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Left And Right Politics

…plus the cream in the center.

Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

Fannie And Freddie Are Looking For More Handouts

Posted by Billy On August - 10 - 2011

That’s right the government sponsored mortgage entities are looking to borrow more money from the tax payers of America. Only hours after being downgraded by standard and Poors on Monday, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they would need to ask for a $1.5 billion injection to help balance their books. I am not surprised at the fact that these two businesses (I use that word loosely) can not pay their obligations to the debt holders, the American tax payer. To add insult to injury, they want to take more from the same people who have been keeping them afloat for the last three years.

Both of these companies have been poorly run and not regulated properly for the past 10-15 years. It’s only in the last three years that all the dirt is being revealed. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd started the ball rolling in 1995 drafting a bill, The Fair Housing Act, later signed by president Clinton. The bill was meant to help lower income families to get a mortgage to buy a home. Unfortunately, the politics of Washington strong-armed the mortgage industry into approving just about anyone who wanted a mortgage, even if they couldn’t even afford the down payment and/or the monthly payments. Of course many of the issues didn’t really kick into high gear until years later when more and more people started to realize how easy it was to get a home without any money down and with low interest rates (for the first 2-3 years). Adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) started to pop-up throughout the United States. All of these factors added to the entire housing market collapse as well as the financial situation with both Fannie and Freddie.

In the last three years, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have received over $170 billion and they are no where near getting their heads above water. There is so much leverage within the financial/housing market that it will takes years to correct. Because of that reason, the federal government can not just close the doors on Fannie and Freddie. It would cause major declines in the housing market throughout the country as well as causing the interest rates to skyrocket out of control.

Plans have to be made to start transferring the assets of these two government subsidized programs to the private sector. It’s not something that can be done immediately, it will take 5-7 years to do so, but the idea is to start now so in a few short years America’s housing market will be stable again and more in line to how the mortgage industry needs to be operated.

With private companies running the show, stricter rules will be in place to manage the mortgages as the qualification to getting one. Owning a home should be looked at as a benchmark of a person/family’s success, not as a right to own one because you exist. When the federal government is involved, it becomes more of a political tool to help get a candidate or a particular party into office. Washington has never operated as a business and I doubt they would know how to in the first place.

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Free Phones From The Federal Government?

Posted by Billy On August - 4 - 2011

In the current state of this economy, The federal government has decided to give people, who are already on some sort of entitlement program, a free cell phone and 250 minutes each month. For those of us who pay for our own cell phone and would like to know where the funding for this program is coming from, you’re paying for it, that’s who.

That’s right, you are. If you’re like me, you’re the type that looks at the bill each month to be fully aware of what I’m being charged for. On our monthly bill, there is a charge from the federal government. For each cell phone provider, it’s written different. My company lists it under government fees and taxes. An extra 3% is added to my bill each month. These charges help pay for these free phones. The programs, Assurance Wireless and SafeLink Wireless, are federal government programs to provide free phones to the lower income families.

So how do you qualify for this program? If you are already on some sort of entitlement program, you pretty much qualify. Depending on what state you live in will decide the details of the program.
In the state I live in, Florida, here’s the basics to qualifying:

If you’re on any one (or a combination) of these programs, you qualify.
. Medicaid
. Food Stamps/SNAP
. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
. Temporary Cash Assistance

. Bureau of Indian Affairs Programs (BIA)
. Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) or Section 8
. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
. National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program

The way we read it, this Safelink Wireless program gives you a free cell phone, free monthly service, and free minutes. You qualify even if you make 35% more than the designated “poverty” level or if you’re already getting additional freebies from the government. And we see nothing that indicates you have to be a legal resident of the United States to qualify.

How much more is it going to continue? As it is right now, $1 trillion of the national budget is slated for low-income assistance. I understand that there are people who are in dire straits because of the current (and for some time to come) economic situation, but this is going a little too far now. As we’ve seen in the last week, our country is already having difficulties paying for the programs it has in place. The federal government has gone too far over the last twenty years and if we don’t stop it, it will get worse.

As it is, many Americans are starting to think that the government owes them something just for the simple fact of existing. Why is that? Because the federal government has given the American people that feeling that it’s what they are there for. The federal government has made it where many people have no idea of what the federal government authorities actually are. Americans no longer seem to care about what the government does as long as they’re getting something for free.

These types of programs do nothing but weaken the country as a whole and damages the natural flow of the free market. When will people realize that once the government gets involved with any industry and starts to subsidize any part of it, the products that come out of the industry has gone up for their customers. Doing this is going to do nothing but push the price of service up even more. Each phone that is connected, the phone provider is paid $10 per customer. My own bill’s basic service is $49.95 a month. So how is the company making money off of the program? They charge the individual customer $49.95 for basic service along with the government fees and federal universal charges to make up for the lost.

Until we as Americans stand up to the politicians and their way of doing business, we will continue to deal with programs like this one. Like the old saying goes…”Nothing is forever except for government programs.
These are the things that need to be cut in the budget, I know damn well the Social security and Medicare are just scare tactic tools that politicians use to confuse most Americans.

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The 14th Amendment

Posted by Billy On July - 29 - 2011

As the debt ceiling talks continue to deteriorate into nothing more than school yard standoff, Many democrats are pushing for President Obama to bypass Congress and cite a small provision in the 14th Amendment. The section the Democrats are referring is in Section 4.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Of course they only recite the first sentence of the section. As the text is written, yes, the United States does have an obligation to pay all debts. As any responsible adult should, so should the country/government . The problem I have with the Democrats and the Obama Administration is that they easily omit the most important part of the 14 amendment (in my opinion), Section 5 which reads…

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

I can see why the president and the Democrats in Congress would want to ignore (or fail to mention) section 5. Because as it reads, the legislation branch holds the power of the 14th amendment, which is Congress, not the president. If Obama does overstep his boundaries of the executive branch of the federal government to raise the debt ceiling without the appropriate bil from Congress, it will be an impeachable political move. Obama has said (as well as the media), that he is a Constitutional scholar and understands the Constitution better than anyone. If that’s the case then he also knows the truth about this section and will not enact it. Obama and his aides know that he lacks the Constitutional power to do so, but that doesn’t mean the the Democrats and others alike aren’t pushing for him to change his mind.

So since we’re looking at the 14th Amendment, let’s look at Section 3 for just a moment…

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

As the text reads, neither the president, vice-president or any member of Congress shall engage in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution or given aide or comfort to an enemy of the document. So I guess our executive and most of the legislative are already in violation of this amendment. The Health Care bill, Cap and Trade are just two of the most recent violations against the Constitution, I won’t even try to go back as far as 30 years where there were so many other violations we can consider.

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Debt Ceiling Sham

Posted by Billy On July - 20 - 2011

This week Senator Tom Coburn, (R-Okla) unveiled a major plan to cut the deficit by $9 trillion over the next decade, which also includes tax increases of $1 trillion, tax increases Coburn’s fellow Republicans oppose. The debt ceiling debate has become a sham and the American people are the ones that will lose after it’s all said and done. Then again, the American people are the ones that lose each and every time politicians negotiate.

Coburn’s plan is a joke of what needs to be done to get the economy and the country back on track fiscally. From raising the retirement age to 70 to start collecting Social Security to even proposing that many veterans pay more for their medical care as well as prescription drugs. There are other items of concern in his proposal such as cutting funding for community development grant, student aid, farm subsidies, housing subsidies for the poor and medicare. These things being mentioned are “hot points” for political battles. Just the mention of these items will put someone on the defensive, but let’s be for real, we need to get EVERYTHING in order fiscally if we want to survive as a nation.

Coburn’s plan also includes eliminating $1 trillion in tax breaks over the next ten years. A move that has set off an uproar from the anti-taxation group, Americans For Tax Reform. The plan will prevent taxpayers from claiming the mortgage interest deduction from their second home as well as limiting it to homes worth $500,000. He would also ease taxpayers into higher tax brackets more quickly by using a smaller measure of inflation to adjust the brackets.

Senator Coburn’s figure of $9 trillion in savings doesn’t include an additional $2.4 trillion in cuts to Social Security that will be funneled back into the program. Added to the fact of Coburn’s plan of raising the retirement age, his plan also calls for future benefits to be topped out at a less generous measure of inflation and hinder benefit increases even more for the top 40% of earners.

“I have no doubt that both parties will criticize portions of this plan, and I welcome that debate,” Coburn told reporters. “But it’s not a legitimate criticism until you have a plan of your own.” It’s too bad that many have offered some great ideas, but the powers that be won’t listen to them for the simple fact is that they don’t like the plan.

As a Libertarian, I’m tired of the political moves of the Democrats and the Republicans which will always leave the American people out in the cold while they live the high-life. There are so many unnecessary programs that the federal government is involved in. Many of which, they shouldn’t even be involved in. If the Senate would write the overdue budget, we would be able to see what and where we can cut to save the country. Too bad the democratic controlled Senate has not written a budget in over 800 days. What are they waiting for? I’ll tell you. As long as there isn’t a budget in place, they (politicians) can spend without any checks and balances. It’s just a spending frenzy that isn’t being monitored.

When politicians talk about how much money this program or that plan will save over a period of five, ten, or twenty years, it’s a joke. What they’re doing is what is known as “creative accounting. President Clinton did it during his term by saying that his administration had a surplus of $9 billion and the Democrats like to say that G.W. Bush destroyed and spent it all. In actuality there was never a surplus, it was all “projected” surplus and that is not the same thing as actually having the money in the bank.

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