Tuesday, April 3, 2012

CRATERED: Democrats Caused the Housing Crisis and Recession

FEB 1999 - LTCM Stresses Global Markets
From Global Financial Crisis to Crisis, Democrats and Their Appointees Have Been Major Culprits

The 9-11/wartime Bush Administration is guilty of contributing to the Housing Crisis for political points with many demographics and to appease the Democrats hungering for domestic spending. President Bush is a convenient target and ripe for criticism, but Joseph Stiglitz and the Orszag brothers knew Banks were too big to fail. They reported  Fannie and Freddie should take a bigger risk. By 2002, everything was already in place, and built to fail by the Democrat Party machine. That should be our focus.

Some Background on The Glass Streagall Act

1933 Glass-Steagall Act creates new banking landscape

Following the Great Crash of 1929, one of every five banks in America fails. Many people, especially politicians, see market speculation engaged in by banks during the 1920s as a cause of the crash.
In 1933, Senator Carter Glass (D-Va.) and Congressman Henry Steagall (D-Ala.) introduce the historic legislation that bears their name, seeking to limit the conflicts of interest created when commercial banks are permitted to underwrite stocks or bonds. In the early part of the century, individual investors were seriously hurt by banks whose overriding interest was promoting stocks of interest and benefit to the banks, rather than to individual investors. The new law bans commercial banks from underwriting securities, forcing banks to choose between being a simple lender or an underwriter (brokerage). The act also establishes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), insuring bank deposits, and strengthens the Federal Reserve's control over credit.
The Glass-Steagall Act passes after Ferdinand Pecora, a politically ambitious former New York City prosecutor, drums up popular support for stronger regulation by hauling bank officials in front of the Senate Banking and Currency Committee to answer for their role in the stock-market crash.
In 1956, the Bank Holding Company Act is passed, extending the restrictions on banks, including that bank holding companies owning two or more banks cannot engage in non-banking activity and cannot buy banks in another state.

The Timeline of Change Accelerates

In August 1987, Alan Greenspan -- formerly a director of J.P. Morgan and a proponent of banking deregulation -- becomes chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. One reason Greenspan favors greater deregulation is to help U.S. banks compete with big foreign institutions.

In January 1989, the Fed Board approves an application by J.P. Morgan, Chase Manhattan, Bankers Trust, and Citicorp to expand the Glass-Steagall loophole to include dealing in debt and equity securities in addition to municipal securities and commercial paper. This marks a large expansion of the activities considered permissible under Section 20, because the revenue limit for underwriting business is still at 5 percent. Later in 1989, the Board issues an order raising the limit to 10 percent of revenues, referring to the April 1987 order for its rationale.
In 1990, J.P. Morgan becomes the first bank to receive permission from the Federal Reserve to underwrite securities, so long as its underwriting business does not exceed the 10 percent limit.

1980s-90sCongress repeatedly tries and fails to repeal Glass-Steagall
In 1984 and 1988, the Senate passes bills that would lift major restrictions under Glass-Steagall, but in each case the House blocks passage. In 1991, the Bush administration puts forward a repeal proposal, winning support of both the House and Senate Banking Committees, but the House again defeats the bill in a full vote. And in 1995, the House and Senate Banking Committees approve separate versions of legislation to get rid of Glass-Steagall, but conference negotiations on a compromise fall apart.
Attempts to repeal Glass-Steagall typically pit insurance companies, securities firms, and large and small banks against one another, as factions of these industries engage in turf wars in Congress over their competing interests and over whether the Federal Reserve or the Treasury Department and the Comptroller of the Currency should be the primary banking regulator.

1996-1997Fed renders Glass-Steagall effectively obsolete
In December 1996, with the support of Chairman Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve Board issues a precedent-shattering decision permitting bank holding companies to own investment bank affiliates with up to 25 percent of their business in securities underwriting (up from 10 percent).
This expansion of the loophole created by the Fed's 1987 reinterpretation of Section 20 of Glass-Steagall effectively renders Glass-Steagall obsolete. Virtually any bank holding company wanting to engage in securities business would be able to stay under the 25 percent limit on revenue. However, the law remains on the books, and along with the Bank Holding Company Act, does impose other restrictions on banks, such as prohibiting them from owning insurance-underwriting companies.
In August 1997, the Fed eliminates many restrictions imposed on "Section 20 subsidiaries" by the 1987 and 1989 orders. The Board states that the risks of underwriting had proven to be "manageable," and says banks would have the right to acquire securities firms outright.
In 1997, Bankers Trust (now owned by Deutsche Bank) buys the investment bank Alex. Brown & Co., becoming the first U.S. bank to acquire a securities firm.

Oct.-Nov. 1999Congress passes Financial Services Modernization Act
After 12 attempts in 25 years, Congress finally repeals Glass-Steagall, rewarding financial companies for more than 20 years and $300 million worth of lobbying efforts. Supporters hail the change as the long-overdue demise of a Depression-era relic.
On Oct. 21, with the House-Senate conference committee deadlocked after marathon negotiations, the main sticking point is partisan bickering over the bill's effect on the Community Reinvestment Act, which sets rules for lending to poor communities. Sandy Weill calls President Clinton in the evening to try to break the deadlock after Senator Phil Gramm, chairman of the Banking Committee, warned Citigroup lobbyist Roger Levy that Weill has to get White House moving on the bill or he would shut down the House-Senate conference. Serious negotiations resume, and a deal is announced at 2:45 a.m. on Oct. 22. Whether Weill made any difference in precipitating a deal is unclear.
On Oct. 22, Weill and John Reed issue a statement congratulating Congress and President Clinton, including 19 administration officials and lawmakers by name. The House and Senate approve a final version of the bill on Nov. 4, and Clinton signs it into law later that month.
Just days after the administration (including the Treasury Department) agrees to support the repeal, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, the former co-chairman of a major Wall Street investment bank, Goldman Sachs, raises eyebrows by accepting a top job at Citigroup as Weill's chief lieutenant. The previous year, Weill had called Secretary Rubin to give him advance notice of the upcoming merger announcement. When Weill told Rubin he had some important news, the secretary reportedly quipped, "You're buying the government?"
PBS Frontline on Demise of Wall Street 
Make the Market-The Government Takes the Risk For Profit

2002 2002 Fannie Freddie Report-Stigllitz and Orszags 

"This analysis shows that, based on historical data, the
probability of a shock as severe as embodied in the riskbased
capital standard is substantially less than one in
500,000 – and may be smaller than one in three million.20
Given the low probability of the stress test shock
occurring, and assuming that Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac hold sufficient capital to withstand that shock, the
exposure of the government to the risk that the GSEs will
become insolvent appears quite low.
Given the extremely small probability of default by the
GSEs, the expected monetary costs of exposure to GSE
insolvency are relatively small — even given very large
levels of outstanding GSE debt and assuming that the
Conclusion 2002 Stiglitz Orszags
government would bear the costs of all GSE debt in the
case of insolvency. For example, if the probability of the
stress test conditions occurring is less than one in
500,000, and if the GSEs hold sufficient capital to
withstand the stress test, the implication is that the
expected cost to the government of providing an explicit
government guarantee on $1 trillion in GSE debt is just
$2 million.
Two other points are worth noting. First, analysis of the
risks posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must
carefully consider the alternatives. In the absence of
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, mortgage risk would likely
be held by large banks and other types of financial
institutions, which themselves benefit from the perception
that they are “too big to fail.” Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac are among the largest financial institutions in the
country. Even in the absence of a GSE charter it is likely
that they would continue to benefit from their size, since
the government has intervened on behalf of other large
institutions in the past.21
Secondly, and more broadly, Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac would likely require government assistance only in a
severe housing market downturn. Such a severe housing
downturn would, in turn, likely occur only in the presence
of a substantial economic shock. Regardless of the
structure of the mortgage market, the government would
almost surely be forced to intervene in a variety of
markets — including the mortgage market — in such a
scenario. Fundamentally, given the public’s aspirations to
homeownership and the myriad ways in which government
subsidies are channeled to homeownership, the
government is indirectly exposed to risks from the
mortgage market regardless of the existence of the GSEs."

(Assumptions-The housing market would not be the cause of a market collapse and that the private Banks were already too big to fail in 2002 and would need rescuing, so the Government should make  more home loans to make more money for the risk they say wasn't present. )

"In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed that by the year 2001, 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low and moderate-income borrowers. Last year, 44 percent of the loans Fannie Mae purchased were from these groups.
The change in policy also comes at the same time that HUD is investigating allegations of racial discrimination in the automated underwriting systems used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to determine the credit-worthiness of credit applicants"
Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending (1999)
Bill Clinton on the Community Reinvestment Act- Bad Mortgages as Affirmative Action
Here's How The Community Reinvestment Act Led To The Housing Bubble's Lax Lending

Leveraged and Derived, the OTC Derivatives  Market

Clinton Says Rubin, Summers Gave `Wrong' Derivatives Advice

"Former President Bill Clinton said his Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers were wrong in the advice they gave him about regulating derivatives when he was in office.
“I think they were wrong and I think I was wrong to take” their advice, Clinton said on ABC’s “This Week” program.
Former President Bill Clinton
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton attends the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York in this file photo. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

Their argument was that derivatives didn’t need transparency because they were “expensive and sophisticated and only a handful of people will buy them and they don’t need any extra protection,” Clinton said. “The flaw in that argument was that first of all, sometimes people with a lot of money make stupid decisions and make it without transparency.”
“Even if less than 1 percent of the total investment community is involved in derivative exchanges, so much money was involved that if they went bad, they could affect 100 percent of the investments,” Clinton said."

The 595 Trillion Dollar OTC Derivatives Market

Dodd Franks Fannie-Trap
A bad law and bad administration rules will only make the housing crisis worse 

"Ironically, about the only two firms Dodd-Frank doesn’t touch are the two most responsible for the crisis: the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In their new book, Reckless Endangerment, New York Times financial columnist Gretchen Morgenson and market analyst Joshua Rosner write that Fannie “led both the private and public sectors down a path that led directly to the financial crisis of 2008.” At the end of the book, the authors note with dismay, as have many conservative critics, that the law doesn’t lay a glove on Fannie and Freddie."

Franklin Raines-Former Head of Fannie Mae and part of Obama2008 Campaign
Franklin Raines Bio at Wiki

Barney Frank on the Housing Market 2005 Barney Frank at Wiki

Thomas Sowell places blame on Greenspan, GW Bush and Barney Frank

Barney Frank on September 25, 2003: "I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing."

Rahm Emanuel Former Chief of Staff for Barack Obama Rahm Emanuel Wiki
Larry Summers the Deregulator and Conflict of Interest  Lawrence Summers at Wiki

"The New Yorker website has a great catch this afternoon: a 57-page memo that Larry Summers wrote to Barack Obama to frame the debate over the stimulus. It's a long, detailed, fascinating report, but only one passage is underlined, or bolded, or italicized. In fact, it was so important to Summers, it got all three treatments. It's this one:
But it is important to recognize that we can only generate about $225 billion of actual spending on priority investments over next two years. and this is after making what some might argue are optimistic assumptions about the scale of investments in areas like Health IT that are feasible over this period.
Here's why this passage was critical. The recession was so deep that it might require up to $1 trillion in stimulus, according to economists surveyed by Summers' team. But the federal government could "only generate about $225 billion of actual spending" in Summers' estimation. To fill the gap, the White House would have to rely on less-than-ideal sources of stimulus spending. Those sources were tax cuts and state relief. "  Larry Summers and the Secret 57 Page Memo On Stimulus  
(A majority of the stimulus money was spent knowing it would have little impact)

Too much on Larry Summers to squeeze into this already long blog.

Blaming President George W Bush for the crisis is in fashion for the Left.  Trillions of dollars have been added to the debt with talks of stimulus and reform.  The cause of the crisis and the major players remain obscured from view and relatively untouched by reform or prosecution. Motive and Opportunity. Transparency or stealth? Your Hope and Change is code for "Progress through Crisis"  Gane ON and Game Over in 2012.

Fabian Socialst Window- London School of Economics

Fan the flames with art/music, reshape the world as a wolf in sheeps clothing. Get the Masses to worship the words of man. "Remold it nearer to your heart's desire"