NY Governor On The Mortgage Meltdown: "The Bush Administration Will Not Be Judged Favorably"

Eliot Spitzer, the governor of New York and that state’s former Attorney General, has written an Op-Ed for the Washington Post in which he claims that the Bush Administration used the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to prevent states from stopping the predatory lending practices that lead to the current financial crisis:

What did the Bush administration do in response? Did it reverse course and decide to take action to halt this burgeoning scourge? As Americans are now painfully aware, with hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure and our markets reeling, the answer is a resounding no.

Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.

Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.

Spitzer claims that the OCC invoked “a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act” to preempt state predatory lending laws and prevent the states from protecting consumers against abusive loans.

But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.

Spitzer says the banking industry claimed at the time that consumer protection laws would have denied consumers access to credit.

Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime [Washington Post] (Thanks, AB!)

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  1. Wimpkins says:

    Don’t blame me I voted for Bus….oh wait. Shit.

  2. Buran says:

    I’m not really surprised given the administration’s track record of protecting big business at the expense of the public — just look at its evisceration of the CPSC…

  3. donnie5 says:

    Don’t blame me, I can read contracts, and know not to barrow more than I can afford. I also know the value of delayed gratification…

    I can be personally responsible. Maybe we could try that instead of blaming others for us being stupid.
    We do not need to be protected by the big bad government.

  4. MDSasquatch says:

    and what about the predatory borrowers that, of their own free will, signed the paperwork, took the “free cash” and lived the high life?

    This whole fiasco is about personal accountability and consequences to actions.

  5. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    If we summarily executed corrupt poiticians, we’d have few corrupt politicians.

  6. donnie5 says:

    @MDSasquatch: EXACTLY! I applaud you!

  7. Darkfalz says:

    The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

    Obscure? Maybe its just me, but I’m quite familiar with the OCC. I’ve had several interactions with them to work out some shenanigans that my former bank tried to pull.

    Everything Spitzer is saying about this is true though. The state legislature here in GA passed anti-predatory lending laws years ago, and then the Federal gov’t stepped in and killed it.

    That, along with the new Bankruptcy laws they rushed through, have lead to the meltdown. When its more advantageous to your credit history to pay your credit card bills, than it is to keep your house…. well, we’re all seeing the results.

  8. Darkfalz says:

    @MDSasquatch:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, but as W.C. Fields said “There’s a sucker born every minute”. and unfortunately, there’s someone to take advantage of that sucker also.

    State’s know this, and they try their best to protect these idiots from themselves, but the Administration wouldn’t allow it.

    Now we all are going to have to pay for the bailout.

    Personally, I’d love it if the world were just a bit more Randian, but its not. The taxpayers ALWAYS end up paying to clean up problems like these. The state legislatures were just trying to be a bit proactive for once….

  9. B says:

    Unfortunately, despite the wonderful personal responsibility shown by us, we’re all being screwed by the irresponsible borrowers, the greedy banks who loaned them money, and the government’s inability/unwillingness to put a stop to the situation.
    Personal responsibility is nice, but when the lack of it hurts others, isn’t it in everybody’s best interest to try and prevent it?

  10. Falconfire says:

    Um… I think there are a few other mistakes that rank a lot higher than looking away when morons with no money borrowed money from his buddys who should have known better there Eliot….

  11. bohemian says:

    Now overlay on top of all of this the various speeches Bush did about all time highs in home ownership. He was touting these as a success of his and proof the economy was great. This was right about the time these questionable loans became really common.

  12. Snarkysnake says:

    Yeah, “history” will find it easier to list (and spell) “Bush” than to list the millions of people who did not read ,and made no effort to understand ,what they were agreeing to in writing.
    I just heard another ad on the radio from one of these mortgage companies trying to take another bite out of these borrowers asses:

    “Is that ARM about to skyrocket “? ( The ad asks)
    “If so , you need to call NOW before this loan buries you !” (The ad answered itself)

    This company flogged those toxic “Option ARM” loans like all hell just up until last fall. Now, the very same assholes that helped you cut your own throat are tring to scare you back into their office for another round of fees and charges and another loan that you probably won’t understand. This is better than owning a whorehouse in Bangkok…

  13. flamincheney says:

    We are supposed to be country FOR THE PEOPLE, by the people. It seems less and less is done for the people, as this “democracy” spins on. Making/implementing laws that deliberately usurp the rights of those that the gov’t is supposed to be acting as servants of is exactly how we have gotten to where we are today.

    An artificially buttressed (bail outs, tax abatements, monopolies, etc) “free” market has made us all captives.

  14. bohemian says:

    Uh, this becomes the problem of those who borrow wisely or don’t jump into questionable loans when the entire industry starts panicking.

    When good customers have their credit card interest upped because a bank is in trouble, or banks start adding new fees to cover their problems we all pay.

  15. Saboth says:

    I would think the mortgage meltdown is the least of the Bush Administrations’ problems…erosion of civil rights, ignoring world law, no foreign policy, torture camps, in-bed with big business (RIAA anyone?), and a failure of a war which shouldn’t have happened in the first place. But yeah…funny he took credit on more people owning houses during his admin. than any other time in history, and now thousands of those people are losing their homes, and we are trying to fight off a recession.

  16. TC2COOL says:

    @Snarkysnake: Thank you. At least there are a few people who have sense in this world.

    The Bush White House is as responsible for the mortgage issues as it was for causing Hurricane Katrina.

  17. DrGirlfriend says:

    Regardless of whether borrowres should have been more creful (and they should have, no question), the point here is that the Bush administration actively sought to prevent states from halting predatory lending. In essence, the administration wanted to preserve the brisk business banks were doing, and prevented states from putting a stop to underhanded and shady tactics on the part of these banks.

  18. Whitey Fisk says:

    It’s damn cold outside…lousy Bush administration!

  19. madanthony says:

    Spitzer’s editorial uses broad terms like “predatory lending” without really going into detail about what it was or what he was suing over. It’s hard to judge his argument on it’s merits when I’m not really sure what he was arguing.

    He also mentions that he was ticked because they blocked lawsuits about discriminatory lending. So he’s annoyed that lenders didn’t make enough loans, and that they made too many.

    I think it’s a no-win situation for government regulation – too many restrictions, and people complain because not enough people can buy houses. Not enough, and some people buy houses they can’t afford and can’t pay for them.

  20. Devildontknow says:

    It’s easy for Spitzer to blame the Bush administration (heck, I blame them for just about everything, too), but this one does not have legs. Most of the subprime and predatory lending took place outside of the national banking system (the OCC’s dominion) and, for that matter, outside of state banks. Blame lies with state governments for not regulating loan and finance companies, Governor. National banks were/are big participants in the secondary market for this stuff, so you might be able to blame them indirectly at best.

  21. kpfeif says:

    Wow. Spitzer, a Democrat, blames Bush for something. Why is this news? Funny that Clinton doesn’t get blamed for the tech bubble of the 90s…

  22. dotorg greg says:

    @TC2COOL: Excellent comparison! Bush only caused the evisceration of FEMA, exacerbated the Army Corps of Engineers’ failure to maintain the levies, and fought for the oil companies who dredged the delta and intensified Katrina’s destructive impact.

    Bush didn’t “cause” the subprime debacle any more than he “caused” abuse and torture in Iraq and Afghanistan by untrained reservists and unaccountable contractors. It just somehow happened.

  23. Joafu says:

    My breath smells like a very prosperous rainforest; why can’t Bush do something about it?

  24. Joafu says:

    @kpfeif: Al Gore blamed himself for the internet so no further action was needed.

  25. When the books are written with appropriate historical perspective, the Geo. W. Bush administration is going to be considered the worst of the previous 100 years. By a good margin. Never have so many been so screwed for so few.

    Ask not how you can screw your country, ask what your country can do next to screw you.

  26. chiieddy says:

    @Wimpkins: Looking at his approval ratings, I’d say a whole lot of people who voted for him now regret their decision.

  27. @flamincheney: Don’t forget my favorite. It’s a government OF the people. Aside from civil servants like yours truly, the millionaires in charge aren’t really people, certainly not people OF the people. Not even Edwards.

  28. A_B says:

    People need to take off the blinders of “personal responsibility” and read the article. In the opening paragraph, Spitzer gives examples of what he’s talking about:

    “Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers’ ability to repay, making loans with deceptive “teaser” rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers.”

    I think everything there is bad, but the “personal responsibility drones” don’t care about the rest.

    However, no one can deny that the highlighted practices go beyond “personal responsibility” as they are clearly deceptive and, in fact, prevent people from exercising “personal responsibility.”

    @madanthony:
    “Spitzer’s editorial uses broad terms like “predatory lending” without really going into detail about what it was or what he was suing over.”
    See above.

    “So he’s annoyed that lenders didn’t make enough loans …” He didn’t say that.

    @Devildontknow:

    “National banks were/are big participants in the secondary market for this stuff, so you might be able to blame them indirectly at best.”

    So efforts by the Administration to block State AG’s attempts “to blame them” at all doesn’t concern you? Regardless of the degree you wish to minimize the impact of the National Banks on the situation, you cannot ignore the fact that the OCC intervened against the State AGs in their efforts to stop these practices.

    And for the record, “National banks represent about 23 percent of all insured commercial banks in the United States, holding 68 percent of the total assets of the banking system.”
    [www.occ.treas.gov]

  29. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    The Bush administration had nothing to do with slimy mortgage lendors and dumbass lendees. Why won’t you people ever put responsibility on the individual!? Despite what you think, the government is not a nanny service.

  30. Superborty says:

    @bohemian: I agree with the using home ownership as a barometer of good times. Used to annoy me. People clearly were buying things they couldn’t afford. Was just a matter of time before this caught up with them. In terms of predatory lending, there was certainly some of that BUT the vast majority are people living WAY BEYOND THEIR MEANS. Personal responsibility can be a bitch sometimes.

  31. woodenturkey says:

    Hmm, I see a lot of people crapping on the borrower, and I agree that people should be responsible for their actions, but some people are just ignorant. They have no idea how a loan works, hell they probably don’t even know how to figure out percentages for that matter, I don’t want to pull a number out of my ass, but I have a feeling that a high percentage of predatory lending victims are poorly educated workers that can pick up your trash on Mondays but can’t do math past the basics. (God help me if there is some PHD garbage man reading this it’s just an example ok) There are a lot of uneducated yet skilled people making a really good living; the laws are there to protect people who can’t understand a complicated process.

  32. Flame says:

    I have to agree here that a lot of what was done had nothing to do with personal responsibility. I work as a Bankruptcy paralegal in Idaho. I get people in my office every day who have no idea why their ARM’s are going up. I think that we are going to have to accept that some people were defrauded, or misrepresented to. That doesn’t mean that that happened to everyone, but, if you have enough money to get a mortgage, you have to be at least a high school graduate.

  33. Superborty says:

    @dotorg greg: Actually, all the corrupt pols in Louisiana were dipping into the levies fund to use the money for other pork. Wasn’t Bush’s fault. It also wasn’t Bush’s fault that your dinner was cold last night or that you didn’t like the last episode of Lost.

  34. Superborty says:

    @Saboth: Erosion of civil rights under Bush??? What??? He had one of the most diverse (actually the most diverse) cabinet in the history. He stocked the government with people from all races. But, maybe they were just not black enough or Asian enough for you???? Oh yea, I forgot about all those people he wouldn’t let vote. For someone so incompetent, he somehow excels at doing bad things to people.

  35. Snarkysnake says:

    @A_B:

    I don’t consider myself a “personal responsibility drone” , but I do have a mortgage. (30 Yrs fixed 5 1/4) I do know that I specifically told the company that loaned me the money for my house, “I want a fixed rate,so you’ll be stuck with me for 30 years,and I’ll refi if rates tank” Closed quote. Want to know what they said ?
    “Congratulations, we’ll close when you’re ready”

    A lot of these people that are in way over their head tried to outsmart the market by taking one of these toxic ARMs because they saw a low payment .They could have more “stuff” to stuff in that new home because the payment was going to be low. They could have picked up any newspaper in America and saw that mortgage rates were near (or at) generational lows.THEY COULD HAVE LOCKED UP LONG TERM MONEY AT LOW RATES. If they would turn off ‘Entertainment Tonight’ for 5 minutes and do the math, they would realize that with inflation at about 3-4 % and the mortgage interest deduction, their effective cost of funds over 30 years would be zero (or less) They took a (stupid) gamble and now the fun’s over and they are running to the government to bail them out.I’t’s my damn fault that I took a fixed 30. But it’s their damn fault if they took a mortgage rigged to explode if rates spiked.

  36. shadow735 says:

    I am confused were there ever positive things to say about Bush?

  37. hypnotik_jello says:

    @Saboth: You probably mean erosion of “civil liberties” ?

  38. failurate says:

    @donnie5: If a grenade showed up in everyone’s mailbox, you and I might be smart enough not to screw with it. But what’s to keep those idiots across the street from blowing themselves up and taking a good chunk of us or our property with them?

    The gov’s role is not just protecting idiots from themselves, but it is to keep them from blowing up their neighbors shit too.

  39. woodenturkey says:

    @Snarkysnake:

    But you are smart enough to understand all that. I am not saying bail them out, i am just thinking the laws that protected the dumb asses should have been in place.
    And if the Gov isnt my nanny, why can’t i smoke crack then go use a suicide machine?

  40. NoWin says:

    “…ride the wave of the bubble, and eventually one may break upon the rocks”.
    I still didn’t read any section of any secondary mortgage writers or lenders holding guns to the head of the buyers. Hey, face it, a good number of buyers very-eagerly bought into the hype the market was bringing and bearing upon itself.

    There is EQUAL blame to go around.

    (But I agree that the OCC is a entity out-of-touch with its original goals)

  41. NoWin says:

    @woodenturkey: ” laws that protected the dumb asses should have been in place. “

    Laws should be in place to protect consumers “in general”. Dumb asses have just as much an equal right to make (or walk-away from) a bad decision as do you or I.

  42. ninjatales says:

    @MDSasquatch: Predatory borrowers were simply milking a system without protection. Same goes to the lenders which would lead to the same conclusion on the whole practice.

  43. woodenturkey says:

    @NoWin:

    ummm i think we agree with each other.I was just saying asses need some one helping more than you and i

  44. enm4r says:

    @Flame: I have to agree here that a lot of what was done had nothing to do with personal responsibility….if you have enough money to get a mortgage, you have to be at least a high school graduate.

    Huh? If you don’t know why your ARM is going up, then that is a personal responsibility problem. There are obviously two issues at hand. Some people were blatantly defrauded. But still more pulled the pin on their grenade of a mortgage and hoped it wouldn’t blow. Well, it did.

    If you don’t understand what you’re signing, it’s your responsibility to seek out guidance and counsel. That has nothing to do with fraud or predatory lending.

  45. bnb614 says:

    If there is a bigger douche bag in government than Eliot Spitzer I have yet to read about him/her.

    Maybe if he hadn’t spent his years as AG scheming and intimidating others, and threatening to sue everyone under the sun, then maybe he would have some credibility on issues. It probably looked like he was out to find another group to harrass and sue.

    If Spitzer had any shred of morals he would resign for using his position as governor to try and smear a political opponent, and then lying about it.

    Like many have already said, if you are stupid enough to sign something you don’t understand, you deserve whatever happens.

  46. bnb614 says:

    @woodenturkey: Laws to protect dumbasses. Jesus christ.

    Just what we need, let’s dumb down society as much as possible. Let’s treat everyone like potential dumbasses. Yippee!

  47. thebaron says:

    I love the political hot potato game:

    “As with most economic problems, we find the hand of government. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, whose provisions were strengthened during the Clinton administration, is a federal law that mandates lenders to offer credit throughout their entire market and discourages them from restricting their credit services to high-income markets, a practice known as redlining. In other words, the Community Reinvestment Act encourages banks and thrifts to make loans to riskier customers.”

    So now again because of government “helping” us out, we need the government to “fix” the problem! Clinton helped make a bad law worse and now that he is out of office: the next guy becomes the sucker holding the bag. Love politics blame game!

  48. mjsager says:

    I sent in this tip a while ago, I’ll repost it here.

    Here’s an informative article about how the feds ( specifically the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) stopped the states from halting the subprime mess. The states started to step in to stop the predatory loans.

    [www.slate.com]

    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

    [en.wikipedia.org]

    Interesting enough from the wikipedia article

    “The OCC was created in order to instill confidence in the National Banking system and protect consumers from misleading business practices.”

    Which they probably weren’t doing by allowing these subprime loans to be written.

    [www.occ.gov]
    “OCC Funding

    The OCC does not receive any appropriations from Congress. Instead, its operations are funded primarily by assessments on national banks. National banks pay for their examinations, and they pay for the OCC’s processing of their corporate applications. The OCC also receives revenue from its investment income, primarily from U.S. Treasury securities.”

    Go figure that someone who gets their budget from the banks would cave to bank pressure to keep the subprimes going.

  49. Angryrider says:

    Wow! The OCC cheated consumers buy finding an antiquidated law from the Lincoln era! Man, if it’s one thing the Bush Administration is good at, they’re hard at work trying to cheat us.

  50. bnb614 says:

    Blame it on Bush! That seems to be an effective way to govern states these days. This is called state and local politicians covering their asses.

  51. A_B says:

    @Snarkysnake:

    That’s fine, but that’s not the situation Spitzer is talking about.

    What if, after they said, “Congratulations, we’ll close when you’re ready” you learned that the bank was misrepresenting the terms of loans, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, and paying illegal kickbacks?

    And what if you found out that the State AG was coming down hard on this bank? You’d be happy, right?

    And the, what if you learned the Federal government, through the OCC blocked that law suit from your State AG?

    Then what would you think?

    ——–

    Generally speaking (i.e, not directing this at Snarkysnake), what people fail to understand is that, (1) regardless of how smart you (think you) are financially, if you are like 99% of Americans and your bank wants to screw you, your bank can screw you. Buried on page 45, subsection (T)(12)(f)(iii), there will be something you didn’t understand or overlooked and it will wreck you. Not every agreement has that section (obviously), but if a lender wants to, they can take you to the cleaners.

    That’s why AGs and other government agencies exist. To stop these kind of practices that most consumers, regardless of the amount of “personal responsibility” they exercise, cannot prevent.

    (2) Forget the “personal responsibility” mantra. It misses the point. The State AGs were attempting to enforce the law. The OCC said they could not. As a result, the law breakers contributed to a financial crisis. Indeed, the OCC stopped Spitzer from even investigating. That’s the point.

  52. whydidnt says:

    @Flame: Flame, how could they have no idea why their ARM is going up? The only way this could true is if they simply chose to sign their mortgage forms without reading them. There is a separate ARM disclosure required by law that details what could happen if rates go up and also provides a historical example of what the rates have done. This is not the fault of the lender, and doesn’t mean they are the victims of fraud, or that loan terms were mis-represented.

    It’s quite likely these folks knew the potential consequences, but it’s a lot easier to tell everyone today, “it’s not my fault”, “nobody told me this could happen”, despite the fact their signature indicates otherwise.

    I think this is one of those cases were there are already laws in place that are meant to protect consumers, but even with those laws in place, some people are still going to make bad decisions. It’s impossible to completely legislate that part of the equation.

  53. whydidnt says:

    @Saboth: Sorry, but the argument regarding the RIAA is an awful one. All you need to do is look at all the democratic legislators from California that spend most of their time doing the RIAA’s bidding to make the whole RIAA thing any kind of Republican/Democrat argument.

  54. woodenturkey says:

    @bnb614:

    ARRRGGGGG!!!!! WTF i am not saying dumb down everyone, what i am saying is some poeple really do need help because they are not smart enough to understand. You cant edua-ma-kate everyone.

  55. whydidnt says:

    @A_B:
    Hmm, “making loans without regard to consumers’ ability to repay” Putting aside the fact that this makes poor business sense, what about the consumer making a decision to take on debt that they don’t have the ability to repay? I’m quite certain that there are broker’s out there that made loans to people that they didn’t think could repay the bill, and that the secondary market purchased those loans. They shouldn’t have, but I’m not sure how this is the Bush admins fault, and those companies that made the bad decision are now paying for it. Yet, we are still left with a consumer who made a bad decision, yet apparently that too is somehow Bush’s fault.

    “Making loans with deceptive teaser rates”. Please explain how these are deceptive. Did they not provide a disclosure that indicated the terms of the loan, including when rates would rise. I find that VERY unlikely. The fact of the matter there is nothing deceptive about teaser rates. However, if a consumer is so ignorant to think that they are get a 2% mortgage when the rest of the country is getting a 5% term, then perhaps we have a different issue. Maybe if we spent education dollars on teaching people to manage their finances and deal with real world issues instead of diversity and the like these folks wouldn’t be so likely to continue making these bad decisions. Oh, and also if you would quit telling them it’s not their fault when they screw up that might also help.

    “Packing Loans with undisclosed charges” I’ll be the first to admit that there are a LOT of screwy charges on just about every mortgage I’ve ever taken out. However, I think it must be just about impossible for these to be undisclosed. They all appear on the HUD-1 settlement statement. If the mortgage co. has added a charge you don’t think is right, dispute it and refuse to sign the papers. On top of that it’s highly unlikely that these extra charges have any meaningful impact on the current meltdown. Are you implying that because someone paid an extra $1,000 in closing costs that’s caused them to default on their mortgage?

    Mark my words, Spitzer is going to be the first one in line complaining about the tight credit policy all the banks and mortgage companies are putting in place as a result of this meltdown. He’ll be crying about how the poor and working class can’t get loans because the evil corporations make it too hard to qualify.

    When are people going to learn that as soon as a politician opens his mouth to bash a person of the other party, all common sense goes out the window, and it’s bash for bashings sake!

  56. Snarkysnake says:

    @A_B:

    I’ll tell you what I think… Low ,fixed rate. How complicated is that ? That was the point that I was trying to make. 90% of the argle bargle in the mortgage arena could have been avoided if buyers had taken the bird in the hand instead of…God, what WERE they thinking ? That rates would go to zero ? Fixed rate mortgages are more a more competitive market than these ARM’s (a lot fewer moving parts make them more transparent)
    Last thought: When rates hit rock bottom in ’03/’04 ,what do you think that wise corporate treasurers did ? That’s right. They issued long term debt at those low rates .That’s why they are ongoing businesses. Home buyers/owners could have done the same thing if they chose.

  57. mr.dandy says:

    Personal responsibility is a nice theory. I guess we shouldn’t have any cops, because everyone should be “personally responsible” enough not to steal cars or commit robberies. Right? Wrong.

    Pointing to “personal responsibility” would be fine if this was just a weepy tale about irresponsible home buyers who only hurt themselves. But this thing is wrecking the economy for the rest of us, and it could have been prevented.

    Calling the practice “predatory lending” is probably a misnomer, it should have been called “foolish lending”, because that’s what the banks did. They lent money to people with no way to repay it, who are :of course” goint to take the loans.

    It’s almost the same as leaving your keys in the ignition of a very nice car, parked in a bad neighborhood. Sure, the guy who takes it is a greedy bastard, but that doesn’t change the fact that you (the bank) just lost your car. Multiply that scenario by a few million and that’s what’s happened. We the US consumer/taxpayer will foot the bill for it, one way or another.

  58. mr.dandy says:

    Also, isn’t it strange that, at any other time in history, mortgage companies would have never loaned these people the money to buy a house at these terms?

  59. Bazu says:

    @MyCokesBiggerThanYours: I dunno Coke, if the government isn’t my personal nanny, then why is our government so bloated, keeping tabs on what I download, who I marry, which religions are recognizable, what age I drive at, whether I have health care, which drugs I can or should use, etc. etc. Face it, the responsibility of a government is to act like a large, overarching granny that (should) try to balance the rights and freedoms of the whole, while balancing them against the rights and freedoms of the individual. A big part of the problems seems to be, that those in power tend to look after them and theirs at the expense of the masses. So instead of a concerned grandparent, we have a coked out, drunk AHole telling us to dig the ditch deeper, while he sits on the porch of his big white house doing blow, drinking Jack Daniels and taking a lot of vacations.

  60. BartClan says:

    @PotKettleBlack: I need to take umbrage at your assertion that Bush’s Presidency will go down as “the worst of the previous 100 years.” I take it that you weren’t alive during the Carter Administration, which gave us true “predatory” lending rates of >15%, inept consumer protections, and general fiscal malaise. Did you know that the Carter Administration set price controls on gasoline, which led to short supplies and long lines at the gas pumps? I specifically remember waiting in those lines, since I could only fill up on even days as my license plate ended in an even number. Some bean counter even calculated that 150,000 barrels of oil were wasted each day under this hair-brained idea, as cars sat idling in line, waiting for their fill-up.

    I’ve got grievances with the Bush Administration regarding their fiscal policies, but “the worst in the previous 100 years”? No way–Jimmy from Plains has him beat by a long shot!

  61. shadow735 says:

    At least Bush cant run for president again. Sorry its that glass half full thing.

  62. bnb614 says:

    If you think predatory lending equals >15% in 1977-1978 then you don’t understand the term predatory lending.

    Predatory lending is: Any of a number of fraudulent, deceptive, discriminatory, or unfavorable lending practices. Many of these practices are illegal, while others are legal but not in the best interest of the borrowers.

    But I agree with you, all the people who complain about Bushie weren’t alive under Jimmy Carter. By far the worst president in my lifetime. There are people who are 24 years old who have never known economic hard times save for a little recession in the early 90’s when they were too young to know anything about it.

  63. NoWin says:

    @woodenturkey: My oops for mis-reading the post…we are sympatico!

  64. cuiusquemodi says:

    @PotKettleBlack:
    It’s also a question of what criteria one uses for judging a presidency.

    Worst for civil liberties: Wilson (Sedition Act, anyone?)
    Worst subversion of the Constitution by legal means: FDR (Court-packing)
    Worst political attacks against his political rivlas: LBJ (Goldwater wants to blow up your children, the Klan’s for Goldwater…)
    Worst use of extraconstitutional military conflict: … LBJ again, with honorable mention for JFK.
    Worst on the deficit: Reagan
    Worst on corruption: Probably Harding (You want oil scandals? Look no farther than Wyoming)
    Worst on the economy: FDR (the National Recovery Administration was little better than an attempt to impose centralized economic planning; the public works were probably a net gain)
    Worst at keeping it in his pants and keeping it quiet: Clinton

    Some pretty strong competition up there, just in the past century. Will history view Bush as the worst overall? I don’t know; I imagine it will largely turn on Iraq. Does anyone still blame Grant for the Panic of 1873?

  65. MYarms says:

    Wow Bush did something that supported the people with the most money. Holy crap did I read that right? I thought he truly cared about the people of this country.

    /sarcasm

  66. Oracle989 says:

    @donnie5: PREACH IT, BROTHER! The entire problem stemming from the crash of the housing market is the fact that the FREAKING IDIOTS BORROWED MORE THAN THEY COULD EVER PAY BACK IF THE INTEREST ROSE! And now that their interest rates are correcting to what they should be, they cant afford it anymore. The moral of the story: Don’t spend more than you can pay back, and that includes the possibility of the rates rising.

  67. Wimpkins says:

    @Oracle989: Whatever.

    What you don’t understand is that the general public is just plain stupid.

    Anyone who has worked in Customer Service knows this.

    The bankers knew it was more than they could afford, do you think they mentioned this?

  68. aaronk says:

    No where in the Constitution have I ever read, “The Executive Branch will protect all citizens from being stupid and unable to read the contract they sign”
    Nor have I read
    “The Executive Branch will bail out all companies that throw common sense away and make loans to people who obviously can’t repay them”

    Give me a break! People need to take responsibility for their own actions.

  69. econobiker says:

    So what if the borrowers are stupid and don’t read loan documents?

    In essence the laws should have protected the taxpaying public by limiting the banks exposure to bad investments (subprime borrowers) This would have protected the taxpaying public -who are now going to have to pay for the corporate bank’s mistakes.

    Remember that banks as corporations are not moral entitities- business ethics and what is legal are completely different also from what is moral.

  70. bohn002 says:

    so no personal responsibility needed, no experience or knowledge needed, oh yeah and if you mess up “its ok” someone will help you. no matter what and no matter how many times you screwed up. And the help is totally free.

    Why are trying to freeze foreclosures for a year? Let them close. Look im sorry your an idiot and signed up for a 5 year interest only loan that was 3x as much as your previous rent. Didnt something click in your mind that “hey i can barely pay the interest, how can i afford to pay the whole payment?”
    The slimy loaners who were fudging the data so people could get the loans are as much too blame as the morons who signed up for them.
    Also why blame a person? Why not blame the executive branch people who actually messed it up. Congress!! why do you think they have a lower approval rating then georgie. /rant

  71. no.no.notorious says:

    @aaronk: true that. companies make $$ off of dumb people all of the time…then they get pissed when they find out.

    it’s like why so many famous musicians are broke, because they don’t understand that they have to pay back the money the record company loaned them. they can either recieve some royalty payment like 13% all in (meaning they have to pay back the studio producer, the trainer, etc) or 8% net (they can keep all the money they receive and the record company will figure out who is owed what.) and what do most of them do? “oh…well..13 is larger than 8…so ill do the 13%”. then cry when they have all these people they have to pay back.

    now…who’s fault is that?

  72. Spooty says:

    I agree.
    On a lesser note, Eliot Spitzer will not be judged favorably either.