Julie Morse

Julie Morse
Location
New York, USA
Birthday
December 31

MY RECENT POSTS

FEBRUARY 18, 2012 2:31AM

Obama's Polished Turd

Rate: 9 Flag
Banks escape accountability If you’re one of the estimated 14 million American homeowners stuck with negative home equity or struggling to make your mortgage payments, you may have cheered the recent news of a national mortgage foreclosure settlement, thinking that help has finally arrived. And it has…kind of. Unfortunately, it probably won’t help you.

In an attempt to make voters believe it can be “tough” on Wall Street, the Obama administration is promoting the approximately $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement between the attorneys general of 49 states and the nation’s five largest banks as a significant accomplishment. The settlement is purported to provide substantial help for homeowners, while holding banks accountable for their  past crimes related to the mortgage crisis and preventing similar illegal actions in future.  In reality, the settlement is nothing more than an election year publicity stunt, savings and opportunities for investors and a “get out of jail really, really cheap” card for Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Ally Financial/GMAC, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America [BofA].

Underwater mortgages The need for mortgage relief is clear. An estimated 12.5% of all outstanding U.S. mortgages, or 6.25 million, are in default or foreclosure. 11 million homeowners are underwater, totaling $750 billion in negative equity alone. More than 1 out of every 10 mortgages is in default or foreclosure; 1 out of every 5 mortgages is worth less than the homeowner owes. On average, those homeowners who are underwater owe $65,000 more on their mortgages than their home is worth.  Since 2007, 4 million families have lost their homes, and foreclosures for 2012 are estimated to exceed 1 million. Since 2006, home prices across the nation have dropped by an average 30%, and by a whopping 40% in Nevada, Florida, California and Arizona; homeowners have lost an astounding $7.3 trillion in home equity.  Home prices decreased around 4% last year, and Fannie Mae’s chief economist, Doug Duncan, estimates that home prices could drop an additional 7% in 2012.

There’s evidence that, far from being over, or on the decline, the situation could become even worse in future. 1 in 7 Nevada residents who purchased homes between 2004-2008 are at least 60 days in default, or are in foreclosure; this is nearly equal to the amount of Nevada homeowners who have already been foreclosed on. Florida’s statistics are even more dire.

In addition to the obvious negative statistics, political considerations demand action in an election year. The mortgage crisis is at its worst so far in the major swing states of Nevada, Florida and Michigan; foreclosure rates are also high in battleground states like Virginia, Michigan, Indiana and North Carolina.  That’s more than enough for most would-be presidential candidates to tackle the topic. But state Attorney Generals might not be as motivated to help the President of the United States [POTUS] boost his poll numbers. Under the settlement, though, states can use settlement funds for purposes other than mortgage relief to troubled homeowners, increasing both incentive and pressure for state AGs to sign on.

Bad idea The perpetrators, details and negative consequences of the ongoing mortgage crisis are fairly obvious. The best possible solutions are pretty obvious, too. For these reasons, it’s all the more surprising that ANY AGs signed onto a settlement granting virtually complete immunity to banks for a crime that is arguably their most common--and most damaging--that provides such dubious and limited benefit to struggling homeowners, let alone all but one. [Oklahoma wisely declined.]

The settlement is expected to help only up to 2 million homeowners, whose loans are owned--or in some cases, serviced by--the five banks that are party to the settlement. The deal excludes mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, which currently represent about 60% of all outstanding mortgages in the U.S. The deal also excludes mortgages owned by banks not party to the settlement and mortgages owned by private investors. Homeowners who are current on payments and do not have negative equity don‘t qualify for relief, even if they‘re having trouble making payments. Homeowners with second mortgages are, for some reason, eligible.

Eligibility Eligibility is confusing. The banks are required to notify eligible homeowners, but since homeowners won’t know whether or not they are eligible, it’s conceivable that banks could simply fail to notify them without suffering adverse consequences. Homeowners whose loans are serviced by participating banks may believe they will be eligible for relief due to confusion over who actually owns their loans, since servicing banks are not obligated to tell homeowners when their loans have been sold; to the homeowner, it would appear that they servicing bank owned their loan. News of the settlement may encourage troubled homeowners who have barely managed to keep current on payments to default in anticipation of receiving assistance; unfortunately, in most cases, that assistance would never be realized, due to the extremely narrow current scope of eligibility, paving the way to even more foreclosures and economic loss.

An administrator to oversee the settlement will not be chosen for two months; actual help to homeowners won’t even begin for an estimated six to nine months. Banks are being given three years to fully meet the terms of the settlement, which will be about three years too late for the large number of homeowners already in, or at risk of foreclosure.

The settlement places a higher priority on preventing future foreclosures than on rectifying past illegal foreclosures, which fails to hold banks accountable for their crimes. Banks would receive more credit for helping homeowners owing less than 175% the value of their home, and less credit for helping those who owe more than 175%, giving banks less incentive to help many of those homeowners who are in the most need of relief.

Principal reductions, loan modifications and refinancings will only be available to a small portion of homeowners under the terms of the settlement, as these banks only own about 7.3% of all outstanding single-family mortgages in the U.S., per Inside Mortgage Finance. This leaves 92% of American homeowners ineligible for any type of mortgage relief.

Up to $17 billion is supposed to be used for principal reduction and “other forms of loan modification”. While this may sound substantial, it’s really not.   According to the New York Federal Reserve, homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages owe an average $65,000 more than their homes are worth.  Even if every one of the 2 million homeowners were to receive principal reduction, their mortgages would only be reduced by about $8500 each, on average.  When someone is underwater by 175% or more [or even less], subtracting $8500 from the total owed isn’t going to provide significant relief.

Only $3 billion will be used to refinance loans to reduce interest rates.

$1.5 billion will be provided to 750,000 homeowners who were foreclosed on by these five banks from September 2008 to December 2011, which amounts to a $1500-2000 pittance for each of those who wrongfully lost their homes, tens of thousands of dollars or more in mortgage payments, relocation costs, legal fees, and even stress-related medical costs. It isn’t clear whether these homeowners are included in the estimated number of homeowners assisted by the settlement.

Greed $5 billion goes to the states and the federal government; there’s no requirement that it be used for mortgage-related relief, enforcement or prevention. Two states, including the politically torn Wisconsin, have already announced that they will be using a considerable portion--about 20%--of their state’s settlement funds to help balance state budgets rather than help homeowners desperate for relief.   Additional states are expected to make similar announcements.  Cleveland, who has been forced to divert funds from programs aimed at helping needy families find affordable housing to paying for the demolishing of vacant, deteriorating houses, expects to use $72 million in settlement funds to demolish deteriorating bank-owned foreclosures and other vacancies.  Cleveland is suing to recoup additional taxpayer funds spent managing the bank-owned blight.  The foreclosure epidemic has been hard on Ohio, a historically important state in presidential elections.

The settlement appears to remove the responsibility of handling missing, erroneous and/or fraudulent foreclosure documentation from the courts to an “independent monitor”. Fraudulent, missing or erroneous documentation would no longer be a valid defense for homeowners against wrongful foreclosure; those cases would instead be referred to the independent monitoring agency. Banks would be allowed to fix “errors” in foreclosures; this practice by the courts led to the fabrication and forgery of foreclosure documents by the banks. The banks would be exempt from civil fines stemming from these illegal foreclosure practices for up to 1% of their loans. It is unclear how the exemption would be calculated, considering that the number of outstanding mortgages held by the banks changes daily.

Bloomberg news reports that the settlement may spur a wave of home seizures, as foreclosures slowed during settlement negotiations. Home prices may continue to drop as foreclosures increase; RealtyTrac estimates that one million foreclosures will be completed in 2012, up 25% from 2011. Falling home prices As home prices continue to decrease, homeowners sink even deeper underwater; the amount of equity they own in their home decreases while they continue to owe more than their homes are worth. 

Previous signed settlements with banks have proven ineffective. In 2009, Nevada’s Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto, along with the AGs for 10 other states, signed an agreement with Bank of America over fraudulent foreclosure practices at Countrywide, the subprime mortgage lender purchased by BofA. Although the settlement required BofA to provide up to $8.4 billion in loan modifications and foreclosure relief to 400,000 customers, only $216 million of relief had been provided by 2011; in August 2011, Masto asked the courts to void the agreement so that Nevada could pursue alternate remedies on its own.

Political favors Separate from the settlement, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced a new Fannie Mae program that would allow investors to purchase foreclosed homes in bulk to be managed as rentals in a bid to reduce their foreclosure inventory. Investors, who accounted for more than 20% of home purchases in December, are expected to take advantage of bargain prices--30 to 40 cents on the dollar-- and demand for rentals, provided they can meet the $1 million net worth required by Fannie's prequalification form. Private equity funds have already announced plans to purchase billions of dollars worth of foreclosures, and more foreclosure properties will be available at lower prices as a result of the settlement; there are nearly four times as many homes in some stage of foreclosure as there currently are in the programs' inventory.

Turd Polish It’s pretty clear who the winners and losers are in this game. A big smelly turd has been polished and spun into “the largest consumer financial protection settlement in U.S. history”. A large portion of the American public will, unfortunately, see it that way, though homeowners desperately seeking assistance will soon discover differently. Once again, the homeowners have been screwed thoroughly by the banks, this time with the eager assistance of the state and federal governments. For the bargain price tag of $5 billion each [on average], banks have purchased a cheap legal solution to the sticky problems their own crimes created; most homeowners have been denied the help they so badly need, and stripped of a critical legal defense to foreclosure.

 The three year time limit for terms fulfillment indicates that the government is expecting the news of the settlement to accomplish more than the settlement itself. Worse, since three years is about three years too late for millions of homeowners; since less than 10% of homeowners would be eligible for any type of settlement relief; since the type of relief most promoted in the settlement is too small to be largely effective, the entire positive impact of the settlement for homeowners may consist merely of the brief glimmer of hope experienced upon the announcement of the settlement.

Win Button The settlement provides positive conditions for investors, creating conditions under which home prices decrease even more, and foreclosures increase. This allows investors to snap up large numbers of homes at rock-bottom prices; these homes can be held and rented until prices increase.

Worst POTUS ever But President Obama comes out best. In one fell swoop, he’s gift-wrapped tremendous savings, stabilized/increased stock prices and an escape from legal issues for the banks; supplied his Wall Street campaign contributors with promising, bargain investment opportunities; gained considerable political capital in the battleground and swing states by supplying extra cash in times of budget difficulties; convinced homeowners, gullible in their desperation, that he’s on their side; and increased his poll numbers and popular support in an election year by presenting the American people with a big polished turd that will float around for the next three years while American homeowners circle the drain.

President Obama is, perhaps, one of the greatest American politicians ever.

Which would make him one of the worst Americans ever.

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

http://www.newyorkfed.org/newsevents/speeches/2012/dud120106.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/foreclosure-settlement-deadline_n_1258833.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/02/robo-signing-settlement_n_1251025.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/business/states-negotiate-26-billion-agreement-for-homeowners.html?_r=1

http://www.responsiblelending.org/mortgage-lending/research-analysis/disparities-in-mortgage-lending-and-foreclosures-maps-data.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/mortgage-settlement-fannie-mae-freddie-mac-principal-reductions-fhfa_n_1268887.html

 

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So…this essay reduces to:

Obama is doing something that will help him politically…and his campaign financially, but “the something he is doing” is not nearly as good a deal as is being pictured—and a case can be made that there may actually be negative aspects to it.

Further, when all is said and done, the little guy is going to get screwed.

Because of this, you conclude that Obama is one of the worst presidents ever…and one of the worst Americans ever.

And you title yourself “sickofstupid!!!!”
How unfortunate it is that this valuable information will never reach most of the people who really need to see it. Obama's entire presidency has been marked by making it obvious to those who have been watching, and thinking, that the US now has only one political philosophy that is masquerading as two political parties.

Get out the KY folks, here they come again! And with an even bigger pole this time!

If I could only read one blog a week, it would be yours.....

RRR
.
Thanks for doing such a meticulous job writing this up. I'll be back to check some of the links- I'm still trying to absorb it all.
apisa: "And you title yourself “sickofstupid!!!!”

Note that to varying degrees, every other commenter understands this blog post. When she says sick of stupid, she's referring directly to those who "think" in depth like you, moron.

Dare anyone say, ANYTHING critical of fRANK's lord and savior and out from under the rock he slithers.


-R-
How did I know that Frank Apisa would comment on this one? Has Obama ever done anything you didn't approve of, Frank?

Great post! [r]
Profkeck wrote:

How did I know that Frank Apisa would comment on this one? Has Obama ever done anything you didn't approve of, Frank?

Great post! [r]


I cannot answer the first question, but I am honored that you are thinking of me.

As to the second question: Yes, Obama has done thing of which I do not approve…and also has not done things that I wish he had gotten done.

But all things considered, I doubt any progressive or Democrat could have gotten much more accomplished than Obama…and I certainly consider him a better person for the job than anyone the Republicans are offering.
Thanks for reading, Frank.

You summed up the piece pretty well, but my conclusion wasn't based solely on the essay.

One, I was trying to make a point about most politicians, including President Obama, being terrible for America and Americans [apparently, I made the point poorly]. People who excel at politics tend to be those who end up selling out both their ideals and the people they are supposed to represent--that's just generally the way American politics work. Some are different, but that's rare.

Two, my conclusion about President Obama was based on much more than just this deal. I consider him such a bad President, in part, because he offered the People so much hope, and the promise of specific change during his campaign, most of which was not delivered, and much of which was directly contradicted by Obama's actions throughout his presidency.

It could certainly be argued that the People should have expected things to turn out this way, based on detailed written information on Obama's opinions, which was available before his election, had people actually looked for it. But it seems that people are, in some ways, not as cynical as they need to be about politics. Obama seemed so different, like a breath of fresh air. They truly believed him, and he energized them, and few thought to investigate his past opinions to better evaluate the truthfulness of his campaign statements. As a result, many of Obama's supporters experienced feelings of loss and betrayal when his actions failed to match his campaign promises in the way they had expected.

Disappointing so many Americans to such a degree isn't an attractive quality in an American, or a President, and certainly not in a POTUS who made much of America believe that he would be different.
Thanks for reading, etc., rw, Peter; much obliged.
sky, you made me blush! Thanks again for being a regular here.
Kevin, no problem! Thanks for reading it. I'm trying to move into providing more of the references and sources I used to develop my opinion; it's tedious, but I'm happy to know that someone's getting some use out of them. I do try to use sources from both sides of the aisle; feel free to let me know if the balance seems off.
Mark & prof--thanks for continuing to read & comment, and for your support; it's much appreciated.
I appreciate Your thanks, but it is I who should be thanking You. It is stupid that got america into it's untenable position it is now in; and therefore, I too, am

sick of stupid.

As an example, fRANK says: "Yes, Obama has done thing (sic) of which I do not approve . . . ," but steadfastly refuses, for three years, to enumerate even one.

Slogans and empty passive-agressive sociopathic epithets is his stock in trade.

Just what is it, apisa that you didn't approve of I ask rhetorically knowing the only response will be the stolid sounds of silence?

Details and facts are an anathema to fRANK.
Thank you for that response, SOS.

I was pretty sure your feelings were not based solely on the info in your essay.

My point in all this right along has been:

The expectations for Obama were way, way too high. Anyone who did not see that he was going to be pushing a heavy rock up a steep hill throughout his administration—simply was not thinking things through enough.

Yes, he made promises he did not keep. Every candidate who has ever run for president has made promises he did not keep. I consider myself to be a rational person…and I never for one moment thought he was going to keep all his promises. In fact, I would have bet big bucks that he would not come close to doing so. I intend to vote for him in November, and if he should win (I suspect he will not) I do not in any way expect him to keep most of the promises he makes. The deck was stacked against him in his first term; and if he wins a second, it will be stacked against him again.

MY OPINION: FDR would not have gotten more than Obama did; Robert Kennedy would not have gotten more than Obama did; I doubt LBJ would have gotten more than Obama did.

It is my contention that we cannot fault him as much as you do…considering what he was facing.

SOS, HE IS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR. Yes, he is playing the political game (which is what I expect from every politician)…but that is the only way to get into power (and stay there)…and it does absolutely no good to have ideas for changing America for the better if you are not willing to do whatever has to be done to be elected.

Sorry you are so disappointed in him…you seem more reasonable than many who are opposed to him. Don’t know what else to say, except that I will vote for him in November; I will do so with pleasure; and I will do so knowing that any alternative would be a lesser choice for me to make.

Thanks again for listening to me…and for the kind response. I take back the smarmy “sickofstupid” remark; you deserve more respect than that.
Note, once again, not a single word of substance and just as I predicted not a single response to what apisa theoretically objected to from obama.

frank IS obama's (un) polished turd.
I found this to be a very well prepared and presented post on a subject that surely has different implications for different folks. On the subject of the "government assist" loans, or more accurately described as "interest modifications," according to our CPA, these have both negative and positive aspects, depending on the homeowner's loan position and financial status. When I got the call from Chase, I was very skeptical of the substantial reduction in interest rate and a monthly savings of a grand a month! What's the catch? After thorough investigating and understanding of the offer, we took the deal, which only added 4 more years to the life of our original mortgage loan and at nearly half the interest rate. Having the extra grand a month to pay off credit card debt and even "save" a little money, was too good to be true. Maybe it is? But for the present time, it is easing financially strangling circumstances and has helped our bottom line overall. Now, given that, our circumstances were likely rare (as you mentioned in your post and likely affects few). I own the house and have zero income, so I qualified for the reduction, etc., even tho my husband has a nice income. Go figure?! I was pretty stunned, too. So, we are reducing our debt and will still pay off our loan within 4 years of our original payoff. This was a giant carrot to us. I do know the caveats to others, however, whose homes are worth far less than what is owed. In our case, our home is still worth substantially more than the balance and made sense for the time being. Fingers crossed. Very informative and well presented post.
UPDATE: Added two links and some info on Cleveland's plans for their $72 million share of the settlement.
I appreciate it, Frank.

I guess I take issue with politicians "promising" that they're going to accomplish goals they know full well depend on the assistance of others, because they know it's a lie but much of the public doesn't. I don't feel that it's necessary to promise to actually accomplish these stated goals; just promise to WORK TOWARD accomplishing them. My guess is that most politicians would not even keep those less difficult promises.

It does disturb me that so many in America appear to have little problem voting for documented liars; it disturbs me even more that we are pretty much all in agreement that the vast majority of American politicans are liars, yet we vote for them anyway. That is definitely one realization that drains my hope for restoring America.
Thanks for the info, and for reading, Cathy. I'm glad that some people have gotten at least a little help; now let's hope they come up with something better for Fannie and Freddie customers than offering bargain-basement bundled-foreclosure prices to millionaire investors...
Sickofstupid, thanks for the response. Here are a few more thoughts:

I guess I take issue with politicians "promising" that they're going to accomplish goals they know full well depend on the assistance of others, because they know it's a lie but much of the public doesn't. I don't feel that it's necessary to promise to actually accomplish these stated goals; just promise to WORK TOWARD accomplishing them. My guess is that most politicians would not even keep those less difficult promises.

I think the “work toward” is implicit in most so-called promises that politicians make…just as the notion that accomplishments of goals are “dependent upon others” is implicit in democratic governance. Only dictatorships ever have the other kinds of accomplishments.

It does disturb me that so many in America appear to have little problem voting for documented liars…

If you want to vote, can you suggest any other kind of person for whom to vote? Can you name ANY politician that you know (or have reason to suppose)—was not a liar? Every politician I can think of will probably acknowledge (or at least not deny) lies both of the documented and undocumented kind. With all the respect in the world, SOS, it is unrealistic to think a person can survive in the harsh world of politics without lots and lots of lies.


…it disturbs me even more that we are pretty much all in agreement that the vast majority of American politicans are liars, yet we vote for them anyway. That is definitely one realization that drains my hope for restoring America.

Allow me a stab at this if I may. I hope I am not being presumptuous, but I want to at least present an alternative perspective for you to consider.

You said, “restoring America”…which means you think America once was acceptable to you…and that it could get back to that condition—but that your hopes for restoration are draining because we vote for liars despite the fact that we know they are liars.

SOS…American politicians have always been liars. So have the politicians of every other republic. That goes with the territory, so to speak; politicians CANNOT survive telling the truth, because they have to appeal to too many and too disparate an electorate. If we ever were great—we were great while lying politicians were in power. Any democracy that has ever been great has been great while lying politicians were running the country.

If America or any country had to depend on voting only for people who do not lie in order to be decent countries—no country would ever be a decent country.

Voting, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, reduces to choosing the person who will do most to further an agenda we have in mind…or choosing the person who will do the least damage to the agenda. To put it in its basest form (I do NOT agree with this characterization) we are ALWAYS voting for the lesser of two evils.

If you want a fairer, more decent country, SOS, if you want a country with safety-nets for the poor and with efforts toward strengthening those safety-nets and initiating new ones—and if you think the person holding the presidency is important to that agenda…

…your choice is absolutely clear in this next election. Barack Obama is much more likely to further an agenda of that sort than any of the candidates being considered by the Republican Party; the candidate of the Republican Party is MUCH more likely to do significant damage to that agenda; and none of the proposed third party candidates has a snowballs chance in Hell of beating either of those two. In any case, both the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate have a chance of getting the “they depend on others” factor…and any third party winner would be floundering.

Hope you finally resolve this in Barack Obama’s favor…or that you live in a state so blue a lost vote will have minimum impact.
Sorry, your comments are supposed to be in bold, but I screwed up. I'm sure you can make sense of which are mine and which are yours.
Why apologize for screwing up fRANK. Almoat everything you say is a screw up. you paint an inherently stupid broad brush statement when you ask: "Can you name ANY politician that you know (or have reason to suppose)—was not a liar?"

To the best of your "knowledge" has Aung San Suu Kyi ever lied? This is a trick question because your knowledge is so limited; and because even if you knows/know who she is, you never reply to substantive questions.

Furthermore, passive-aggressive as ever, you say: "To put it in its basest form (I do NOT agree with this characterization) we are ALWAYS voting for the lesser of two evils."

If you don't agree with the characterization, why are you making it???
"knows/know" should be "know/knew."
Thank you for detailing all this. This is a good example of why so many of us feel disillusioned with the Obama administraition. It's not just a matter of "not going far enough."
Thanks for stopping by again, Donegal. I agree.
Frank, I appreciate the continued discussion. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to disagree with much of what you said.

I suppose a promise to "work toward" a stated goal might be inherent in a promise to achieve that stated goal. I also acknowledge that ours is a system in which the POTUS is limited as to what he or she can accomplish without the cooperation of others.

However, I dispute that politicans must lie, or die, in the world of politics. I disagree that a truthful vow to work towards a particular goal would be less effective than a blatant untruth to achieve said goal, particularly when the politician that makes it is well aware of large-scale opposition. To believe otherwise is to say that all politicians must be inherently dishonest in order to succeed, and I just don't believe that. The politician who feels that he must lie to win is either not a politician that has the People's best interests at heart, a politician who is too lazy to explain how his plan is in the best interests of the People, or a politician who feels that the People are simply too inferior and stupid to understand such an explanation. I don't want any of those types of politicians representing me in Congress, or leading my country. To secure the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, among other inalienable rights, "...governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." When a politician lies to the People, with the specific intent of deceiving them in order to gain office, he lacks the true consent of the governed, as he only obtained that consent through duplicity.

The American people don't always seem to have a good grasp on the specific responsibilities, abilities and limitations of the office of the POTUS. Part of that misunderstanding is likely due to the misrepresentations of those campaigning for that office, and the misrepresentations of those attempting to blame that office for various legislative failures. Most politicians aren't going to go out of their way to set the record straight, because it benefits them for the People to believe otherwise. If more of the People were aware, they would be more difficult to lie to for political gain.

Truthful politicians don't mean the death of democracy. Far from it; if politicians actually told the truth, the People would be better placed to select those politicians who truly represent them, rather than electing a Democrat who turns out to be more of a Republican, or vice versa.

The ONLY thing that stands between us and a more representative, truthful government is US. If we knowingly allow politicians to lie to us, and fail to hold them accountable for their untruths, WE have created the system that encourages and rewards lies. If we brush off the lies, assume and express the thought that "all politicians lie", we are responsible for creating and fostering a government that does not represent the People.

Informing the public, disabusing the notion that lying is okay, and demanding the truth, and any necessary accompanying explanations, about politicians' positions and proposed policies is our path back to a representative government that has any hope of restoring our nation back to one in which our inalienable rights and Constitutional rights are protected, preserved and defended against any and all who seek to destroy them, for whatever reason.
As for the rest of your comment, Frank...

Safety nets for the nation are important to me; the current state of our nation is such that we cannot manage without them. However, I believe that the widespread objections to safety nets have come about as a result of politicians blaming those who use them for the nation's debt, which just isn't true. Correcting misinformation would go a long way towards reducing opposition. I also believe that if the use of safety net programs could be reduced, opposition would naturally decrease, the main reason for objecting having virtually disappeared. Basically, I support safety nets, but I also support action and legislation that would greatly reduce the need for them.

Our Constitution and Constitutional rights are also very important to me, and for that reason, there are very few politicians I am able to support. Barack Obama isn't one of them, nor would he ever be. A POTUS who could so blatantly defy the Constitution in a variety of ways is not a person that deserves re-election; in my book, he deserves impeachment, at a minimum.

I don't think that everything POTUS Obama has done is terrible. I do think that even his positive achievements come with negatives that endanger the future of those achievements. For example, the payroll tax cut, while minimally beneficial to the working poor and middle class, is problematic to the future of the Social Security program. Unquestionably, relief could have easily been granted in a form that had nothing whatsoever to do with Social Security and/or Medicare, yet he chose the route that did. One has to ask why he chose to do so.

Additionally, POTUS Obama's actions with regard to "national security" are frightening. The extension of the [anti-]Patriot Act, the signing of the NDAA 2012 as soon as additional Executive powers were written in, the expansion of illegal SOCOM covert operations to 120 nations, the assassination of an American citizen without trial, or even any evidence supporting such action being released to the public, etc. Those are actions that simply cannot be permitted to continue, because they endanger every American citizen, present and future, along with the foundations of America itself.

But fear not, Frank. I live in New York, home to Wall Street. I doubt that my feeble cries in the dark will outweigh the excess of campaign contributions by the monied elite.

But if you should ever find yourself doubting your choice of candidate, and openminded to explanation, feel free to ask me who I support, and why.
Sickofstupid…I think it is obvious we have very, very little chance of agreeing on most of the stuff we’ve discussed so far. You obviously have considered the options carefully; and I guarantee you I have also. Barack Obama, in my opinion, is by far the best choice of the ones being offered…and while I am doubtful he will be able, in the current political climate, to further the progressive agenda I champion, he most definitely is the one least likely to damage it further.

I am interested, however, in one comment you made.


But if you should ever find yourself doubting your choice of candidate, and openminded to explanation, feel free to ask me who I support, and why.

If you actually have an individual you think can win this next election and whom you support, I certainly am open-minded enough to listen to an explanation (even to a campaign speech) from you on that person’s behalf. I doubt I will have serious doubts about supporting Barack Obama (I have considered this very, very carefully)…but I certainly will listen, consider and respond to what you have to say.
Thanks for your willingness to be openminded, Frank. You'll have to be VERY openminded, because my candidate has gotten such a bad rap in the media, but I'm willing to put it out there.

My candidate would better the circumstances of the People by ending the flow of money from taxpayer pockets to foreign nations, by cutting a quarter trillion dollars from "defense" spending in his first year as POTUS, and reducing the national deficit by cutting a trillion dollars in spending in his first year, thereby reducing taxes. He would also work toward ending our fiat currency by backing our dollars with items of inherent value; this helps Americans by eliminating the ability of the Federal Reserve to devalue the few dollars we have on a whim. He would eliminate several federal agencies that duplicate state agencies, removing red tape, confusion and expense without risking harm to Americans.

My candidate would de-regulate marijuana at the federal level, allowing states to legislate medical marijuana and industrial hemp. Legal industrial hemp would spawn a wave of new industries, which would create many new jobs that pay well, stimulate the economy, and take a significant step towards the return of the prosperous American middle class. Medical marijuana has provided relief to many, and has provided an additional, substantial source of income for cash-strapped states.

My candidate has a compassionate plan for Social Security, in that everyone who has paid into Social Security would receive Social Security; young workers would be able to "opt out" of the system.

My candidate supports the sovereignty of Israel, would allow them to make their own foreign policy decisions, and would end the foreign aid to their enemies that makes it possible.

My candidate would adopt a non-interventionist approach to foreign policy, making us safer from harm through diplomacy. We would retain our nuclear arsenal, our fleets and our troops, to be used in the event that actions negatively affecting America's interests occur.

My candidate would end the pointless, failed, expensive "wars" on drugs and terrorism, potentially saving trillions of dollars and substantially reducing the pricy nonviolent prison population.

My candidate would close most of the expensive 1000 [estimated due to classified information] American military installations on foreign soil, and bring all our troops home to proprly secure our leaky borders. The ease with which people unofficially cross our borders highlights a grave flaw in our national security; if thousands of Mexicans can cross undetected, so can radicals who want to harm us, and they can bring WMDs with them.

My candidate would end bank bailouts, preferring true capitalism to crony corporatism. He would work toward true free trade, which would help eliminate the current trade deficits that harm Americans and come about as a result of "free" trade agreements.

My candidate would decrease the size of federal government by returning powers to the states. He would work towards the elimination of unconstitutional legislation, such as the NDAA 2012, the Patriot Act, etc., and would refuse to sign legislation that exceeds Constitutional scope.

My candidate IS electable. Though he focuses his campaign on caucus states, and those states which do not bind delegates, his supporters regularly accept delegate spots for other candidates when the supporters of those candidates cannot muster enough enthusiasm to serve; this is the rule rather than the exception. This is important because even bound delegates are unbound after the first round of nominating at the convention. My candidate's supporters generally will not support or vote for anyone other than my candidate; this is not so for the other candidates. Therefore, my candidate must only win enough delegates to force a second round of voting at the convention, because the supporters of other candidates are much more likely to bend. In the general election, my candidate would enjoy the support of most Republican voters [due to their ridiculous "anyone but Obama" campaign], many disillusioned Democrats, and a large number of independents. My candidate polls well against POTUS Obama, often coming to within the margin for a statistical tie against him.

My candidate's support would grow even larger and more enthusiastic if he were to receive fair, unbiased media coverage. In the meantime, his supporters will continue to erase the erroneous portrait the media has painted by informing the public and engaging in civil debate.
Thanks, SOS.

Sounds to me as though your candidate is Ron Paul. I am going to proceed with my comments as though he is the candidate to whom you refer.

Let me start my reply with your last comment:

My candidate's support would grow even larger and more enthusiastic if he were to receive fair, unbiased media coverage. In the meantime, his supporters will continue to erase the erroneous portrait the media has painted by informing the public and engaging in civil debate.

Of all the Republican candidates, Paul does seem to be the most civil in his debate. Even when presenting notions that I consider objectionable, I enjoy seeing him stay focused and reasonably courteous. But I do not see the media giving him biased or unfair coverage. I think the criticisms of his agenda is reasonable…and fair; I think the public’s criticisms of him and his agenda is reasonable and fair also. To blame his lack of appeal to the general voting public on the media, in my opinion, is a refusal to see him in a reasonable light….mostly because it is a rather negative perspective.

There are some items in your list of things he “will do if elected” that I would like to see done; there are some I think should not see the light of day—and there are almost none that I see as potentials for actually getting done by Paul. Of all the candidates (including Obama) he is the person who would get the least cooperation from the congress—and ultimately, the congress will decide many of the items on your list.

On a few specifics, I would say:

…ending the flow of money from taxpayer pockets to foreign nations…

We do not send money, we send products. Money going to foreign countries means jobs and business here in the US. Stopping it mean less business and fewer jobs.

…cutting a quarter trillion dollars from "defense" spending in his first year as POTUS…

He will only get that done after pigs learn to whistle and fly. And if he did get it done, it would be a stab in the back to the American economy of catastrophic proportions. Much less business…and many fewer jobs.

…reducing the national deficit by cutting a trillion dollars in spending in his first year, thereby reducing taxes.

This would devastate our economy and throw jobs into the cellar. We do not need to cut taxes in America—our taxes are already relatively low. In my opinion, we have to stop with the “taxes are too high” and raise them…although we must do so carefully and with thought to getting back to where taxes were they were when Ronald Reagan was president.


My candidate would de-regulate marijuana at the federal level, allowing states to legislate medical marijuana and industrial hemp. Legal industrial hemp would spawn a wave of new industries, which would create many new jobs that pay well, stimulate the economy, and take a significant step towards the return of the prosperous American middle class. Medical marijuana has provided relief to many, and has provided an additional, substantial source of income for cash-strapped states.

I was on the front lines of efforts to legalize marijuana when it was still suspect to do so. It would be a decent move…and it would raise some cash by taxing it. You grossly over-estimate its impact as a cash crop…and as a source of employment.

My candidate has a compassionate plan for Social Security, in that everyone who has paid into Social Security would receive Social Security; young workers would be able to "opt out" of the system.

I am sure he would do his best to end one of the most important and successful safety net programs in the country…and I think he has as much chance of pulling it off as he has of lifting the Empire State Building with his bare hands.

My candidate would end the pointless, failed, expensive "wars" on drugs and terrorism, potentially saving trillions of dollars and substantially reducing the pricy nonviolent prison population.

He would attempt to do that…and I would support him with every fiber of my body. If successful, it would save lots of bucks (I doubt trillions) and it would reduce the unnecessary prison population due to drugs. My guess is his other policies would quickly increase that population because of the devastating effect they would have on the poor of our nation…who would resort to violent crime to survive.

Your candidate would try to close lots of bases…and would fail, for the most part. His efforts to close the borders would end up causing more problems than now exist because of relatively porous borders. There is no way anyone will close our borders sufficiently to insure we will not be attacked again…which more than likely will happen no matter the condition of our borders.

My candidate would end bank bailouts, preferring true capitalism to crony corporatism. He would work toward true free trade, which would help eliminate the current trade deficits that harm Americans and come about as a result of "free" trade agreements.

My candidate would decrease the size of federal government by returning powers to the states. He would work towards the elimination of unconstitutional legislation, such as the NDAA 2012, the Patriot Act, etc., and would refuse to sign legislation that exceeds Constitutional scope.


This is a dream.

My candidate IS electable.

So are you…so am I. But Paul has about as much chance of being elected as either of us. Sorry to put it that way—your “heart” is in the right place, but you are holding false hope.

SOS…I understand where you are coming from…and I feel the frustration. But Ron Paul is not the answer…and he may very well be part of the problem.

Nothing done in the November election will substantially help America; the American economy; or the dangers to our country. At best, we have to hope for people in power who will (probably) not make the problems much worse.

I think Barack Obama is that person.

(If Ron Paul is not your person...the same comments hold for whomever the person actually is.)
Don't you get it, apisa? She's sick of stupid. There are any number of places your stupidity would be equally unwelcome,

Why don't you slither over to one of them for awhile?

Oh, and incidentally:

"The Ron Paul Media Blackout Is Back On

JOHN HUDSON 77,530 ViewsJAN 26, 2012
After a brief spike in interest, the mainstream media coverage of GOP candidate Ron Paul is back to nearly nothing, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. This week, less than 5 percent of all campaign stories focused on Paul, the lowest point since Dec. 11. when strong performances in Iowa and New Hampshire helped stoke some interest. Over the same period, Paul's performance in the polls has only improved, going from the single digits to 12.7 percent, putting him nearly even with Rick Santorum, in the current RealClearPolitics average."

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/01/ron-paul-media-blackout-back/47925/

Can't someone inform this moron that there's a program called Google, so he doesn't have to constantly rely on repetitious uninformed "In my opinions . . ." and stupid slogans?
Frank, I want to thank you for your continued civility in our discussions. To me, this illustrates that even those who are far apart in viewpoint can debate with civility and learn from one another. It's greatly appreciated. I also appreciate your style of addressing specific points from my arguments, as this facilitates ease of debate. Thanks again.

Indeed, my candidate is physician and Congressman Ron Paul. For the record, I'm always happy to discuss Dr. Paul, his personal views, his official positions, and his proposed policies in detail; I believe Dr. Paul is the only candidate who can--and will-- return us to peace, widespread prosperity and the founding concepts of America, and I believe that these goals must be achieved in order to restore America to greatness.

The mainstream media [MSM] coverage, or lack of it, regarding Dr. Paul has decidedly not been fair or unbiased. Accurate journalism coverage of any topic involves reporting all relevant facts and excluding all opinion [save for relevant quotes/interviews and, perhaps, political pundits, though pundits should be limited to fact-based analysis]. Dr. Paul has never enjoyed the benefit of fair, accurate and unbiased MSM coverage.

If we look at the history of MSM coverage this election season, we find that Dr. Paul was first the subject of a MSM blackout, so much so that Jon Stewart of The Daily Show fame did a bit on it; other independent media outlets made note of the Ron Paul MSM blackout as well.

Shortly following that Daily Show episode, Dr. Paul began receiving MSM coverage that referred to him as "crazy", "a loon", and "dangerous", among other snide and snarky phrases. Use of any of these is highly biased, whether or not one agrees with the sentiment, unless the MSM outlet reporting has verification in the form of mental health or violent criminal records, or the subject in question is, in fact, a Gavia ademsii or similar.

During this period of time, the MSM began employing extremely dirty tactics; CNN was a major offender. During one CNN interview, Dr. Paul was repeatedly asked the same question, over and over and over; he repeatedly answered the question he was asked, to no avail; the reporter refused to accept the direct answer and move on. Dr. Paul ended the interview when this became clear. CNN aired only the portion of the 10-minute-plus interview that showed the CNN reporter asking the question-- again -- and Dr. Paul's irritated exit from the set; the MSM reported only on this portion as well, though the full, unedited interview was and is available from a number of online sources. CNN used the same tactic in an ambush of Dr. Paul outside a diner in NH after a campaign event was cancelled due to a media mob; Dr. Paul's wife had been shoved by a reporter, and the diner was packed so full of aggressive reporters that it proved impossible for Dr. Paul to reach his supporters. Reading about the actual events, then reading CNN's version of events is enlightening.

Dr. Paul's numerous straw poll wins have been largely skipped over; he placed an extremely close second in the Iowa straw poll, but first and third places were the headline. His strong finishes in caucuses and primaries have also been largely underreported, despite his support doubling and tripling from 2008.

The MSM again adopted blackout tactics, then recently switched to another tactic; since Romney isn't particularly liked, the media is now reporting that Dr. Paul and Romney have a political alliance, reporting on this as though it were fact rather than mere conjecture. They ignore the fact that Dr. Paul has run ads against Romney in past, and use Dr. Paul's civility and sense of fairness against him. Dr. Paul stuck up for Romney when the media latched on to his unfortunate "...I like to fire people..." comment; the MSM ran with the line completely out of context; Dr. Paul merely pointed out the very relevant context of the comment.

The MSM's political analysts should certainly understand the benefit of Dr. Paul going after Santorum; Romney's supporters are not in Dr. Paul's usual demographics, but Santorum's voters are. Romney has his own support, PR and likeability issues that can be dealt with later. Knocking Santorum out now would greatly benefit Dr. Paul in upcoming states, as Dr. Paul has the qualities that attract voters to Santorum; Dr. Paul just isn't as rabid about them.

I'll address your other points in my next comment. Please feel free to request my sources; I'm happy to link them for you.
You're correct in that foreign aid involves sending products to other nations, but that isn't all we send. The U.S. provides a specific amount of "credit" to certain nations, which can only be spent on certain items produced in the U.S. For example, some of the foreign aid we give to Israel can only be spent on American fighter plane parts. But these nations do also receive cash, and foreign aid is not meant to be a jobs program.

"Defense" spending is not and cannot be a jobs program. We cannot continue to spend ourselves into a hole from which we can never climb back out of just to avoid reducing the profits of "defense" contractors. Our national debt is now approximately equal to our GDP, a disturbing benchmark at which the International Monetary Fund [IMF] generally requires austerity measures. Our GINI coefficient--a commonly used measure of wealth inequality--is 45.0, ranking the U.S. 95th out of 134 nations ranked; this means that only 39 nations have greater wealth inequality than the U.S. Historically, at a GINI of 50.0, nations experience a widespread degree of civil unrest. Yet we continue to take money from the poor and middle class to give to the wealthy corporations involved in the miltary industrial complex. The U.S. spends around 6 times on "defense" as the next highest "defense" spending nation; cutting a quarter trillion dollars would still mean spending more than 4 times as much as China's "defense" spending.

As Commander in Chief, closing U.S. military installations on foreign soil and ending various wars falls well within the scope of Executive Constitutional mandate, and therefore can be accomplished via Executive order. Just closing foreign military installations would save a trillion dollars over a decade. Ending war spending would save even more.

I don't believe I'm overestimating the results of marijuana as a cash crop. Just look at what medical marijuana alone has done for California; some $100 million in registration fees from growers, dispensaries and patients. That number would only increase. Additionally, industrial hemp is an amazing cash crop; every part of the plant can be used to produce a wide variety of products, including cloth, lubricants, biofuel, and even nutrition-rich food products. Industrial hemp alone would spawn many new farming jobs, industries, manufacturing plants and jobs. And ending the war on drugs would save tens of billions of dollars in criminal justice costs.

As for Social Security--I didn't say that I agreed with Dr. Paul, only that his plan, out of all the GOP candidates, is the best in that it would only affect those who have plenty of time to build a nest egg. I have my own plan to fix Social Security, but failing the adoption of something similar, I'll support Dr. Paul's plan, as Obama hasn't made any sort of strides toward implementing the fixes necessary to stabilize and sustain this vital safety net that is completely funded by the working taxpayers. Ignoring his urgent problem is just as bad as eventually substantially changing it.

I disagree that Dr. Paul's other policies would increase crime amongst the poor. I'll admit, there are a few policies that I really needed to look at in depth before I could support them, such as reducing the corporate tax rate. But once I look at the proposed policies and the rationale behind them, things tend to make sense. For example, two-thirds of large corporations don't pay ANY federal income tax, and some get multi-million dollar tax refunds due to excessive loopholes and tax breaks. Establishing a flat corporate tax rate will likely result in more corporate tax being paid, which is beneficial to individual taxpayers.

Dr. Paul would assign many of the troops who are brought home to guard our own borders. I disagree that this cannot be done; if we can't guard our own borders, we may as well hang it up, because all the horrible, liberty-killing "safety" measures can't make us safer if a terrorist can sneak over the border with a WMD.

I agree that eliminating unconstitutional legislation such as the Patriot Act and the NDAA 2012 is a dream, but I disagree that it's unattainable. Again, if we assume that this is impossible, we may as well just give up.

Ron Paul, despite what the media would have us believe, is electable. The GOP nomination process is confusing, with different rules for each state. Ron Paul's campaign takes advantage of this in two crucial ways. First, the campaign fully understands the rules for each state, and focuses their time, efforts and cash on those states with the most favorable rules. Second, Dr. Paul's campaign takes care to educate their supporters about the nomination process and delegate selection. As a result, Dr. Paul's supporters remain while the supporters of other candidates go home; Dr. Paul's supporters get the delegate slots, including those allotted for the other candidates, because those candidates do not have supporters that remained to complete the delegate process. Even in states where delegates are bound, they are generally only bound for the first ballot at the convention; those delegates are freed to vote for whomever they choose after the initial ballot. This means that the convention will be packed with Dr. Paul's supporters, who will be eligible to vote for Dr. Paul after the first ballot is taken. It also helps that Dr. Paul's supporters are so fervently in favor of him and no one else. Romney's supporters are nowhere near as insistent, and will lend their vote to someone else if the process is drawn out, as it is likely to be.

Dr. Paul is polling well against POTUS Obama, and will do even better after being nominated, as he'll likely pick up a large majority of the "anyone but Obama" GOP crowd. Judging from Dr. Paul's excellent performance against Santorum in the Arizona debate, Dr. Paul's numbers should also improve after debating Obama, as there's just too many things that Obama misled or outright lied about; Dr. Paul will zero in on every important one.
A quick thanks to those who have picked up this piece and featured it on their sites; I was surprised but happy to come across them!
A couple of things:

1) Yes the banks a TON of stupid things, no argument there. But let's not remember that they were thinking (or hoping) that the houses would increase in value, and there would be no massive defaults.

I.e. their decisions were based on the idea that the consumers wouldn't be hurt in the end, banks don't make money from massive defaults (just ask Citi and BoFa), ditto for foreclosures.

It's not as simple as banks just screwing over home owners and profiting.

Still - the banks did a ton of stupid things, I wrote on this quite a bit over on seeking Alpha. Few people have a clue as to how badly the banks were managed during the housing boom, it's a small wonder the crisis wasn't markedly worse.

2) BUT consumers who often bought homes they couldn't afford, made bad decisions too.

IN fact depending on where you lived 20-33% of disposable income came from people spending home equity loans.

Roughly 25% of homes bought were purchased by speculators, NOT people looking for a place to live. Needless to say these make up the lion's share of the people in foreclosure.

3) Houses losing value is part of the risk of owning a home, it's not up to to the government to fix that for people.

4) What people need to understand is that they bought into an overpriced housing market, and that prices dropping is a needed market correction.

Now I agree only massive principle reductions, coupled with refinancings will save some home owners, but it won't save them all. Some people can't afford their homes, end of story.

In cases where people can afford it, the Government shouldn't be forced to fix things so that their home is no longer under water.

Think about it - where does this money come from? Tax Payers like me who didn't make bad decisions during the housing boom?

I get it this settlement was weak and there are other problems to be solved, but acting as if Obama was supposed to have a magic bullet is a touch unrealistic. He's made a lot of mistakes, but just not coming in and magically fixing housing (beyond his power) isn't one of them.

Banks don't profit from foreclosures, they're not causing prices to go down for fun, etc, if they had it their way the market would be functioning like it was 2004.

Some balance, nuance and realism is in order......

....and this comes from someone who wrote extensively on how all of the mortgage rescue plans wouldn't work back in '07 and '08.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/56480-5-holes-in-the-government-s-mortgage-bailout-plan

http://seekingalpha.com/article/127196-housing-conversation-needs-a-dose-of-reality

http://seekingalpha.com/article/72471-the-housing-crisis-personal-responsibility-and-wishful-thinking

http://seekingalpha.com/article/88219-some-real-talk-on-housing

People need to snap out of the collective fantasy we're on over housing.

Just my $0.02.
Thanks for all the work you put into this, SOS.

Let me respond to a few of the items:

Ron Paul, despite what the media would have us believe, is electable.

NONE of what I will say in response to this (or anything else here) is meant to be a slur or insult to you or to Ron Paul…nor am I minimizing the intentions of Ron Paul. I am sharing my response to what you are saying—and my feelings about the candidate.

As I said earlier, yes I agree, he is electable. But you and I are electable also…and his chances of being elected are only slightly better than ours. Don’t get me wrong…I am not saying that I do not want to see him get his chance. I would love for the Republicans to be bizarre enough to nominate him, because I think that would almost guarantee a Republican loss, but even they seem to be unwilling to make that mistake.

In any case, I hope he is on the ballot in November, because he will not be on the Republican ticket…and an independent move by him will siphon off more votes from the eventual Republican candidate than from Obama—and I want to see Obama re-elected.

Dr. Paul would assign many of the troops who are brought home to guard our own borders. I disagree that this cannot be done; if we can't guard our own borders, we may as well hang it up, because all the horrible, liberty-killing "safety" measures can't make us safer if a terrorist can sneak over the border with a WMD.

There is no completely polite way to say this, SOS, but your hopes of protecting America from terrorist attack by strengthening the border is beyond unrealistic. Every penny spent on trying to protect America from terrorist attack by strengthening our borders is wasted money—money taken away from realistic efforts to protect us (which is nigh impossible under any circumstances). Spending money on strengthening the border to protect America from terrorist attack would be like spending billions on strip searching every person who enters the country by airplane or ship…but allowing baggage to come in without restrictions. There are better ways to spend those bucks to get that job done as best as possible.

You're correct in that foreign aid involves sending products to other nations, but that isn't all we send. The U.S. provides a specific amount of "credit" to certain nations, which can only be spent on certain items produced in the U.S. For example, some of the foreign aid we give to Israel can only be spent on American fighter plane parts. But these nations do also receive cash, and foreign aid is not meant to be a jobs program.

It certainly will never be a “jobs program”…but every dollar spent in foreign aid eventually is a dollar spent in our economy…whether we send them goods or credits to buy American goods. I truly do not understand this argument you are making in this paragraph. What difference does it make if we sent them “stuff”…or if we give them credit to buy “stuff?”

”Defense" spending is not and cannot be a jobs program.

I disagree…“defense spending” is as great an element in the dynamic of “consumption/production” as any other spending. As such, it is as much a part of our jobs program as any other products are a part of our jobs program.

In any case, most of what you suppose Ron Paul could do as CIC is wishful thinking. If you think the congress was obstructive for Obama…in my opinion, for someone like Paul, it would be a nightmare. I am hoping the defense budget eventually gets cut…but I doubt the cuts will be as large as I think they should be, and all of the cuts will translate into lost jobs.

I don't believe I'm overestimating the results of marijuana as a cash crop. Just look at what medical marijuana alone has done for California; some $100 million in registration fees from growers, dispensaries and patients. That number would only increase. Additionally, industrial hemp is an amazing cash crop; every part of the plant can be used to produce a wide variety of products, including cloth, lubricants, biofuel, and even nutrition-rich food products. Industrial hemp alone would spawn many new farming jobs, industries, manufacturing plants and jobs. And ending the war on drugs would save tens of billions of dollars in criminal justice costs.

Eventually, pot is going to be decriminalized…and probably re-legalized. Paul is not going to get that done…the congress will. Paul is not going to make that happen any faster than the public will allow. The economic impact of all this will be large, but a relative drop in the bucket in the larger scale of things. It will barely be noticed.

As for Social Security--I didn't say that I agreed with Dr. Paul, only that his plan, out of all the GOP candidates, is the best in that it would only affect those who have plenty of time to build a nest egg.

Social security is one of the most successful federal safety net programs of all times. Yes he will attempt to dismantle it…and if for no other reason, he is should NOT be elected. The fact that he will do so “more reasonably than the others” in your opinion, does not change my opinion on this. We just disagree here, SOS.

I will end for now…with these final thoughts.

You are supposing that Ron Paul is completely truthful…and that he will manage to get done a majority of what he says he will get done. One of the major mistakes most Obama voters made in the last election was to suppose those same things about that man. Unrealistic expectations end up disappointing—bitterly. If Ron Paul were to get in by some miracle…my guess is the disappointment in his backers would make the disappointment in Obama’s backers seem like a love fest!

I appreciate your sincerity and your dedication, SOS, but we are never going to agree on Ron Paul. At this point, with the crop being touted by the right and by the Republicans, Barack Obama is the best choice for America.
Markham, thanks for reading. This will be a little rushed [for me, the printed-word windbag!] I'll revisit in the near future.

I do need to take issue with much of your statement. We try to deal in facts here, and while I know that the facts are more and more deliberately obscured these days, we should still do our best to ferret them out. It's time-consuming, and not much fun, but it's necessary if we want to improve conditions for the majority of our nation.

There's a ton of documentation regarding the knowledge of banks and their employees about the results of their scheme. And it was most definitely an engineered, coordinated scheme.

Consumers who bought more house than they could afford probably do make up a significant portion, but to hold them responsible, you would have to require that they know more about the mortgage and housing industry than the experts. Again, see the above link for details. Had the banks adhered to underwriting guidelines rather than commit fraud to make bad loans to cover the loans they had already sold to be made into mortgage-backed securities, these loans would never have been approved.

I'd love some credible sources for the disposable income figure and the speculator home buyer figure.

Homes losing value IS a risk for homeowners, but when an engineered criminal scheme is responsible for both the overinflated values and the loss in values, it's a different matter altogether.

You're absolutely correct that prices need to drop back down to accurate levels. However, the banks that caused this situation still want homeowners to pay the additional amounts they were fleeced into accepting, and that's not something they should have to do. All most did was believe what they were told by the experts. Increasing foreclosures even more, increasing bankruptcies and the homeless population ultimately benefits no one other than the criminals that caused this mess in the first place.

No money for the solution ultimately has to come from taxpayers. I'll be posting something in future regarding my own solution to this crisis, but the banks caused it, and the banks should pay to clean it up.

Economic crises fall well within the scope of the government. My issue is that a better, simpler solution exists, yet Obama chose to again serve his wealthy campaign donors rather than the People. Clearing up the fraudulent documentation issues that caused over a trillion dollars in damages in exchange for $25 billion in an election year just makes POTUS Obama part of the problem.

Many thanks for the links to your pieces; I'll be sure to check them out.
My take on this is that, Obama created an incentive for the banks to provide mortgage relief. They took the bait, but since there was nothing that specified what they had to do, they continued doing what was worst for everyone.
I read an article by Matt Taibi about counties using the power of eminent domain to buy properties, and sell them back to any of the house owners that want to keep their houses, at the same going rate. Wall Street is incredibly hostile to this. In fact, I told a few friends of mine, who are conservative, and this also made them furious. I think they didn't like the idea that private equity firms would provide to loans to the counties.
I'm not really sure why the banks would oppose it. Eventually, they have to foreclose, and then, they have to get rid of it. More likely than not, the properties will be sold to speculators, at a low going rate. The only difference is that homeowners, would find relief, and a lot of middlemen wouldn't be allowed to create more financial obstructions to the recovery of the housing market.
It seems to me, that the financial industry stinks. Obama stinks, because he hasn't been willing or able to screw them to the wall.