrionics at least once to understand that buffoons actually make it into Congress.
Committee member Maxine Waters – still on the committee – seemed determined in 2004 to convince everyone that Fannie Mae Chairman Franklin Raines was the greatest thing since both sliced bread and peanut butter. Raines was finally forced out of his job because of a $6.3 billion accounting scandal (cooking the books), but not until he had reamed the agency in less than seven years for a cool $91 million, a very golden parachute. Strangely, he's not in some federal prison. Instead, this tinhorn crook served as an Obama adviser during the campaign. Waters and Meeks, both African Americans, like Raines, turned the whole thing into a racial opportunity. To their credit, the republicans in this video tried to make some sense, but political correctness damned their efforts, as is the case today.
For his part in 2004, member Barney Frank could find nothing wrong. Now, as chairman of that same committee, he's blustering and bumbling all over the place and blaming republicans for not fixing something he helped destroy. He said unequivocally that there was absolutely nothing wrong with Fannie/Freddie. Ironically, Senator Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and also a recent presidential contender, reaped a windfall from Countrywide, the defunct mortgage monster. Over the terms of his sugar-stick loans, he could make $75,000. Now, he sits like a toad on a palm frond in a stinking pond, like Frank, holding hearings about problems he and Frank could have prevented.
The republicans ran both houses of Congress until 2007, so they're entirely complicit in the current mess. Many if not most of them still sit on their respective committees and share the blame equally, even though the regulators to whom they apparently turned a deaf ear operated in a republican administration. Indeed, three of the finalists in the recent campaigns – Obama, Biden, McCain – were all in the Senate while Freddy/Fannie hurtled toward the wreck, which eventuated in the destruction of everything.
Predictably, when the panic-mongers began wringing their hands lately about what to do, the Congress heaved heavily and delivered itself of an act giving $700 billion to the Secretary of the Treasury to just DO SOMETHING. So...he began buying the government into the banking systems, which used the money for their own purposes, not the least of which involved acquisitions and golden parachutes. Now, both the current and incoming administrations are again throwing out numbers in the billions (actually trillions) for the taxpayers to cough up to clean up the mess caused primarily by a Congress either fast asleep or as high as a kite on something. Actually, the numbers mean nothing because none of the above, including Obama and his gang, has the remotest idea of what to do, except to conduct massive giveaways...paid by somebody else, of course. Just print the money until the bottom busts.
This is so disgusting. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff, said this recently: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." That about says it all. The Clintons – with Emanuel as part of that administration – could not achieve their socialistic goals because there wasn't an invaluable "serious crisis." What Emanuel means is simply that now, with the government taking over everything from banks to auto plants and handing out the peons' money to the peons, the time is ripe to supplant the free enterprise system with socialism. Both the administration and the Congress are in the hands of the democrats now...so, will they bite the bullet and maintain the system that has made this country the envy of the world...or sink it into the cesspool of socialism...with everyone placed on the level of the lowest common denominator...except the power-brokers, of course?