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Peace in the Meltdown

My friend David has a wonderful post this morning. He points out the fundamental need to trust Christ during the storms of life. It is significant to me that for many, the primary storm they recognize is financial.

“The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” c 1633, by Rembrandt van Rijn.

Mark 4:35-41: “On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Therein lies the question for us to ponder: “Why are you so afraid?  Have you still no faith?”

I awoke this morning at 4:00.  I have to be honest with you, I am wondering where the bottom of this financial mess is.  Certainly no one saw this storm coming. I knew a storm was coming, but not this storm.

It seems to me that this is the perfect picture and verse for us to consider at these times.

Turn your eyes to Jesus, the one true rock … and read David’s blog.

A Boomer in the Pew: Falling Stock Markets, $700 Billion Bailouts, and Jesus Christ.

AIG Needs $38 Billion More

We just loaned them $85 Billion. But that wasn’t enough.

Everyone. Together now. “I told you so!

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it was lending billions of additional funds to cash-strapped American International Group Inc.

Under the program, the New York Federal Reserve Bank will provide $37.8 billion in additional cash to certain domestic life insurance subsidiaries of AIG  in return for investment-grade, fixed-income securities.

AIG already has an $85 billion line of credit with the Fed. As of last week, AIG had used $60 billion of this loan, according to Fed data.

This new program will allow AIG to replenish liquidity, the Fed said. At the same time, the securities will provide enhanced protection to U.S. taxpayers, the central bank said.

These big wigs spent over $440,000 on a party when they got the first loan. No telling how much they will spend now.
Take a look at:

Democrats Won't Hold Hearings On Fannie – Yet

It looks like Waxman and the Democrats are trying to downplay their role in the subprime debacle. It is time for all the cards to be placed on the table and let the chips fall where they may. Democrats, Republicans, insiders, outsiders. Whatever!

Whoever is as fault for this should be prosecuted and publically, and pilitcally, humiliated. This is the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and our politicians are doing what they do best. Play politics.

“Any hearing on oversight that does not begin with Fannie and Freddie and [former Fannie Mae CEO] Franklin Raines will be a sham,” said Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.). “This is like investigating a train robbery and only talking to the dining car stewards.”

The GOP attack from the dais came as the National Republican Campaign Committee and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent nearly simultaneous news releases criticizing Fannie and Freddie.

Boehner’s statement echoed Mica’s, saying, “Chairman Waxman’s refusal to hold hearings to examine their role says a lot about where the Democrats’ priorities lie.”

TheHill.com.

All Criticism is Racism

Hot Air has a wonderful take on Barney Frank. He is such an endless supply of inane stupidity.

Barney Frank’s latest defense of Congress over the financial meltdown could be predicted based on the success of Barack Obama’s campaign in using the same defense.  According to Rep. Frank, any attempt to pin the blame for the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the activities of both, as well as Congressional policy that fueled it, is now officially racist.  Frank says conservatives want to blame minorities for the collapse:

Frank charged that conservatives aim to shift blame for the market meltdown away from Wall Street and toward minority-lending laws like the federal Community Reinvestment Act.

“The bizarre notion that the Community Reinvestment Act . . . somehow is the cause of the whole problem, (conservatives) don’t mind that,” the lawmaker said. “They’re aware that the affordable-housing goals of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (and) the Community Reinvestment Act (aim to help) poor people. And let’s be honest, the fact that some poor people are black doesn’t hurt either from their standpoint.”

Let’s keep score.  Criticizing Obama means we’re racists.  Criticizing Congress means we’re racists.  Getting angry at Congress for pushing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into buying bad loans and infecting the entire financial system with essentially fraudulent paper — at a cost of up to $700 billion in taxpayer money and potentially trillions in lost investments — means we’re racists.

The CRA was only a small part of the cause of the collapse.  It affected loans only at the margins.  The Clinton administration opted for more aggressive enforcement, and “community organizers” like ACORN used that to file nuisance complaints that could keep banks from merging and acquiring other banks.  That may have pushed lenders into lowering standards on a handful of loans, but only to enough of an extent to avoid government sanctions.

In that sense, the CRA is a bit of a red herring.  The real cause of the collapse was the Congressional push for Fannie and Freddie to support subprime lending by purchasing the paper from lenders, which is related to the same policies that generated the CRA but isn’t the CRA itself.  Lenders make money one of two ways: keeping the paper themselves and getting the interest over the term of the loan, or selling the paper to someone else for a guaranteed short-term profit.  When Fannie and Freddie began buying all of this paper, they created a huge demand for subprime loans — and lenders responded by offering easy money to almost anyone who applied.  They threw out income requirements and equity thresholds (such as down payments) and generated tremendous short-term profits for themselves … while Fannie and Freddie assumed all the long-term risk.

Frank: Criticism of Congress is now racist, too.

The Blame Game

The Democrats have been denying that they are the primary cause of the Fannie and Freddie fiascos. Even Bill Clinton admits that there needed to be greater regulatory controls and key Dems consistently fought against them. Listen to Cal Thomas:

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi took to the floor of the House on Monday to blame Republicans for the financial turmoil and charge them with a laissez-fare attitude toward regulation, it seemed like a calculated effort to shift attention and accountability from what Democrats have done to create the current conditions. Fortunately, we have YouTube.

At a 2004 hearing of the Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee, then-Chairman Rep. Richard Baker (R-La.) predicted the collapse of Fannie Mae if nothing was done. Baker called for more regulation, something Democrats claim Republicans never wanted. In an editorial Tuesday, The New York Times got it wrong when it accused Republicans of engaging in “free markets-above-all ideology.” That just isn’t true. President Bush was calling for more oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in his first year as president, though he also praised efforts to expand minority home ownership at a time when bad credit risks were straining the system.

Read the rest of the article – WORLD Magazine

I am ready to Kill the Bailout

Right Voices is on target again with a collection of quotes from Dems – In Their Own Words

Pelosi Allows Dems To Vote No

Why did 94 Democrats vote against the bailout? Take a look at Bill Dyer’s analysis:

I thought it was bad enough that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had made a deliberate decision not to make today’s vote on the Democrat’s economic stabilization bill a “party loyalty” vote in which the House Democratic leadership made absolutely clear that it expected loyal Democrats to vote in favor of the bill. Ignoring all of the immense power to persuade that inheres in the position of Speaker of the House, Speaker Pelosi wouldn’t even offer (or threaten to withhold) so much as a choice Capitol parking spot to make up the 12-vote margin between victory and defeat of H.R. 3997, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

Speaking on John Gibson’s radio show later in the day, however, Karl Rove ran through, by name and often by committee or subcommittee chairmanship, the many, many Democratic members of the House whom Speaker Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership expressly authorized to vote against the economic stabilization bill. Glenn Reynolds boils this down to a succinct sentence which is almost exactly right: Pelosi gave key Democrats a pass on the bailout vote. The only quibble I have is that she didn’t just give key Democrats a pass. She gave them all a blanket pass, and then some members particular and specific encouragement to take it. It is inconceivable that she didn’t know exactly what the result would be.

The Dems Play Games with Votes.

Right Voices has a great video of Karl Rove

Mark My Words is a new blog I have just discovered. Read this for sure.

Putting Lipstick on Wall Street

Democrats Kill Bailout

The bailout was killed by House Democrats. Yes, Democrats. Losing by a margin of 228-205, the measure only needed 12 members to change their minds.

95 Democrats voted against the bill.

Quit blaming John McCain for failure to keep your majority, in the majority.

Take a look at these articles –

Bill Dyer at Townhall – Elections have Consequences

Hugh Hewitt – Duplicity and Cynicism

Michelle – The Crap Sandwich

Hot Air – Bailout Bill Fails After Pelosi Speech

How did they decide on $700B?

How did the Treasury Department arrive at a figure of $700 billion for the bailout? Surely it was based on careful analysis and a detailed methodology.

Nope. They guessed. They just pulled a number out of thin air. They made it up.

In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”

This just gives me a fuzzy feeling about politicians in Washington. Perhaps somebody should peel them like a kiwi.

Read the Forbes article – Bad News For The Bailout and take a look at the LA Times also.

Michele Malkin has a series on the subprime lending crisis you should look at.