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Maybe there’s a reason it’s called FOX News September 1, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Economy, Greed, Justice, Politics.
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I see that former Wachovia Corp. Chief Executive Officer Robert Steel is telling the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission today that he was told by FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair in late Setptember, 2008 to find a dance partner with something left in its pockets, because the mortgage crap it was holding threatened the U.S. banking system.

This Bloomberg News story tells the early tale. Make particular note of this:

Steel, the former U.S. Treasury Department and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive, was brought in to lead Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia in 2008 as the lender struggled to recover from the aftermath of its $24 billion purchase of Golden West Financial Corp. The deal saddled Wachovia with about $120 billion of adjustable-rate mortgages that allowed borrowers to skip some interest payments and add them to the loan balance. The concept assumed home prices would go up. Instead, the idea backfired when prices fell, leaving borrowers with mortgages that exceeded the value of their homes and Wachovia with mounting losses.

That’s $120 billion in garbage interest-only and other high-risk mortgages created by the bankers in California to pump new money into the superheated real estate market driven by flippers and other speculators. BIG NOTE: This was not done by government; it was done by the private sector, at the end stage aided and abetted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also at the time privately held and run by financial industry veterans.

So please don’t swallow the myth being spun — and heavily marketed by Wall Street — that the bubble slime on all of US was OUR fault because of actions by OUR government. It’s just not true.

Sure, many of US were sucked into the interest-only crap, or steered into liar loans.  And many of US benefited from the housing boom, which put a lot of people to work for a very long time making houses, selling houses and producing all the materials that went into what was a major part of the U.S. economy for two decades.

That’s almost all gone now folks — and no amount of “tax cuts” and “getting government off our backs” is going to bring it back. Something else must be built to take its place, and that’s a whole lot harder and will take a long time. Everyone running for Congress needs to explain in detail how they plan to make that rebuilding happen.

We all should watch what is said before this commission and make sure this story is told fully, extensively — and accurately.

Because what all fell down in September 2008 — and the people who made that happen and reasons for it — is why we still are struggling today — and will for the next five years — to rebuild our economy.

And it wasn’t our fault;  it wasn’t our government’s fault. It was the fault of recklessness, greed and fraud by private industry leadership. And many of those foxes want to be put back in charge of the hen house.


Independence seems the key word here March 1, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Economy.
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I’ve kind of cottoned to FDIC Chair Sheila Bair as the whole financial world ducked down the rabbit hole and then popped back out all shiny fresh and clean as a hound’s tooth, seemingly little worse for wear. (Alas! Poor Lehman! We hardly knew ya.)

She may be the last voice arguing for an independent consumer financial protection agency to look out specifically for consumers as we move forward with cards, loans, mortgages, IRAs and all the other financial instruments people we hardly know push under our noses, many times when we are not in the best of circumstances. She went to bat for this idea again today.

I’m not sure where I come down on this, but I sense that if  I had to make a choice I’d opt for an independent cop on the beat, not a “bureau” down the hall from where the boys are huddling over what’s best for the global financial system.

So I am just left with the feeling that if anyone down there is looking out for me, it’s Sheila. Not that she’s right, necessarily, because this is way out of my pay grade. Maybe it’s just the way they seem to just want her to go away and stop fussing over what Dodd and the GOP are workin’ up on this one.