Have We Passed The Point Of Being Able To Have A Serious Discussion Of Issues?

On Friday, The Daily Signal posted an article that provides some background information on Stacey Abrams.

These are some basic facts about Ms. Abrams listed in the article:

1. She ‘Wouldn’t Oppose’ Noncitizen Voting  –  she did support the idea of non-citizens voting to local elections, but the fact remains that people who are here illegally are breaking the law and should not have voting rights.

2. She Wants to Turn Georgia Blue – that’s not all that unusual, but her approach in somewhat interesting.

3. She Wants to Promote ‘Race and Gender’ Issues – has anyone else noticed that promoting race and gender issues divides us rather than unites us?

4. She Was Endorsed by Planned Parenthood – just for the record, Planned Parenthood receives on average approximately $500 million a year in taxpayer funds. How much of that money is essentially laundered and spent on campaign contributions?

5. She Is ‘Sick and Tired’ of Free Market Role in Health Care – actually health care worked very well until the government got involved – people were taken care of and the cost was not prohibitive.

6. She Says ‘Liberal’ Is a Good Word – that is her privilege.

7. She Says the AR-15 Doesn’t Belong in Civilian Hands – Don’t look for her to support the Second Amendment.

And finally:

8. She Is a ‘Romance’ Novelist – she writes sexually explicit romance novels under the name of Selena Montgomery.

The comments in bold type are from the article. Other comments are mine.

This is the person the Democrats have chosen to respond to the State of the Union address.

A New Face

The Washington Times reported on Thursday that Kathy Kraninger has been confirmed as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and will serve for the next five years.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile the CFPB is still facing major legal hurdles.

Some federal judges have ruled that by placing so much power — including an independent budget that Congress doesn’t control — in a single director, the CFPB violates the Constitution. But a ruling earlier this year by the full U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the singe-director structure.

Let’s take a look at the inception of the CFPB. The CFPB is the brainchild of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. It was passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act was Congress’ way of dealing with the housing bubble that caused the recession of 2008. However, the congressional solution was aimed at banks and Wall Street. It made no mention of the role that Congress had played in creating the housing crisis and made no effort to take responsibility for their actions or prevent a repeat of the problem.

In 1995 The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was changed, allowing Fannie Mae to purchase $2 billion of “My Community Mortgage” Loans, pilot vendors to customize affordable products for low and moderate income borrowers. Some of the things done to make the loans more affordable were low (or no) down payments and variable interest rates. Fannie Mae guarantees mortgages and then sells them to banks and investors. Banks were forced to issue sub-prime mortgages or pay large penalties. As more people took out mortgages, the price of houses rose quickly.  In 2005, 91 percent of Fannie Mae loans were variable rate loans. In 2004, 92 percent of Fannie Mae subprime loans were variable rate loans. Interest rates rose, gas prices increased, and people could not pay their mortgages. The subprime market collapsed, and foreclosures increased rapidly. Banks stopped making mortgage loans.

There were efforts made to stop this train. On September 11, 2003, The New York Times reported:

Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

…a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision  on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The Democrats opposed the reform. Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said that it would mean less affordable housing. Melvin Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, said that it would limit the ability of poor families to get affordable housing.

In 2005, John McCain warned of a coming mortgage collapse. He sponsored S.190 (109th), Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005. The Democrats blocked it. It was again brought up and blocked in 2007.

Opensecrets.org lists campaign contributions to politicians. Fannie Mae gave generously to insure that it would not be regulated. Some Democrats and Fannie Mae executives had ‘sweetheart’ loans from mortgage companies that were heavily involved in sub-prime mortgages.

So where am I going with this? The housing bubble was created by bad legislation. Bad legislation continues. In August 2016, The New York Post reported:

The Obama administration is doing its best to give the nation another mortgage meltdown.

As Paul Sperry recently noted in The Post, Team Obama has pushed mortgage lenders to offer home loans to folks with shaky credit, setting up conditions for another housing-market collapse.

Wasn’t the last one bad enough?

Credit scores of approved borrowers, for example, have been trending down, even as their debt levels have grown.

The Federal Housing Administration and government-sponsored “independent” lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been demanding lower credit standards — just as the feds did starting under President Bill Clinton, in pursuit of the same “affordable housing” goal.

Some borrowers need only put 3 percent down to get a Fannie Mae loan — even if the downpayment is a gift. Fannie also has started up a new subprime lending program.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently warned that mortgage underwriting standards have slipped and now reflect “broad trends similar to those experienced from 2005 through 2007, before the most recent financial crisis.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Board (and Dodd-Frank) were not related to the cause of the 2008 recession–the recession was the result of bad laws. Both the CFPB and Dodd-Frank need to go away. They are nothing but a blatant example of government overreach.

Well, We Know Where Some Of The Money Went

One of my pet peeves is campaign contributions by groups that receive grants from the government. This provides an incentive for Congress and the President to encourage these grants–they know it will free up money within whatever organization is involved to be used for campaign contributions. I am not for taking the money out of politics–that will always be there, but I for prohibiting groups (nonprofit or otherwise) that take money from the government from making campaign contributions to candidates or PACs.

The following is an example of my reasoning. Lifezette posted a story on October 10th about campaign donations made by Planned Parenthood.

The article reports:

Planned Parenthood is investing $30 million to make sure the nation’s most famous abortion activist takes over the White House.

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund Political Action Committee is hiring 800 professional canvassers and organizing 3,500 volunteers to get Hillary Clinton‘s message out in Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and other key states.

According to CNS News, Planned Parenthood received $540.6 million–was provided by taxpayer-funded government health services grants in fiscal year 2013. That represented about 45 percent of their revenue. I have no problem with employees giving time and money to whatever cause they choose, but organizations that take taxpayer money should not be allowed to make campaign contributions. To me, that seems like basic common sense.

Where The Money Really Is

On Monday, The Hill posted an article about some of the Congressional campaign funding this year. Democrats in the House of Representatives are complaining that their usual sources of campaign funding had dried up because outside organizations are funding Senate campaigns rather than House campaigns.

The article reports:

According to public data compiled by a Democratic source tracking outside spending, liberal coalitions — labor, green and women’s groups — have spent $18 million less than what they invested in 2012. 

The biggest drop-off is in labor. 

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spent $8.3 million in 2012 to help House Democrats, but has only spent $181,500 in independent expenditures on House races this year. 

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Afscme) also pitched in $6.3 million two years ago, but has only spent $612,000 to help House candidates so far in this cycle.

Both labor groups declined to comment.

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) — which spent $4.2 million on House races in 2012 but just $1.1 million so far this year — admitted that, like other liberal groups, its focus has been elsewhere.

“We made a decision very early on that protecting the Senate firewall was our top priority,” LCV spokesman Jeff Gohringer told The Hill.

I thought that the Republicans were supposed to have all the outside money.

The article further reports:

Republicans argue Democrats have consistently outraised them throughout the 2014 cycle, have outspent them in the most competitive House contests, and are just setting up their post-election blame game. 

In August, the GOP committee brought in $4 million compared to the DCCC’s $10 million, and ended the month with $46 million in the bank compared to Democrats’ $55 million.

The well-heeled House Majority PAC has $21.4 million in ad reservations through Election Day, according to a Republican tracking ad buys, while the main GOP House outside group, American Action Network and its sister super-PAC Congressional Leadership Fund, have laid down $8 million for October. American Crossroads, also focused on the Senate, is playing in just one House race, Arkansas’s open 2nd District.

I hare to be cynical about this, but does anyone else remember that the security on the website that raised money for President Obama was disabled so that contributions from overseas could be accepted? Money will always be a major part of American politics, which is not my favorite fact, but one does occasionally wonder how much of this money comes from questionable sources.

At Least He Is Consistent

The Associated Press reported yesterday that during the month of June, President Obama’s campaign spent more than it collected. President Obama has been running the federal budget that way since he took office. Unfortunately he didn’t start with a surplus, so we are deeply in debt as a nation due to his spending.

The article reports:

June was the second consecutive month in which Romney brought in more money than Obama, finance reports filed Friday show. Romney’s money advantage prompted Obama’s campaign advisers to warn earlier this month that the president could lose the election if the financial disparity continued.

There is a little confusion in the above statement about the concept of cause and effect. If President Obama loses the election, it will not be because of the financial disparity–the financial disparity will instead be the result of waning support among the people who voted for the President in 2008.

According to the article, President Obama still has more money in the campaign bank than Governor Romney. The concern is that if the fund raising disparity continues, that money will soon be exhausted.

The Associated Press article leaves out a few facts. Many of President Obama’s donors give less than $200. Their donations do not have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission. Because the software on the President’s campaign website to prevent fraudulent and illegal contributions has been disabled, foreign donations are accepted. This was also the case in the 2008 election.

Power Line reported in April:

Urgent Agenda reader Adrian Murray wondered if the Obama campaign has become any more compliant this time around than it was last time. He conducted the necessary experiment and wrote Urgent Agenda proprietor Bill Katz.

Adrian Murray then attempted the following donation to the Obama campaign:

Name – Adolph Hitler
Address – 123 Nuremburg Way, Berlin, Germany
Occupation – Dictator
Employer – Nazi Party

After submitting, I received an email that began, “Dear Adolph, thank you for your generous donation….”

I then went to the Romney and Santorum websites and tried the same thing. Both rejected the donations with a message that the address could not be verified as belonging to the card holder.

Next time you hear the Obama campaign brag that their donations are mostly in small amounts, remember this!