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Left And Right Politics

…plus the cream in the center.

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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Rick Santelli Rants In Defense Of The TEA Party

Posted by Billy On August - 9 - 2011

This morning, August 8,2001, before the markets even opened, Rick Santelli was asked about what he thought about all the events since last Friday night when Standard and Poors downgraded the credit rating of the U.S. His response as well as his analogies to the current situation is awesome. If you’ve watch CNBC during the trading day on Wall street, you know Rick Santelli for his reports live on the Chicago Board of Trade, where he is also known for his occasional rants. His rants (in my opinion) are so clear and straight to the point, it’s awesome.

Rick Santelli clearly does not agree, condone or accept the lack of leadership in Washington. I have to agree with him myself since I also share that same view. Obama and all the other politicians (both Republicans and Democrats) in Washington (oops I forgot, they’re on five weeks vacation) have shown no leadership skills during the last few months. What happened in the past week is just part of the results.

From Timothy Geithner telling Congress in April, 2011 that he sees no risk at all to the United States losing it’s “AAA” credit rating, to Obama’s lame speech today, we can see the lack of leadership.

If we, the American voter, don’t stand up and tell Congress and the president to do the job we sent them to Washington to do, we as a nation will lose more than we already have.

Here’s the video to Rick Santelli’s rant this morning. I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

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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 Economy Is Still In Danger

Posted by Billy On July - 22 - 2011

Just a little over two years ago, president Obama made the announcement that we are in the recovery stage of the economy. The unemployment rate in June 2009, was 9.5%. Two years later, we are still at 9.2% with no end in sight. As this goes on, many American families are struggling to make ends meet. Well, just like our present federal government, they are turning to their credit cards.

According to First Data Corp.’s (the largest credit card processor) SpendTrend report, which was released this month, shows an ever increasing amount of credit card uses by consumers paying for basic necessities since salary increases are not keeping up with raising food and gasoline prices. Senior vice president at First Data, Silvio Tavares expressed that it may represent the increasing cost of fuel.

Tavares is quoted “Consumers, particularly in the lower-income end, are being forced to use their credit cards for everyday spending like gas and food.” He continued, “That’s because there’s been no other positive catalyst, like an increase in wages, to offset higher prices. It’s a cash-flow problem.”

The cost of food and gasoline are rising and leaving American less money to spend on discretionary items. Tavares said, Household spending accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s largest economy.
While he commented about this is slowing the pace of the economy, I say that we aren’t in the recovery stage yet. How can you slow something down that doesn’t exist?

In the report it shows the increase across the board in regards to credit card usage. Gasoline purchases, up 39% year-over-year ending June 2011 and food shopping increase 5%.

Figures from the Commerce Department show an After-tax income adjusted for inflation fell 0.1%. According the the Labor Department, energy prices climbed 8.2% and food 2% during the same time. That is a major swing in difference for low to middle income families.

We are not out of the woods yet, so for those of you that are feeling the pinch already, work on your budget since I feel that Congress won’t work on their budget, we will continue to struggle a little more. Those who think this increase usage is a sign of consumer confidence coming back, you might want to think again.

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