How Foreclosures Are Impacting Election Prospects

First, let’s clear out one thing: neither Romney nor Obama caused the wave of millions of foreclosures. In fact, while the Republicans are guilty of obstructionism in Congress and across the country, the most you could say about Republicans is that they didn’t do enough to stop the foreclosures. The same is true for a portion of Democrats. Wall Street created a scheme where the only possible ending was an enormous wave of fraudulent foreclosures.

Second as to the positions of the two presidential candidates, neither one has any bragging rights.

Romney in true Republican style said let the housing market “bottom out “— the market will take care of itself. That’s like saying to guests on a sinking ship, we’ll wait until after it sinks and then the natural action of the currents will bring your bodies up for recovery.

Romney was dead wrong on that, doesn’t understand the importance of housing in the economy and is completely out of touch with the idea that government is “of the people, by the people and FOR the people.” He said the same thing about the car industry and was dead wrong on that, so we shouldn’t expect any help from a Romney administration when it comes to housing, and therefore we shouldn’t expect anything more than a sluggish economy during his tenure, if he has one.

Obama has made some baby steps in the right direction but did not understand and perhaps still does not understand the scope of the crimes committed on Wall Street and is still acting as though the fall of the mega bank empires will have devastating results to our economy. Quite the contrary is true. And his estimates of how many homes he saved is about 10 times thee actual number.

As long as Obama listens to Wall Street about what to do about Wall Street crimes his policies are held prisoner to the people who ought to be in prison. And the criticism of his aloofness in dealing with Congress is justified. Not that Romney would be any better after more than 800 vetoes in Massachusetts as Governor.

So this isn’t about who SHOULD be president or who SHOULD control congress, it is about who WILL be president and who WILL control Congress.

The metrics are unavoidably simple and direct. Millions of people have been ejected from their homes. That is a fact. There are more than 10 million registered voters who were ejected from their homes. Why neither candidate has courted these people as voters is beyond comprehension. But the fact is that without registering to vote in their new places of abode, they won’t be voting in this year’s election.

The overwhelming majority of homeowners who were illegally foreclosed and ejected from their homes were from so-called minority groups. They included single mothers, some of whom were married to men fighting overseas — a foreclosure that is specifically prohibited under law, but that didn’t stop the banks from carrying out their illegal and fraudulent claims of securitization, assignment and keeping the huge profits from recurring resales of the same mortgages to multiple counter-parties.

In this group of foreclosures composed of “minority” or specially described voters, the overwhelming majority of them would vote for the President and Democrats running in their districts. But many of them won’t vote because of various reasons that either prohibited or interfered with their registration to vote — like desperate trying to find a job.

I cannot put an exact metric on it because all I have is anecdotal evidence. But from ALL ends of the political spectrum, it is clear that a high percentage of evicted homeowners will not vote this November. That could easily swing the election one way or the other. With more than 10 million disenfranchised voters (or some portion thereof), the deal is stacked for Romney and the Republicans.

 

Politics Diverting Us From the Real Issues

“The bottom line is that conservatives don’t conserve anything. They have their hand deeper into the public purse than anyone else. Liberals don’t liberate anyone either, providing the tools to prospects for progress and prosperity. The terms should not be used because nobody means what they say.” Neil F Garfield livinglies.me

Editor’s Comment: Romney’s latest gaffe is only a mistake in terms of him having said it, not that that he didn’t mean it. To set the record straight the 47% pay payroll taxes that the rich don’t pay, have incomes under $50,000 per year, and one third of them are seniors and disabled with incomes lower than $20,000 per year getting Social Security and similar benefits that they paid for when they were working. But isn’t really the problem.

The problem is that what Romney gave voice to was a feeling amongst the elite Democrats and Republicans who look at the bottom economic half of the country with disdain. Although they are working, paying Social Security and Unemployment taxes most of these people are treated as though they are trash to be taken out and cleaned somehow. Those taxes amount to over 12% of their income whereas the income from wealth, escape those taxes altogether.

And THAT is the reason it is so easy for banks to manipulate politicians, law enforcement and regulators into doing nothing about the cancer growing on our society — fake mortgages, fake foreclosures, fake evictions, and fake income and assets reported for the banks. Some of the media are picking up on the fact that the stolen money from investors is not being recognized as taxable income, which it is, and that the IRS isn’t pursuing hundreds of billions of income taxes that are due from the Banks. Talk about getting a free ride.

Today’s conference call (7 PM EDT) with members will touch on this along with the usual report on what is getting traction and what tactics and strategies might be used to confront the banks who are faking ownership of the loans when they neither loaned the money nor purchased the loan with money.

My take on the political landscape is this: I speak with people from the so-called far right political spectrum to the far left political spectrum. I speak to members of fringe groups too.

The overwhelming consensus amongst all of them from one end to the other is that government is corrupt, banks are corrupt and that our society is in the wrong hands mostly without candidates who will speak to these issues. We need a new crop of politicians who are no so encumbered with loyalties to the bank oligopoly because at some time, the ticking time bomb is going to blow. I speak of economic meltdown, caused by fabricated transactions and assets that our counted as part of our national wealth and GDP.

If you ask people specific questions about what is fair, just, moral, ethical and legal nearly all of them respond with the same answers. So why are we a divided nation? Why to we listen to sound bites instead of forcing the candidates to speak to us about our issues, about our stress and anxiety — whether we will have a roof over our heads, whether we will have food on the table, whether our children will be educated well enough so that they can fill the jobs that are ready to be filled. Right now there are 3 million such jobs.

You would think that someone would want to do something about it. Obama tried to put through a bill to do something about that but he didn’t push hard enough. Republicans scoffed at it because of their allegiance to the super rich whose boatloads of money are floating nearly all the republicans and many of the democrats in local, state and Federal elections.

But we can’t blame one or even a group of politicians if we, the Boss, as the voters who control who governs us, don’t do our job and get educated about issues, educated about candidates and exercise our absolute right to vote in the elections.

The current crop of incumbents doesn’t worry about our reaction because we don’t have any reaction tot heir stupid policies, bills and laws. We are a nation of apathy where vote turnout has been going lower and lower. The reason is the same as the unemployment situation. The figures would be worse if we added those back who simply gave up. Don’t give up your vote. Use it and mean it!

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS NEGOTIATING (SELL-OUT!) WITH BANKS AND TAKING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS SIMULTANEOUSLY

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SELL-OUT!

EDITOR’S COMMENT: WHAT ARE THEY NEGOTIATING ABOUT AND WITH WHOM ARE THEY NEGOTIATING? This is theater in the most absurd. Our government is negotiating with the very people who have demonstrated that they must fabricate and forge documents in order to establish their authority to do anything. Even in hostage negotiations we don’t give as much as we are giving to the servicers. They have no authority.

By definition they don’t own the obligation which means the obligation of the borrower is not owed to them. They are not the authorized agent of the real owner of the obligation until the real owner is identified and says they give authority to the agent to negotiate on their behalf.

Those documents don’t exist because those facts don’t exist. The investors are not going to give the servicers anything. If they were going to do that it would have happened en masse and avoided lots of paperwork problems for the banks. If it were not for political contributions, thousands of people would be headed for jail cells.

Instead we are negotiating away the future of America — for what? All homeowners are affected by these negotiations because when the so called honest Joe Homeowner goes to sell his home he is going to be hopping mad that not only can’t he deliver marketable title, he now has nobody to sue because the government sold him out. AND he still can’t sell his house because there is no way to clear up title.

These negotiations are a farce because down the road, they will be meaningless except that they will have added time to the already corrupted title registries across the country.

Mortgage servicers spend millions on political contributions

Banks under scrutiny as housing crisis festers

Posted Aug 8, 2011, 2:55 pm

Michael Hudson & Aaron Mehta Center for Public Integrity

As the financial markets roil, one of the critical factors weighing down the U.S. economy is the flood of home foreclosures. Thursday’s crash underscores how difficult it will be for the economy to make significant strides while the housing market is still in tatters.

The pace of the housing market recovery may depend in part on the outcome of intense negotiations underway among state and federal authorities and the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers.

Government officials are negotiating with the firms — Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co. and Ally Financial Inc. — over allegations of widespread abuses in the foreclosure process. State attorneys general around the country have been investigating evidence that the big banks used falsified documentation to process foreclosures.

Four of the five companies under scrutiny—Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup — are major donors for state and federal political campaigns. Between them, they have donated at least $8 million since the start of 2009 to candidates, party committees and other political action committees, according to an iWatch News analysis of campaign finance data.

(Ally Financial hasn’t given money during that period to campaigns under its current name or is previous name, General Motors Acceptance Corp., or GMAC).

The fate of foreclosure negotiations could go a long way toward determining where the housing market will go in the next few years.

Normally, the housing market plays a leading role in any economic recovery. But that hasn’t been the case in the aftermath of the U.S. financial crisis of 2008.

“It’s has been a negative factor in this recovery — or lack of recovery,” housing economist and consultant Michael Carliner said.

Generally, when interest rates go down, that spurs the mortgage and housing markets and helps move the economy in the right direction. But that hasn’t happened this time around, said Carliner, a former economist for the National Association of Home Builders. “We have lowest mortgage rates since the early 1950s and it’s not doing anything,” he said.

Interest rates on 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.39 percent for the week ending Aug. 4, according to a survey by mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

What’s holding back the housing market, Carliner said, is a glut of available homes for sale, due in part to overbuilding during the housing boom and to continuing foreclosure woes. An “excess inventory” of perhaps 2 million homes is making it hard for the housing market to get going again, he said.

The inventory of foreclosures continues to grow. In June, one out of every 583 housing units in the United States received a foreclosure notice, according to data provider Realty Trac. The numbers are even worse in the hardest hit markets, where housing prices climbed the fastest during the housing boom and fell the most when the housing crash came. In Nevada, one out of every 114 housing units was the subject of a foreclosure filing in June.

Investigations and negotiations over allegations of fraudulent foreclosure practices by big banks have helped slow down the foreclosure process, making it harder for the market to work through defaults and readjust, Carliner said.

He would like to see a deal between government officials and mortgage servicers that would pave the way to swifter foreclosures that would help put the foreclosure problem in the past. “If people haven’t paid their mortgages in two years, they shouldn’t be able to keep their house,” Carliner said.

Not everyone agrees.

Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, a consumer attorneys group, argues that any national settlement should be about keeping people in their homes. He wants a settlement that would require banks to reduce the amount of mortgage debt held by distressed homeowners.

Reducing their payments and overall debts would help keep them in their homes and reduce the number of foreclosures, he said. It would also provide a measure of justice, he said, for homeowners who were defrauded via bait-and-switch salesmanship, falsified documentation and other predatory tactics that were common during the mortgage frenzy of the past decade.

Rheingold acknowledges, though, that extracting large concessions from big banks will be a “tough slog.”

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The banks have high-powered legal talent and lobbyists on their side, and four of the top five mortgage services have given generously to state and federal political campaigns, according to an iWatch News analysis of election data provided by the subscription-only CQMoneyLine. 

  • Since the start of 2009, Bank of America has donated at least $3.2 million to candidates, party committees and other PACs. Among the top recipients was Rep. Jeb Hensarling (at least $17,500), a Texas Republican who is vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Another Texan Republican, Randy Neugebauer , received at least $16,000 from the financial giant. Neugebauer also serves on the Financial Services Committee, and chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
  • JPMorgan Chase has donated over $ 2.8 million to candidates, party committees and other PACs since the start of 2009. The firm has made donations to the Republican Governors Association (at least $50,000), the National Republican Senatorial Committee (at least $45,000) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (at least $45,000), the Democratic Governors Association (at least $25,000) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (at least $15,000). The firm also donated at least $15,000 to the Blue Dog PAC, the fundraising arm of the Blue Dog Democrats who were vital to financial corporations when the Democrats controlled the House.
  • and ranking member on the financial services committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.
  • Wells Fargo gave over $1 million to candidates, party committees and other PACs since the start of 2009. Wells Fargo has given at least $45,000 each to the NRCC and NRSC and at least $30,000 each to the DSCC and DCCC. It also donated at least $17,000 to Rep. Ed Royce , a California Republican who serves on the Financial Services committee. Another top recipient was Democrat Carolyn Maloney of New York, the vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee
  • Citigroup has given $850,000 to candidates, party committees and other PACs since the start of 2009. Among its top individual recipients is Democrat Gregory Meeks of New York. Meeks, who sits on the House Committee on Financial Services, has received at least $10,000 from Citi. Another is Ohio Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi (at least $15,000), a member of the powerful Ways and Means committee. Tiberi is currently the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue, which has jurisdiction over federal tax policy.

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More by Michael Hudson

POLITICANS RUSH TO CASTRATE FINANCIAL REFORM

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The fact that Wall Street is so intent on doing this can only indicate one thing: they intend to do it again. Wake up America!

SEE VIDEO ELIZABETH WARREN ON GOALS FOR FINANCIAL CONSUMER PROTECTION

Note: One of the things that Warren brings out in the video is that the disclosure forms come much too late in the process. The obvious effect is that besides being confusing  on their face, there is very little time for consumer to study or get help understanding the disclosure statements. Early rendition and delivery of the disclosure statements would add to the barrier of committing consumer fraud. By requiring early delivery, the “lender” would not be able to argue later that the borrower was informed of the terms and signed anyway, even when the consumer never had any real opportunity to look at those forms. Now we have to argue that the delivery of the forms was under circumstances where the consumer was meant not to understand the transaction. Warren’s goal addresses that head-on.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: The only wrong with this editorial from the NY Times is that they seem to limit it to Republicans. I’ll agree that Republicans are leading the charge, but many Democrats are in the pack racing for ways to please Wall Street which is throwing money around like confetti. By making it a Republican vs. Democrat issue, the editorial diverts us from the point — that the Dodd-Frank bill is under attack and they intend to chip away at it in pieces by denying appropriations and otherwise tangling up the works so that it doesn’t work.

Who Will Rescue Financial Reform?

In what passes for self-restraint these days, House Republicans have been insisting that they do not intend to repeal last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Not in one fell swoop, anyway.

A direct assault on Dodd-Frank would be so blatantly biased toward banks that it would be sure to provoke a public backlash. So the Republican plan is to delay and disrupt reform. The effort is partly ideological — an insistence that regulation is unnecessary, no matter the evidence to the contrary. It is also a campaign fund-raising ploy, because Wall Street will reward the opponents of reform. Of course, Democrats are themselves not indifferent to Wall Street campaign cash, which raises the question of how effectively they will counter the Republicans’ aims. Here are areas to watch.

DERIVATIVES Budget cuts could cripple the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission — which share the vital task of regulating the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market. The budget impasse in Washington has already frozen the agencies’ budgets, even as their rule-writing duties have exploded. Worse, prevailing Republican rhetoric, adopted in part by Democrats, portends more budget cuts, which would leave the agencies unable to enforce current rules, let alone new ones. Settling for less than President Obama’s requested amounts for the agencies would be acquiescing in the derailment of Dodd-Frank.

CONSUMER PROTECTION The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, arguably the most innovative of the reforms, has been under constant attack by banks — and Republicans. Most recently, a House hearing on the bureau that was billed as an oversight session was instead a hazing of Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor and consumer advocate chosen by Mr. Obama to set up the agency. Republican objections boiled down to charges that the agency — and Ms. Warren — have too much power. Ms. Warren’s rebuttals were clear and persuasive. Mr. Obama could define the debate further — and demonstrate his professed support for the bureau — by going on the offensive and nominating Ms. Warren as its official director. Senate Republicans have said that they would object, but it is their own credibility that would be at risk in opposing so qualified a candidate.

REPEAL BY ANOTHER NAME House Republicans have unveiled several bills to undo Dodd-Frank piece by piece. One would rewrite the law so that the C.F.P.B would be run by a five-member bipartisan board, rather than one director, a recipe for delay and division. Another would exempt an array of derivatives users from the new rules, perpetuating the deregulated market.

Yet another bill would repeal a requirement for private equity firms to register with the S.E.C, in effect ignoring the systemic risks in leveraged pools of private capital. And one would repeal a requirement that publicly traded companies disclose the ratio of a chief executive’s pay to that of a typical employee, a move that would deprive analysts of data to detect bubbles that correlate to skewed pay. The list goes on.

Dodd-Frank is no cure-all, but properly implemented and enforced, it would close dangerous regulatory gaps. That won’t happen if Republicans get their way — and they will, unless the fight is engaged in no uncertain terms. Democrats in Congress need to unite behind the law and Obama officials should denounce the antireform effort for what it is: an attempt to weaken Dodd-Frank on behalf of those who brought us the financial crisis.

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