This humble observer of the asylum we all have to live in believes the answer to both questions is no. The percentage of people, who care enough to seek the truth or who will accept the truth and act on it when exposed to it, is too small. The percentage of people who take their responsibility as voter seriously is, also, too small. And sadly, this has been true for a very long time.
Here are a few examples of truth that is leaking out that shake this country to its core and bring on immediate change. It won’t for the reasons listed above.
In a recent meeting with the Council on Foreign Relations, Barney Frank–the chair of the House Financial Services Committee and a longtime supporter of Fannie and Freddie–admitted that it had been a mistake to force home ownership on people who could not afford it. Renting, he said, would have been preferable. Now he tells us.
Long-term pressure from Frank and his colleagues to expand home ownership connects government housing policies to both the housing bubble and the poor quality of the mortgages on which it is based. In 1992, Congress gave a new affordable housing “mission” to Fannie and Freddie, and authorized the Department of Housing and Urban Development to define its scope through regulations.
Shortly thereafter, Fannie Mae, under Chairman Jim Johnson, made its first “trillion-dollar commitment” to increase financing for affordable housing. What this meant for the quality of the mortgages that Fannie–and later Freddie–would buy has not become clear until now.
‘Just between the two of us,” Bernanke told Moody’s economist Mark Zandi at a recent conference, “I recently tried to refinance my mortgage, and I was unsuccessful.” Though played for laughs, it was no joke.
“I’m not making that up,” Bernanke said. “I think it’s entirely possible (lenders) may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions.”
It’s a stunning admission of failure, coming from the nation’s one-time chief bank manager, who was given enhanced powers over the banking system under the Dodd-Frank financial reforms.
It shows that few of the actions that Bernanke’s Fed took — including the zero-interest-rate policy and quantitative easing, which added trillions of dollars to the banking system — did what they were supposed to.
More broadly, it’s also a reminder that following the government-created financial crisis and subsequent “fixes” — in particular, the Dodd-Frank law — our financial system remains dysfunctional.
What should be a block buster story is related in these articles. I will provide a quote from the last one.
The newly found attention for ProPublica writer Jake Bernstein’s series of articles, which date back almost one whole year, about the experiences of former Fed regulator Carmen Segarra, and the audio files she collected while trying to do her job, leaves no question about this.
What’s going on is abundantly clear, because it is so simple. The intention of the New York Fed as an organization is not to properly regulate, but only to generate an appearance – or illusion – of proper regulation. That is to say, Goldman will accept regulation only up to the point where it would cut into either the company’s profits or its political wherewithal.
What the ‘Segarra Files’ point out is that the New York Fed plays the game exactly the way Goldman wants it played. Ergo: there is no actual regulation taking place, and Goldman will comply only with those requests from the New York Fed that it feels like complying with.
So, will these newly exposed truths result in a general outrage that will change the way our government and regulators do their jobs? Of course not! There are not enough of us who care. These truths serve only to vindicate what some us have been writing about for years _ you know, those of us in the tin-foil hat brigade. I suppose that I should be feeling good for that much. I don’t!
What about voting? Does it really matter if we vote or not? If it does, where is the evidence? Congress passes laws they’ve never read, which were written by their staff. Congress has abdicated most of what powers it had the the Executive branch. Although the Congress has about a 13% approval rating, history tells us that 90% of them will win reelection. Presidents bypass congress and the constitution with their Executive Orders. The real power is in the hands of unelected bureaucrats who are accountable to no one. If Congress doesn’t read their own bills, what is the chance they read any of the thousands of regulations the bureaucrats produce each year? If, by some miracle, we could replace all 535 of our federal politicians in the next elections cycles with honorable conservatives, do you believe they could roll back decades of bad laws and regulations and survive the next election? Our elections have become multi-million dollar shows put on to make us feel like our votes matter. How can they matter when both parties promote growth of government power over the citizens?
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?