Mortgage Meltdown: Ignoring the Obvious=Avoiding the Solution

McCain’s Folly

The solution to the liquidity crisis continues to be a political agreement between government, business, borrowers and investors in which the obvious factors are directly addressed — overvaluation of home values, overvaluation of creditworthiness, and overvaluation of CMOs. Any plan which does not address those factors will merely be an attempt to sweep this one under a rug that isn’t big enough to hide the dust. All current plans are partial swings at a moving target, based upon the political points the author or speaker wishes to score rather than being based on the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the United States of America.

 

The plain fact is that is the practically nobody in government anywhere knows, understands, or has developed any proficiency in developing an understanding of the economic world of their constituents. Upon cross-examination they would fold like a house of cards. 

Yet in an odd irony (redundant, I know) it is true that all economics is actually political and that all political decisions result in economic consequences. Hence we have put ourselves in the hands of a bunch of people, most of whom lack either the intelligence or the motivation to know what they are doing, and who are responding to the “information” given to them by their staff which gets most of its information from lobbyists, and the resulting legislation is passed without ANYONE ever reading it. 

Senator McCain is unfortunately one of the offenders for lack of actually reading the printed word. He reads nothing. He gets summaries orally on the run, and that is why he makes so many mistakes in his speeches. He spends no time in analysis or contemplation, not that he isn’t capable of it. He just doesn’t do it. And in our political world he has proven by getting the Republican nomination, that you don’t actually need actual policies in mind that serve as stepping stones to a better future — you just need votes, endorsements and money (not necessarily in that order).

In an effort to score political points, John McCain, presumably with the advice and counsel of prehistoric economic advisers, hawks the idiotic notion that government regulation is a bad thing in and of itself. Economists from all sides of the political spectrum admit that is wrong. Without a referee in the “free market place” we would all return to slavery or the dark ages of serfdom. We have recently gone too far in that direction, a fact which is obvious to about 80% of the American citizenry and even to young adults who ordinarily don’t even think of such things. The necessity of a referee (i.e., government) is completely unknown to McCain either in concept or reality. John McCain is decidedly not an idiot — but like most of his colleagues, he acts like one.

He said yesterday which much fanfare that it is not government’s job to bail out people, big or small. True enough — and it certainly plays well to those who blame the victims, as long as they are small victims rather than big companies whose stock is publicly held. 

According to the founding documents of this country, which are the Supreme Law of the land, it is government’s business to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens; and that means doing something to stop the current financial bleeding and slowing the American and worldwide tailspin that is destroying the paycheck of most American citizens increasingly each day, as the U.S. dollar reaches lower into the abyss and the price of gas now approaches 25% of the net paycheck of many workers. 

Bailout is one of the tools on the table and it is a good short-term and very small part of a total solution. The actual solution to the present crisis can only be reached through political consensus which thus far has not been the subject, much the less the focal point of discussions in the current emergency. To that end only Obama (and recently endorsed by Clinton) has proposed establishing an emergency commission not unlike the 911 Commission. 

A major bailout to everyone will only put the dollar, and thus the purchasing power of each citizen in further jeopardy. That is why Obama is right about limiting the resources applied to the bailout part of the equation. Stopping the foreclosures and evictions through political consensus is also a urgent requirement. Again Obama is right on the approach of consensus but probably wrong in his opposition to the 90 day freeze on foreclosures and evictions proposed by Clinton. 

We need some breathing space to show the world we are still in control here and that we understand the root problem — which is that prices became artificially inflated by high pressure sales tactics getting people to sign mortgage documents that could be sold to satisfy the last group of deals that were sold on terms that were impossible to sustain on their own. 

No bailout at all is government failing to do what it is there for — to referee between competing groups and interests and intervene when it gets out of hand.  

McCain is advocating (or more specifically parroting) the economics and the politics that got us into this mess. We had a Federal Reserve with no power to monitor or regulate the creation of money supply by the private sector. Paulson announced today he wants to change that and expand the Fed’s authority to acknowledge the obvious fact that investment banks have been creating more money supply than all the central banks put together. As a result, worldwide money supply from derivative security sales skyrocketed beyond the imaginable, with some estimates putting it at as much as $500 trillion.

 

That is why we keep saying here that the answer to the crisis lies in political consensus — as Obama preaches, and not in ideological fixed constructs like McCain and Clinton promote for political points. Paulson’s proposals will be helpful 30 years from now. Partisan solutions produce partisan fights resulting in gridlock. Americans need action now. Obama’s proposals should be looked at far more closely, and used as a point of discussion. We need help today, this minute.

 

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