Ever since Barack Obama won the presidency, American women - battered by the George W Bush administration's assaults on their rights - have sensed the possibility of change and mobilised to make sure that the new president hear their voices and recognise their needs.
No surprise here. During any great political transformation, women have almost always demanded greater equality. In the midst of the American revolution, Abigail Adams famously warned her husband that the new republic must not ignore the needs and rights of half the population. "Remember the Ladies," she wrote to him. "Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."
Adams understood that women become very angry when liberal change is in the air, but realise they will not be among its beneficiaries. It happened during the French revolution and during the 1960s, for example. It's happening again.
That's why advocates of women's equality quickly mobilised to press the Obama administration to reverse Bush's policies and to make sure he included women in whatever "new" New Deal might be necessary to keep the United States from sliding into the Second Great Depression.
For his part, President Barack Obama has proved that he "gets it", that he understands women's lives and seeks to improve their economic prospects, domestic dilemmas, and reproductive rights. Within the first month of his presidency, for example, he reversed Bush's "global gag rule" on funding contraceptive and reproductive-health services to women across the planet. This will result in many fewer abortions and deaths, and give women much greater control over their lives.
He also signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which reversed a Supreme Court decision that prevented women from suing for equal pay after six months; and he expanded the Children's Health Insurance Programme (which Bush had refused to do), thus setting an important precedent for universal healthcare, at least for children.
But advocates for women workers have felt great anxiety about whether the Obama administration would make sure that women - along with men - would be included in the $787-billion stimulus package that on 17 February 2009 completed its passage through both houses of Congress. It's not that they don't care about male workers; on the contrary, they know that men have been hit harder and more quickly because they work in manufacturing and construction. That leaves many women as breadwinners who cannot support their families on the salaries they earn in the economic sectors they traditionally inhabit.
As early as April 2008, the Senate committee on health, education, labour and pensions (chaired by the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, Edward Kennedy) issued a report entitled "Taking a Toll: The Effects of Recession on Women"; this argued for a safety-net for women, who usually have fewer assets, earn less than men, work in more part-time jobs, and increasing cannot provide for their families.
In the summer, Gwen Moore - the Democratic congresswoman from Wisconsin, who once received welfare as a single mother - teamed up with other like-minded women to reframe the stimulus package by trying to persuade the Democratic National Convention that poverty is a women's issue and that a forthcoming Obama administration must expand the safety-net that vanished when former President Clinton eliminated "welfare as we know it" in 1996.
A raised voice
Alongside these initiatives, concerns about whether the recovery plan would help single women workers and working mothers surfaced repeatedly during the last few months. Feminist economists voiced public concerns that the new administration's "shovel ready" recovery plan focused too exclusively on male jobs. In a widely quoted op-ed, author and former philosophy professor Linda Hirshman asked: "Where are the jobs for women in the stimulus planning?" (see "Where Are the New Jobs for Women?", New York Times, 9 December 2008).
There is no doubt that women could be quickly trained for such construction projects, as occurred during the second world war. But would Congress fund this?
Remembering the gender and racial discrimination that characterised the New Deal, 1,200 women historians and economists (including myself) urged President Obama not to repeat FDR's mistakes of directing most jobs to white men. Their petition asked the president to require affirmative action for all federal contractors, and to set aside apprenticeship and training programmes in infrastructure projects for women and people of colour. They also argued that more money should be spent on projects for health, childcare, education and the social services, the economic sectors where women traditionally work.
The voices of women insisting upon such equality in the recovery plan have been loud and insistent, even though the establishment media have tended to ignore them. Leaders of national women's groups were quick in grabbing a seat at the table of Obama's transition team and lobbied hard for the stimulus legislation to include women workers as part of the recovery plan. Blogs and essays written by women have ricocheted through cyberspace, urging Congress to include women and minority workers, along with white men, in the stimulus package.
And what was the result? It depends on how you view the entire stimulus plan. Many well known economists have argued that the recovery plan needed to be much larger. More than one-third of the funds, moreover, went to tax cuts, which will provide less of a stimulus than spending. As a result, women and other low-wage earners didn't get nearly enough jobs.
The back-story is that President Obama has been held hostage by troglodyte Republicans who still believe that a dismantled federal government, a free and unregulated market, and tax cuts for the wealthy are the solution to America's economic collapse. Using the tactic and rhetoric of "bipartisanship", the new president chose to make serious compromises in order to secure sufficient votes from these Senate Republicans. For all his efforts, he received almost no Republican votes.
When Republicans fumed about money to fund comprehensive contraception, for example, Obama and other Democrats decided to strip it from the bill to secure necessary Republican support. (Conservative Republicans not only oppose abortion; their war against contraception has been vehement and persistent.) Most reproductive-rights activists, however, are confident that Obama will quickly insert it in another piece of legislation.
Republicans also cut programmes that disproportionately target women and children, including Head Start for low-income children, Violence Against Women, school improvement and food stamps and aid to states, all of which stimulate the economy by supporting the "social" infrastructure, not only the physical infrastructure. The irony is, as Mimi Abramovitz writes: "Contrary to popular wisdom, spending on services like health care and education produces a bigger bang for the economic-stimulus buck than billions of dollars devoted to roads and bridges. Japan's Institute for Local Government, a nonprofit research group, says that Japan learned this truth the hard way."
A new momentum
Still, women's persistent lobbying and advocacy produced some very positive results The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan research group, concluded: "The provisions providing relief to low- and moderate-income families and to states facing serious budget shortfalls are among the most effective economic stimulus in the package. Low-income and unemployed families will spend benefits or tax refunds quickly to meet household expenses."
In their report "*How the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Addresses Women's Needs," The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) offered a similarly positive assessment: "The Obama Administration and House and Senate leaders have developed a strong plan for economic recovery to preserve and create jobs, help people through tough times, protect vital public services, and invest in our nation's future."
The NWLC cited a host of measures - funds for childcare and early education, expanded unemployment insurance for low-income workers, child support, healthcare, direct assistance for low-income households, education and job training, job opportunities for women, tax benefits for those who really need such relief - to argue that "the Conference Agreement on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes a number of measures that are especially important for women and their families."
All true. But let's get some perspective. The legislation only funded $2 billion for childcare, even as the United States spent $52 billion on nuclear weapons and weapons-related research in 2008 alone. Mass transit and major infrastructure projects, moreover, were shelved to increase tax cuts, in a nearly futile effort to appease Republicans.
It's quite clear that Republicans would rather let the ship go down than help Obama succeed, even though the stakes are so very high for all workers. The Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman warns: "Let's not mince words: This looks an awful lot like the beginning of a second Great Depression" (see "Fighting Off Depression", New York Times, 4 January 2009). So far, his (cautious) predictions about the American economy, since at least 2004, have turned into the very reality he hoped might be averted.
In this political climate, women remain pawns in the struggle between the two parties. Nevertheless, hope remains alive because advocates for gender equality know they have a president on their side. Asked whether the Obama administration was friendlier to women's advocacy groups than the last administration, Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), laughed and replied: "Are you kidding? The difference is like night and day."
Women leaders, scholars and activists are not going away. Once mobilised, they intend to remain visible and vociferous, reminding legislators that they are not "a special interest-group", as both parties tend to view them, but half of the nation's citizens.
18 - 02 - 2009 Published at openDemocracy.com
President Obama will travel to Mesa, Arizona today to introduce his plan to offer homeowners struggling to stay afloat some measure of relief from the foreclosure crisis. Unlike the stimulus package, the housing plan does not require congressional approval, but will instead tap into the remaining $350 billion in the bank bailout funds. Congress is, however, expected to move to craft legislation that will help homeowners, including a proposal to modify the bankruptcy code so judges could alter the terms of loans on primary residences. That ability was stripped away from judges in the
Credit Card Company Protection Act bankruptcy reform bill passed in 2005.
The financial crisis has already spread far and wide beyond the housing market, but those familiar with the administrations deliberative methods say that the administration believes that reducing forclosures will eliminate some of the risk that has frozen credit markets by reducing problem loans from banks balance sheets and allowing for institutional revaluations by investors. "The benefit is you eliminate some of the riskiest remaining mortgages and the market begins to reassess what's left," said Andrew Jacabovics, associate director of the economic mobility program at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank. "It's another way of bringing liquidity back - by making banks' balance sheets healthier."
Last year, more than 2,3 million homes went into foreclosure - up over 80% from the number of foreclosures in 2007.
Democratic sources say providing subsidies to lower mortgage rates or cutting the principal owed by homeowners will be less expensive than waiting for the government to have to step in and pay guaranteed loans that go into default. Paying on the loss now also reduces the societal cost of the foreclosures.
"Ten thousand people face foreclosure every day in this country," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday. "It's a problem that not only affects the individual homeowner and their family, but oftentimes has a direct impact to home values in the neighborhood that that house or homes are on. This is a tremendously important part of what the president believes has to be done next in order to move our economy forward."
Officials wouldn't discuss details of the plan before Obama announces them. But one approach under consideration would adapt a mortgage modification program that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unveiled in November that seeks to change loan terms so borrowers don't pay more than 38 percent of their monthly pre-tax salaries on their mortgages. Obama's plan might lower that plan to 31 percent, according to Democratic sources. To accomplish this, the government can extend the lifetime of loans, reduce the interest rate or postpone repayment on some of the principal. The cost would be split between the government and mortgage servicers.
Borrowers who face the prospect of foreclosure would be eligible if they meet the outlined criteria and could qualify before their loans actually go into default - saving the consumers a hit on their credit report that could hurt them down the road when they have to buy a new car or do an emergency repair to that house they are so desperate to save today.
Signing the plan in Mesa is significant because that community is one of the hardest hit by the subprime meltdown. The median home price in that community has plummeted 35% in one year according to numbers compiled by Arizona State University. Candidate Obama ran on a promise to call for the creation of a $10 billion fund to help homeowners avoid foreclosures and for changes to the bankruptcy code, and opposed across-the-board foreclosure moratoriums because he believed that would drive interest rates up.
One thing is for sure...No matter what President Obama does, the Partei of "Nein!" is going to be against it. They don't even wait for the details so they can fake thoughtful deliberation and heartfelt lip-biting for the cameras.
This Democrat would like to encourage them to stick to their principles and just say "No!!!" Compromise is for suckers! In case you are wondering if it's working for them, the answer is "not so much."
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Blogging at the New York Times under the boringly provocative title "Neoconservatism Lives!", Times Book Review Sub-Altern Editor for Life Barry Gewen touts Times regular reviewer Jacob Heilbrunn's latest suggestion -- this time in The American Conservative magazine -- that neo-cons are rising again.
Gewen isn't merely being provocative, although, Lord knows, he tries. He actually likes the idea: "The Iraq war was never a partisan affair," he explains, adding that "Many prominent Democrats and liberals like Christopher Hitchens, Paul Berman and George Packer supported it." Gewen neglects to mention that he supported it, too, along with his boss Sam Tanenhaus and most political reviews they published, as I showed here and in The Nation.
And how are Times Book Review readers responding? Click here and enjoy what Gewen wound up provoking.
Readers certainly aren't impressed by his report that, just like neo-cons, Hitchens, Berman, Packer and others "wanted to promote democracy in the Middle East" and that when Gewen once asked David Brooks and Paul Berman "what difference there was in their positions on Iraq... they agreed that there wasn't any."
Gewen seems awfully sanguine about Heilbrunn's discovery that neo-cons may yet worm their way in from the cold thanks to Hillary Clinton, lately their favorite woman in Washington. Or they may insinuate themselves back into power thanks to a recent report on possible American responses to genocide -- co-authored by Clinton's friend and predecessor Madeline Albright -- that, as Heilbrunn puts it, "is essentially a stalking horse for liberal intervention. It would create a permanent bureaucracy with a vested interest in insisting upon armed interventionism whenever and wherever the U.S. pleases...."
Heilbrunn's suggestion is a warning, obviously. The American Conservative published it because it wants to rescue its movement from neo-cons, for reasons like those I sketched recently here and in openDemocracy. American Conservative editor Scott McConnell actually endorsed John Kerry in 2004, warning that four more years of George W. Bush would leave the conservative movement exactly where those four years have left it. In 2008, McConnell, horrified by neo-cons' battening onto John McCain's campaign, actually canvassed for the Obama in Virginia.
Under Tanenhaus and Gewen, The New York Times Book Review was and is far less horrified than The American Conservative, as Gewen unwittingly reminds us by spinning Heilbrunn's report of the neo-cons as far as possible from its author's intent and from McConnell's brave and honorable responses as an editor and a citizen. Now, fortunately, Gewen's own commenters are reminding us what neo-cons are worth to many of his and the Book Review's long-suffering readers.
In a new article about how the Obama administration will confront the legal challenges of Bush’s war on terror, former Attorney General John Ashcroft defends the continued detention of a terror suspect, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, on a naval brig in South Carolina. Al-Marri has been held as an “enemy combatant” for more than seven years, though the government has yet to charge him with a crime. Ashcroft told the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer that the only difference between Obama and Bush on detainee policy will likely be how they spell their names:
John Ashcroft, who was Attorney General when Marri was designated an enemy combatant, makes no…apologies. Interviewed just before the Inauguration, he defended what he described as a ?sound decision? to ?maximize the national interest,? and predicted that, in the end, President Obama?s approach to handling terror suspects would closely mirror his own: ?How will he be different? The main difference is going to be that he spells his name ?O-b-a-m-a,? not ?B-u-s-h.??
In December, Dick Cheney predicted that Obama would keep the Guantanamo detention facility open. When Rush Limbaugh asked whether Gitmo is something the Obama administration is “going to be appreciative of once they get there and see it,” Cheney replied, “I think so.”
From the White House Press Office
Fact Sheet is here.
Remarks of President Barack Obama on the Home Mortgage Crisis – As Prepared for Delivery
February 18, 2009
I’m here today to talk about a crisis unlike any we’ve ever known – but one that you know very well here in Mesa, and throughout the Valley. In Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs, the American Dream is being tested by a home mortgage crisis that not only threatens the stability of our economy but also the stability of families and neighborhoods. It is a crisis that strikes at the heart of the middle class: the homes in which we invest our savings, build our lives, raise our families, and plant roots in our communities.
So many Americans have shared with me their personal experiences of this crisis. Many have written letters or emails or shared their stories with me at rallies and along rope lines. Their hardship and heartbreak are a reminder that while this crisis is vast, it begins just one house – and one family – at a time.
It begins with a young family – maybe in Mesa, or Glendale, or Tempe – or just as likely in suburban Las Vegas, Cleveland, or Miami. They save up. They search. They choose a home that feels like the perfect place to start a life. They secure a fixed-rate mortgage at a reasonable rate, make a down payment, and make their mortgage payments each month. They are as responsible as anyone could ask them to be.
But then they learn that acting responsibly often isn’t enough to escape this crisis. Perhaps someone loses a job in the latest round of layoffs, one of more than three and a half million jobs lost since this recession began – or maybe a child gets sick, or a spouse has his or her hours cut.
In the past, if you found yourself in a situation like this, you could have sold your home and bought a smaller one with more affordable payments. Or you could have refinanced your home at a lower rate. But today, home values have fallen so sharply that even if you made a large down payment, the current value of your mortgage may still be higher than the current value of your house. So no bank will return your calls, and no sale will return your investment.
You can't afford to leave and you can't afford to stay. So you cut back on luxuries. Then you cut back on necessities. You spend down your savings to keep up with your payments. Then you open the retirement fund. Then you use the credit cards. And when you’ve gone through everything you have, and done everything you can, you have no choice but to default on your loan. And so your home joins the nearly six million others in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure across the country, including roughly 150,000 right here in Arizona.
But the foreclosures which are uprooting families and upending lives across America are only one part of this housing crisis. For while there are millions of families who face foreclosure, there are millions more who are in no danger of losing their homes, but who have still seen their dreams endangered. They are families who see “For Sale” signs lining the streets. Who see neighbors leave, and homes standing vacant, and lawns slowly turning brown. They see their own homes – their largest single assets – plummeting in value. One study in Chicago found that a foreclosed home reduces the price of nearby homes by as much as 9 percent. Home prices in cities across the country have fallen by more than 25 percent since 2006; in Phoenix, they’ve fallen by 43 percent.
Even if your neighborhood hasn’t been hit by foreclosures, you’re likely feeling the effects of the crisis in other ways. Companies in your community that depend on the housing market – construction companies and home furnishing stores, painters and landscapers – they’re cutting back and laying people off. The number of residential construction jobs has fallen by more than a quarter million since mid-2006. As businesses lose revenue and people lose income, the tax base shrinks, which means less money for schools and police and fire departments. And on top of this, the costs to a local government associated with a single foreclosure can be as high as $20,000.
The effects of this crisis have also reverberated across the financial markets. When the housing market collapsed, so did the availability of credit on which our economy depends. As that credit has dried up, it has been harder for families to find affordable loans to purchase a car or pay tuition and harder for businesses to secure the capital they need to expand and create jobs.
In the end, all of us are paying a price for this home mortgage crisis. And all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to deepen – a crisis which is unraveling homeownership, the middle class, and the American Dream itself. But if we act boldly and swiftly to arrest this downward spiral, every American will benefit. And that’s what I want to talk about today.
The plan I’m announcing focuses on rescuing families who have played by the rules and acted responsibly: by refinancing loans for millions of families in traditional mortgages who are underwater or close to it; by modifying loans for families stuck in sub-prime mortgages they can’t afford as a result of skyrocketing interest rates or personal misfortune; and by taking broader steps to keep mortgage rates low so that families can secure loans with affordable monthly payments.
At the same time, this plan must be viewed in a larger context. A lost home often begins with a lost job. Many businesses have laid off workers for a lack of revenue and available capital. Credit has become scarce as the markets have been overwhelmed by the collapse of securities backed by failing mortgages. In the end, the home mortgage crisis, the financial crisis, and this broader economic crisis are interconnected. We cannot successfully address any one of them without addressing them all.
Yesterday, in Denver, I signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which will create or save three and a half million jobs over the next two years – including 70,000 in Arizona – doing the work America needs done. We will also work to stabilize, repair, and reform our financial system to get credit flowing again to families and businesses. And we will pursue the housing plan I am outlining today.
Through this plan, we will help between seven and nine million families restructure or refinance their mortgages so they can avoid foreclosure. And we are not just helping homeowners at risk of falling over the edge, we are preventing their neighbors from being pulled over that edge too – as defaults and foreclosures contribute to sinking home values, failing local businesses, and lost jobs.
But I also want to be very clear about what this plan will not do: It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer money after bad loans. It will not help speculators who took risky bets on a rising market and bought homes not to live in but to sell. It will not help dishonest lenders who acted irresponsibility, distorting the facts and dismissing the fine print at the expense of buyers who didn’t know better. And it will not reward folks who bought homes they knew from the beginning they would never be able to afford. In short, this plan will not save every home.
But it will give millions of families resigned to financial ruin a chance to rebuild. It will prevent the worst consequences of this crisis from wreaking even greater havoc on the economy. And by bringing down the foreclosure rate, it will help to shore up housing prices for everyone. According to estimates by the Treasury Department, this plan could stop the slide in home prices due to neighboring foreclosures by up to $6,000 per home.
Here is how my plan works:
First, we will make it possible for an estimated four to five million currently ineligible homeowners who receive their mortgages through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to refinance their mortgages at lower rates.
Today, as a result of declining home values, millions of families are “underwater,” which means they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. These families are unable to sell their homes, and unable to refinance them. So in the event of a job loss or another emergency, their options are limited.
Right now, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the institutions that guarantee home loans for millions of middle class families – are generally not permitted to guarantee refinancing for mortgages valued at more than 80 percent of the home’s worth. So families who are underwater – or close to being underwater – cannot turn to these lending institutions for help.
My plan changes that by removing this restriction on Fannie and Freddie so that they can refinance mortgages they already own or guarantee. This will allow millions of families stuck with loans at a higher rate to refinance. And the estimated cost to taxpayers would be roughly zero; while Fannie and Freddie would receive less money in payments, this would be balanced out by a reduction in defaults and foreclosures.
I also want to point out that millions of other households could benefit from historically low interest rates if they refinance, though many don't know that this opportunity is available to them – an opportunity that could save families hundreds of dollars each month. And the efforts we are taking to stabilize mortgage markets will help these borrowers to secure more affordable terms, too.
Second, we will create new incentives so that lenders work with borrowers to modify the terms of sub-prime loans at risk of default and foreclosure.
Sub-prime loans – loans with high rates and complex terms that often conceal their costs – make up only 12 percent of all mortgages, but account for roughly half of all foreclosures.
Right now, when families with these mortgages seek to modify a loan to avoid this fate, they often find themselves navigating a maze of rules and regulations but rarely finding answers. Some sub-prime lenders are willing to renegotiate; many aren’t. Your ability to restructure your loan depends on where you live, the company that owns or manages your loan, or even the agent who happens to answer the phone on the day you call.
My plan establishes clear guidelines for the entire mortgage industry that will encourage lenders to modify mortgages on primary residences. Any institution that wishes to receive financial assistance from the government, and to modify home mortgages, will have to do so according to these guidelines – which will be in place two weeks from today.
If lenders and homebuyers work together, and the lender agrees to offer rates that the borrower can afford, we’ll make up part of the gap between what the old payments were and what the new payments will be. And under this plan, lenders who participate will be required to reduce those payments to no more than 31 percent of a borrower’s income. This will enable as many as three to four million homeowners to modify the terms of their mortgages to avoid foreclosure.
So this part of the plan will require both buyers and lenders to step up and do their part. Lenders will need to lower interest rates and share in the costs of reduced monthly payments in order to prevent another wave of foreclosures. Borrowers will be required to make payments on time in return for this opportunity to reduce those payments.
I also want to be clear that there will be a cost associated with this plan. But by making these investments in foreclosure-prevention today, we will save ourselves the costs of foreclosure tomorrow – costs borne not just by families with troubled loans, but by their neighbors and communities and by our economy as a whole. Given the magnitude of these costs, it is a price well worth paying.
Third, we will take major steps to keep mortgage rates low for millions of middle class families looking to secure new mortgages.
Today, most new home loans are backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which guarantee loans and set standards to keep mortgage rates low and to keep mortgage financing available and predictable for middle class families. This function is profoundly important, especially now as we grapple with a crisis that would only worsen if we were to allow further disruptions in our mortgage markets.
Therefore, using the funds already approved by Congress for this purpose, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve will continue to purchase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities so that there is stability and liquidity in the marketplace. Through its existing authority Treasury will provide up to $200 billion in capital to ensure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can continue to stabilize markets and hold mortgage rates down.
We’re also going to work with Fannie and Freddie on other strategies to bolster the mortgage markets, like working with state housing finance agencies to increase their liquidity. And as we seek to ensure that these institutions continue to perform what is a vital function on behalf of middle class families, we also need to maintain transparency and strong oversight so that they do so in responsible and effective ways.
Fourth, we will pursue a wide range of reforms designed to help families stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure.
My administration will continue to support reforming our bankruptcy rules so that we allow judges to reduce home mortgages on primary residences to their fair market value – as long as borrowers pay their debts under a court-ordered plan. That’s the rule for investors who own two, three, and four homes. It should be the rule for ordinary homeowners too, as an alternative to foreclosure.
In addition, as part of the recovery plan I signed into law yesterday, we are going to award $2 billion in competitive grants to communities that are bringing together stakeholders and testing new and innovative ways to prevent foreclosures. Communities have shown a lot of initiative, taking responsibility for this crisis when many others have not. Supporting these neighborhood efforts is exactly what we should be doing.
Taken together, the provisions of this plan will help us end this crisis and preserve for millions of families their stake in the American Dream. But we must also acknowledge the limits of this plan.
Our housing crisis was born of eroding home values, but also of the erosion of our common values. It was brought about by big banks that traded in risky mortgages in return for profits that were literally too good to be true; by lenders who knowingly took advantage of homebuyers; by homebuyers who knowingly borrowed too much from lenders; by speculators who gambled on rising prices; and by leaders in our nation’s capital who failed to act amidst a deepening crisis.
So solving this crisis will require more than resources – it will require all of us to take responsibility. Government must take responsibility for setting rules of the road that are fair and fairly enforced. Banks and lenders must be held accountable for ending the practices that got us into this crisis in the first place. Individuals must take responsibility for their own actions. And all of us must learn to live within our means again.
These are the values that have defined this nation. These are values that have given substance to our faith in the American Dream. And these are the values that we must restore now at this defining moment.
It will not be easy. But if we move forward with purpose and resolve – with a deepened appreciation for how fundamental the American Dream is and how fragile it can be when we fail in our collective responsibilities – then I am confident we will overcome this crisis and once again secure that dream for ourselves and for generations to come.
Thank you, God Bless you, and God bless America.
Make her stop. It hurts.
"We're running out of rich people in this country."
There's more. She also appears to be making stuff up about ACORN.
Bachmann: I mean, if you think, ACORN - this is a group that's under Federal indictment...
Bachmann: ...for voter fraud. ACORN - they've received a total of $53 million in direct Federal Grants since 1994. Do you know how much they're getting under this (the stimulus) bill?
Baker: Like $4 billion, I've heard.
Bachmann: $5 Billion.
Baker? $5 billion?
Bachmann: For ACORN.
Steve Benen was able to listen to more of it than the 52 seconds I posted and says:
There's no point in trying to fact-check such unhinged stupidity, but I should note that none of this is in anyway grounded in reality. I should also note that we're not talking about some strange nut screaming on a street corner; this is all coming from an elected member of Congress.
At one point, Bachmann told the host, "We are literally losing our country."
Congresswoman, you've literally lost something, but I don't think it's your country.
Minnesota, when will you wake up already? I live in California and have to deal with Teflon Arnuld, but she's just as humiliating.
“When people are frightened, they cut their time horizon dramatically, … Even advisors will say to sell because they see portfolios crumble and they fear people will have nothing left. It’s really not rational, but it does happen.”
That’s what David Dreman wrote in his book Contrarian Investment Strategies. Now, almost…
In the same New Republic article referenced in the previous post, Susan Helper concludes, "While I'm disappointed in the plans so far, I still feel the industry is worth saving. Note, among other things, that this level of detail is far more than the[...]
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Remember how we were told that bailout money was being given to banks so they could increase their[...]
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U.S. President Barack Obama today (Tuesday) signed into law one of the most ambitious and costly pieces of legislation in America?s 200-plus year history. However, with the economy still reeling, Obama has no time to rest on his laurels and tomorrow he will introduce a new plan to stem the…