“After reviewing the Administration’s proposed bailout plan, I believe it is completely unacceptable. This plan does nothing to address the misguided government policies that created this mess and it could make matters much worse by socializing an entire sector of the U.S. economy. This plan fails to oversee or regulate the government failures that led to this crisis. Instead it greatly increases the role for Secretary Paulson whose market predictions have been consistently wrong in the last year, and provides corporate welfare for investment firms on Wall Street that don’t want to disclose their assets and sell them to private investors for market rates. Most Americans are paying their bills on time and investing responsibly and should not be forced to pay for the reckless actions of some on Wall Street, especially when no one can guarantee this will solve our current problems.”
“This plan will not only cause our nation to fall off the debt cliff, it could send the value of the dollar into a free-fall as investors around the world question our ability to repay our debts. It’s also very likely that this plan will extend the cycle of bailouts, encouraging other companies to behave in reckless ways that create the need for even more bailouts, triggering an endless run on our treasury. This plan may make things look better for Wall Street in the next couple months, but the long-term consequences to our economy could be disastrous.
“There are much better ways of dealing with this problem than forcing American taxpayers to pay for every asset some investor doesn’t want anymore. We should start by reforming government policies and programs that created this mess, including the Federal Reserve’s easy money policy, the congressional charters of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Community Reinvestment Act. Then Congress should pass a number of permanent and proven pro-growth reforms to encourage capital formation and boost asset values. We need to make permanent reductions in the corporate tax and the capital gains tax rates. We have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, which encourages companies to take jobs and investment overseas.”
“It’s a sad fact, but Americans can no longer trust the economic information they are getting from this Administration. The Administration said the bailout of Bear Stearns would stop the bleeding and solve the problem, but they were wrong. They said $150 billion in new government spending using rebate checks would solve the problem, but they were wrong again. They said new authority to bailout Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would solve the problem without being used, but they were wrong again. Now they want us to trust them to spend nearly a trillion dollars on more government bailouts. It’s completely irresponsible and I cannot support it.”
These people (the U.S. government) need to be stopped. Every time we get ourselves into an economic mess, there’s usually some milestone idiocy we can point back to as the government action that made the meltdown inevitable.
Take the current housing crisis that has now spread to the financial markets in general. The cause was too-easy credit that fueled a massive increase in housing prices as people bought houses they couldn’t afford with mortgages they weren’t able to pay off.
In 1999 there was roughly $5 trillion in total U.S. mortgage debt. That number ballooned to $12 trillion by 2007, and we know what happened from there (data is from the U.S. Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight). To put this into perspective, total U.S. GDP is about $11 trillion annually, and U.S. government debt is around $9 trillion. If the housing market really falls apart (meaning more than conservative estimates of a 20% drop), there’s no way the government can simply cover these losses.
Why did it happen? Let’s go back to 1999, when Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, was under pressure by the Clinton administration to find a way to get more loans to “borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans.” A pilot program was launched, which soon became general policy. Money flowed to people who couldn’t afford to pay it back.
Paul also noted a release by John Allison, President & CEO of BB&T:
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are the primary cause of the mortgage crisis. These government supported enterprises distorted normal market risk mechanisms. While individual private financial institutions have made serious mistakes, the problems in the financial system have been caused by government policies including, affordable housing (now sub-prime), combined with the market disruptions caused by the Federal Reserve holding interest rates too low and then raising interest rates too high.
There is no panic on Main Street and in sound financial institutions. The problems are in high-risk financial institutions and on Wall Street. …
Let’s hope enough people in Congress are listening.