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Archive for August 2007

“socialized medicine” and the mortgage collapse

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From the New York Times daily breakdown of the breakdown of the markets:

Richard F. Syron, chief executive of Freddie Mac, the large buyer of mortgages created by Congress in the 1970s, said yesterday that the speed and severity of the tighter credit terms are surprising, but perhaps necessary given the excesses in the market in recent years.

In a telephone interview from Washington, he was wary of the calls by some mortgage industry officials that Freddie Mac and its cousin, Fannie Mae, step in to buy loans and securities that private investors will no longer purchase. Mr. Syron noted that his company was operating under an agreement with its regulator that limited the size of its portfolio.

“There are some loans that are in difficulty” because credit pools are drying up, Mr. Syron said. “There are other loans that probably should never have been made and providing more liquidity will make that situation worse in the long term.”

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are complicated affairs, shareholder-owned, publically-traded companies that operate under a Federal charter that requires them to stabilize the mortgage markets. We don’t have to get all bogged down in the details of this to note something interesting (and obvious – a story that you already know). That is the fact that corporations and the governmentals who do their bidding have no problem calling for mommastate intervention when these guys are knee-deep in their own waste (Do something, government-sponsored enterprise!), but when it comes to protecting the rights to bankruptcy protection for the lowly citizen, or the weaving of any other safety net for the person rather than the spectral limitedliability semipersons, noxious federalization of risk and American self-sufficiency. Remember the discourse that broke down the levees of decency when we all got to watch this on tv together:

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Written by adswithoutproducts

August 3, 2007 at 11:48 pm

Posted in america

blanket statements

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Krugman today in the NY Times:

Mr. Schumer, who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, insists that the large financial contributions that hedge funds make to his party aren’t influencing him. Well, I can’t read his mind, but from the outside his position looks remarkably like money-driven politics as usual. And that’s not acceptable. 

Look, the worst thing that could happen to Democrats is for voters to conclude that there’s no real difference between the parties, that when you replace Republicans with Democrats, all you do is replace sweet deals for Halliburton with sweet deals for hedge funds. The hedge fund loophole is a test — and it’s one that Mr. Schumer is failing.

Yep. But it’s not just hedge funds. How about this cheery exchange between the frontrunners of the peace party:

Senator Barack Obama found himself on the defensive again yesterday about his views on foreign policy, this time over a comment he made about the use of nuclear weapons in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

During an interview with The Associated Press, Mr. Obama, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, initially ruled out using nuclear weapons in the region as part of the effort to defeat terrorism and root out Osama bin Laden.

“I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance,” he said, pausing before he added, “involving civilians.”

But then he quickly said: “Let me scratch that. There’s been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That’s not on the table.”

Later in an interview on Capitol Hill, Mr. Obama, of Illinois, sought to clarify the remark about nuclear weapons, saying he was asked whether he would “use nuclear weapons to pursue Al Qaeda.”

“I said no one is talking about nuclear weapons,” Mr. Obama said. “I found it was a little bit of an off-the-wall question.”

His remarks about removing nuclear weapons as an option in the region drew fresh attacks from Democratic rivals who had already questioned his foreign policy experience.

American officials have generally been deliberately ambiguous about their nuclear strike policies.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, declined to say whether she agreed with Mr. Obama’s initial statement.

“I’m not going to answer hypotheticals,” Mrs. Clinton said.

She added: “I think that presidents should be very careful at all times in discussing the use or non-use of nuclear weapons. Presidents, since the Cold War, have used nuclear deterrence to keep the peace. And I don’t believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or non-use of nuclear weapons.”

Wow. Glad I don’t have to be ambivalent about casting my vote demward this time around. Back in 2000, it was welfare reform at the like that pushed me over the line. But now that we’re only talking about the use of nuclear weapons in response to, what, a car bomb in Times Square, I feel much more comfortable.

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Written by adswithoutproducts

August 3, 2007 at 8:10 pm