In two weeks America will have a new President elect. On November 5th, either Barack Obama or John McCain will be waiting in the on deck circle, preparing to step up to the plate on January 21 ( let’s face it the 20th is ceremonial). But how will they get from here to there? If you are Barack Obama and the media, it will be because they confused voters enough to make them dizzy through their endless spin cycle.
It started two weeks ago with “joe the Plumber”. Joe was a normalguy asking a question of a Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama. To his credit, Obama gave the only answer to the only tough question he has ever been asked and stated that Joe would have to “spread the wealth” if he bought a business that makes $250,000 or more a year. Since then “Joe” has become a villain to the media. ABC,CBS,CNN, etc have cast doubt on this plumber from Ohio by questioning his income tax returns, his divorce, his job, and even his legitimate right to vote in Ohio. ALL BECAUSE HE ASKED A QUESTION!!!!!!
What did Senators Obama and Biden do in the wake of “Joe” asking a question and then being attacked by the media? The Senators continued, and still continue, the attack on this plumber. In stump speeches across America, Obama and Biden have attacked Joe saying that they don;t know of any “plumber” making $250,000 a year. They have attcked his work ethic saying that the real “Joe the Plumber” would actually be helped under an Obama plan because he would not be a plumber who makes that much. In other words the real “Joes” of America would never aspire to owning more than their fair share of the market. Senator Biden might even call the plumber from Ohio “unpatriotic” because he would refuse to pay higher taxes as a small business owner.
AHHHH the spin!!
Then Colin Powell comes out and says that he is endorsing Obama. Immediately the surrogates and pundits rush the airwaves and say that Colin Powell is a man whose judgement is sought and respected by all leaders. Yes, Powell is a well respected member of the Armed Forces as well as several Presidential Administrations. But only 4 years ago Powell was the demon child who forced America into a war in Iraq, a war Obama “voted” against in the Illinois Senate(?).
With Powell’s endorsement the surrogates and Democratic pundits had to come up with a back story that supported Powell and Obama that did not factor in race. Ah ha! Now we have Colin Powell, the well respected, smart, and totally unbiased General was duped by the Bush administration and sold totally false information that he was forced to pass on to the U.N. I still respect Colin Powell and do not believe that race was the deciding factor in his endorsement but I can not believe that this man who was smart enough to rise to prominance in the military and politics was “duped” by the same President liberals criticize as uneducated or stupid.
AHHHHH the spin!!!!!!
John Murtha. Beloved Congressman from PA. Democrat. Supporter of Barack Obama. The same Obama who said us hicks in PA cling to our guns and religion and hated immigrants. It was John Murtha, in defense of this Barack Obama and the latest poll, stated that PA, at least the western half, may not go to Obama because PA is full of racist people who vote on color alone. Wait!! This week he apologized and said that PA was not racist it was just a redneck state. How do you spin that?
If you are a Democratic pundit you simply say that what he said was “years ago” or “what he meant was simply” and all is forgiven. What about this comment and Obama’s “clinging” comment being taken together to set a pattern? Irrelevant! Let’s move on!
AHHHH the spin!!!!!!
But move on we shall, to Joe Biden. Good old Scranton Joe! (It’s Thursday, his day to be from Scranton.) Just when he though the recording devices were off and no one was listening he says “mark my words”, “if you don’t remember anything else I say in this whole campaign”, if Senator Obama is elected he WILL be tested by the world in a “GENERATED” crisis created by other countries around the world. Then he even says that he doesn’t know if Obama will make the right decision initially but asked his supporters to stand with him anyway until he figured it out. Don’t worry Joe, we won’t forget this one just like we haven’t forgotten what you said in the primary.
The pundits and surrogates are on the move again! See what he meant was every President is tested and Obama will be no exception, they say. “Look at Reagan or Kennedy” they squawk! And as they don’t mention that Obamahas a wait and see foreign policy coupled witha new age “let’s talk about it” negotiating style, they leave out the fact that Reagan and Kennedy responded to their respective crisis with overwhelming force. Furthermore, the pundits yell, Obamaknows how to surround himself with people who know stuff, like Joe Biden and Colin Powell while John McCain has only lived through or legislated past crisis.
AHHHH the spin!!!!!!!
Finally, if the clothes make the man what is wrong with the woman getting some nice clothes too. While Barack Obama spends hundreds of dollars on each suit from Burberry or whoever the latest designer is, the RNC shelled out $150,000 for new clothes for the seven, that is 7, members of the Palin family. Roughly $21,000 per person. The RNC, a private organization that receives donations from people like me, bought clothes out of contributions, not tax money, for the VP candidate. And the clothes are going to be given to charity after the election. What is wrong with that?
According to the pundits and commentators, it just shows Sarah Palin’s inexperience.(?) Joy Blowhard from the view apparently has a real issue with this saying that Palin usually shoots her clothes but that style would not work on the campaign trail. ABC, et al, raises the question to voters that if Sarah Palin can afford a new wardrobe costing $150,000 from Neiman Marcus ” does she really share the same values as”, yep you guessed it, “Joe the Plumber”? I assume Brian Ross and Wolf Blitzerwill do in depth stories about boxers or briefs next.
AHHH the spin!!!!!!!
Be careful waht you listen to or see on the news. Even Fox News. Today the new AP poll came out and showed a dead heat in the race for President. A trend that has been seen in other long time polls. Yet today on ABC’s Good Morning America, George Stephanoplois did not even mention the AP poll numbers, something he regularly does. Instead he quoted the Quinipiac Poll numbers and showed state by state polls done by other polling organizations. Why? bias. And as if they are finally seeing the light, this week a CNN reporter even admitted to their bias in reporting!
The spin won’t slow down in the next two weeks. In fact it will only get faster. Look for the top news story being about Barack Obama’s compassionas he deals withhis “Grandmother who raised him” and her broken hip. I’m sure this story will become one about health care and the state of the economy in Hawaii. But voters beware! It’s all spin. In the last two weeks look beyond the spin and read the issues and listen to words and form your own opinion. Otherwise it’s like getting on a merry-go-round and asking Obama to push. Faster! and Faster! you cry until you don’t know up from down, right from left.
AHHHH the spin!!!!!!!!!!
Why did this bailout bill fail? Here are a few suggestions:
- Senator Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Chris Dodd’s complete lack of leadership. The Democrats control both houses of Congress yet they can not muster enough votes to pass what they see as an extremely important piece of legislation. Senator McCain brought in over 60 Republicans on this issue when he was in Congress over the weekend. Senator Obama called in his support but made little effort to support this legislation, instead relying on his Monday morning quarterbacking skills to praise or denounce the bailout vote, whichever was needed politically. Chris Dodd, Speaker Pelosi and Barney Fife, I mean Frank, could not even get their members to agree on this bill, choosing instead to blame others for its failure.
- Politics. I don’t mean Presidential here either. The Democrats wanted to be able to blame the Republicans for passing this bill. 13 of 19 Democrats who are in tight races across the country voted against this bill AFTER they saw the Republicans voting against it. If it passed with Republicans putting it over the top, the Democrats would run stories and ads about how they didn’t really want the bill.
- Wall Street. When the bill’s passage seemed certain stocks looked good. However oil prices shot through the roof on speculation that consumers would have a lifeline to borrow from this winter to pay for oil. As the bill failed stocks fell. And now faced with the possibility that consumers could not afford to pay for oil this winter, oil prices fell to under $100 a barrel. Wall street traders and speculators were once again left to find their own solutions and face the fact that they may lose money this year.
- The American People. Finally enough of us woke up and said ENOUGH!, let Wall Street fail, we’ll cut back, we don’t need all this credit. Unfortunately, there is little we can do to prevent eventual passage and we will have to swallow a $700 billion dollar pill in order to save a couple bucks, and I do mead about $2, in our 401K accounts.
- World Markets. They need this just as much as our market. They hold many of these bad debts and don’t want to lose money on them either. Yes, Asian and European markets will get some of this $700 billion. But as they begged for us to pass a bailout to save their economies, the people of these countries continued to rally against America and it’s trade policies. Perhaps some of our Representatives finally realized that not all of $700 billion will go to Americans.
- Stupid Partisan Speeches. Only one party to blame here and it is the Democrats. When Speaker Pelosi stood up and said that Bush and his “right wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation” was to blame for this bailout, she effectively killed the legislation and allowed Republicans to not only make a stand but also push for more insurance on deposits and other provisions they wanted in the bill.
- Lastly, the Media. America is at the beginning of a recession. However so far it is the mildest recession in our nation’s history. Today my newspaper reported a jobless rate of 6.1%. When I moved back here 10 years ago the jobless rate was hovering between 8-10%. Wages have gone up steadily until recently and it was only after the minimum wage bill passed in PA (now 7.25/hr) and the Congress that unemployment stated to rise because small employers could not afford the increase. By the way out of their laundry list of promises they made when they were regaining control of Congress, the minimum wage adjustment is the only one that has passed. All of the others (think Iraq) have failed or not even been discussed out of committee. Yet the media continues to prey on the fears of all of us and attaches stories about the Great Depression to discussions on the bailout. Perhaps they played their monster in the closet card one too many times this week.
In the end the result of the bill was the same- Republicans are to blame for the economy, according to Democrats. If it passed it would have been a Republican President and Congressional Republicans who forced it on every one of us. The news article in my issue of the Time Leader would have read ” Rather than repudiating their President for this mess, Republicans chose to support their President’s failed economic policies.”. When it failed it was the Republicans who killed it because they did not support their President. As the Times Leader paraphrased Barney Fife, oops again, Frank today “Rather than a repudiation of Democrats…Republican’s refusal of the bailout was a rejection of their President.”
I still hold to the fact that all Americans are to blame for this situation and not any one party. Certainly rules were relaxed and it started when Clinton was in office and continued through Bush, but Americans did not have to accept money we could not pay back. Case in point. When I bought my house I was approved for a mortgage up to $150,000. After laughing my ass off because I knew that the mortgage company had been drinking while doing these numbers, I chose to go with a mortgage I knew I could afford. There are many others who took the full amount, thinking they could or would be able to afford it and are facing foreclosure because of that decision. That’s not the fault of your leaders.
In case you missed it, Brave New Films released a new ad against John McCain. This ad questions John McCain’s health as a survivor of cancer. Showing the scarred face of McCain, the ad actually questions if he is able to lead the nation because he had several bouts with melanoma. What’s more is that this ad has some loose ties to Howard Dean, the chairman of the DNC.
And they say McCain’s tactics are politics as usual! As usual the media fails to talk about the underhanded tactics being used against McCain.
“Throughout the entire debate, he didn’t say the words “middle class.” Not once.”——Barack Obama talking about John McCain while praising himself for Friday night.
I can’t say it enough. Unfortunately for Senator Obama, actions speak louder than words. John McCain was in Washington, not as part of a campaign stop but as a member of the 110th Congress, since last Friday working on what has become known as the “Emergeny Economic Stabilization Act of 2008”. Senators Obama and Biden chose to disregard their duties as members of this Congress and continue their campaign stops.
It is ironic that McCain can be/will be labeled ‘out of touch’ even though he is the only member of Congress currently running for President who could speak to the provisions BEFORE it hit the Internet. It is also ironic that if Pres. Bush signs and Senator McCain votes for this bill, Senator McCain’s support will be portrayed as ‘voting with Bush’ by the Obama campaign despite the presumed need for the bill by both parties.
It’s 3am. America is facing an economic crisis. The phone rings. Who do you want on the other end? John McCain who is already working on a solution? Or Barack Obama who gave specific instructions to his advisors to call only if he was needed? On November 4, you decide!
As much as America may need the bailout, if the bill comes out laden with earmarks and other spending that has nothing to do with the current situation, John McCain should vote against it.
Personal responsibility is the only loser in this bailout. Despite warnings from Alan Greenspan, John McCain, and even Presidents Bush, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and others in the Democratic party did nothing to prevent the current situation. Even Bill Clinton used his power of 20/20 hindsight recently to say that he pushed too far on relaxing housing regulations in the 90’s and encouraged Democratic support of these measures too much. The American taxpayers will be protected in this bill but only from further inaction by Congress. The fact will remain that they will not be protected from themselves.
Even as Washington mutual was failing last week, I was receiving multiple credit offers from them in the mail. This is a company I have never had any dealings with, nor ever sought any dealings from. Yet I was faced with the prospect of another credit line in these offers. Over the past decade Americans have fallen for these offers (I am no exception) hook, line and sinker. Promises of low rates and long terms are attractive when times are good. But as the housing market slowed and economic growth slowed (it has never stopped), Americans started to blame everyone but themselves for the credit crisis. Whereas a year ago they could afford an adjustable rate mortgage and 2 of each brand name credit cards, all with pictures of their favorite teams or animals, a year later they are faced with bankrupcy and are looking to the government for help all because they made bad decisions.
America and Americans have made some bad decisions in the past decade. This is not a crisis that started with Bush and will end with the saving power of Barack Obama. The only way this crisis will be resolved is for America’s leaders to put together a bill that is clean and Americans themselves to look at their own situation and resolve never to go back. John McCain is a believer in personal responsibility, just like President Bush, but his back is against Wall Street on this bill. But voting against a bill laden with earmarks or extra spending is the right thing to do in this situation, even if it costs him the election.
As John McCain puts his country ahead of his campaign once again, detractors are arguing that this is just the latests stunt by John McCain win attention for himself. Unfortunately those people are missing the point of what McCain is doing.
In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post today, Harold Meyerson wrote cynically of McCain’s campaign suspension and request for Friday’s debate to be postponed. In a piece called McCain’s Ploy, Meyerson argues that McCain is simply making this crisis about himself and the “indispensability of John McCain, leader of leaders. He even goes on to argue that McCain wants the debate to be postponed so that the country can settle down and refocus on the subject of Friday’s debate, foreign policy-an area of absolute advantage for Mccain.
What Meyerson misses in his piece however is that what McCain is doing by going back to the Senate is his job. John McCain is a Senator until November 4 and thus his responsibilities include writing, voting and passing legislation for America. Sen Obama has refused to go back to Washington, to his Senate seat, to hammer out legislation saying that Presidents must handle more than one crisis at a time. Unfortunately for Senator Obama, he is not President and thus it is not his responsibility as yet to deal with the war and the economy at the same time. Sen Obama’s primary responsibility as of September 25, 2008 is in the Senate and thus it falls to him to help write, vote and pass (or kill) legislation, especially legislation that affects the current economic situation.
While cynics argue over McCain’s motives, I can’t help but remind anyone who cares to visit this blog about McCain’s past leadership. Leadership that if followed may have averted or at least reduced this crisis we now face. Leadership that shows his current actions rise above the politics and polls. On May 25,2006 Sen McCain stood before the Committe on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and warned them about Fannie and Freddie. In his statement he said:
“The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.”
In the same statement Sen McCain proposed S.190, a bill that would have set up regulatory reforms for agencies like Fannie and Freddie. He also warned that the economy would be in jeopardy if something was not done.
“I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.”
(By the way, who was on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Development? Senator Chris Dodd (the same who asked Paulson how we got into this mess during yesterday’s testimony) and Sen Evan Bayh (yep VP contender for Obama 08))
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s109-190 (sponsors and cosponsors of reform legislation)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/record.xpd?id=109-s20060525-16&bill=s109-190 (full remarks by Sen McCain)
Once again I am reminded why I am voting for John McCain. While Sen Obama is holed up in a hotel room studying for the debates, issuing statements about bipartisanship, and Monday morning quarterbacking the situation, John McCain is at work coming up with solutions in a bipartisan manner. It is this kind of leadership that drew me to Sen McCain 8 years ago and is the basis for my support now.
The biggest heart string issue any candidate can use to influence votes is the economy. The last few days have been a testament to this. While Obama uses “middle class” as a noun, verb and adjective in every speech, McCain has been trying to reassure Americans about the fundamentals of the economy. In light of the polls today, it would seem Obama is the better string player. But does he have the leadership and policies to back up what he is saying on the stump?
First to leadership. It was reported today that the Democratically controlled Congress is considering another recess in light of the current economic situation. The reason being that they don’t know what to do and don’t want to act in a manner that will cause any more harm. Obama himself has yet to take a position on the bailout of AIG saying he needs more information before he can react to what happened yesterday.
While it is true that John McCain is part of the same Congress that is considering another recess, it is also true that he is a member of the party that stayed in the House to push for a vote on energy reform after the last recess was called by Speaker Pelosi. The Republican representatives stayed in the House for days after the recess was called, lights out, trying to put pressure on the Democrats to allow an up or down vote on energy reform.
Unlike Obama, John McCain has taken a position on the bailout of AIG. According to ABC he is now a flip-flopper because he supports the bailout after he opposed it previously. But they miss the point. John McCain changed his position because he was able to see that if AIG was not given help in some manner-federal,private or the combination of both that has happened-the economy and millions of Americans who are associated with AIG in some way would have been decimated by even a partial failure. Call it a flip flop if you like but leaders know when and how to act, even if acting goes against what they believe.
Now, the policies. Once again these are policy statements directly out of Obama’s “Blueprint for America” and the expanded Issues section of the John McCain website. They are not the soundbites or anecdotes candidates use on the stump.
Obama’s plan starts with, what else, the middle class. While Obama is fond of talking about his tax cut and it’s perceived ability to help 95% of Americans, his plan does not address who is middle class. He does specify a tax credit that would be equal to $500 per individual or $1,000 per working family in what he calls the “Making Work Pay” tax credit. He says it would completely eliminate taxes for 10 million Americans and provide 150 million workers relief.
Obama also will simplify tax filings, allowing taxpayers the option of signing a returning a pre-filled tax form sent by the IRS. No itemization, no W, I or A forms, just sign a return. Accountants beware, estimates are you will lose approximately $2 billion in fees when this happens. Perhaps the accounts will need retraining after they lose their jobs, but not to worry Obama has provided for that in his plan.
First of all, if you take a job at McDonalds, your minimum wage will rise indexed to inflation. Simply put, small businesses are forced to pony up money every year for every worker, NOT based on performance. In addition Obama will raise the Earned Income Tax Credit so that you can work full-time and still raise a family. Not only that but Obama will expand FMLA to companies that employ as little as 25 people and allow time off for just about anything. While I can’t say that allowing time off under FMLA to see your kids soccer games is a bad idea, I can say that his idea to make states and companies to pay for FMLA time is a bad one. But to this end Obama has promised $1.5 billion to the states to help them pay for the new FMLA rules.
If you decide, as an out of work accountant, that you want to enter the manufacturing field, Obama is going to spend untold (literally, he has no number) dollar amounts on new job training programs. Using his education policy as a backdrop, most of this retraining will happen at community colleges where education will be free under an Obama administration. If you decide to stay at home and work, Obama will give you high speed Internet as he spends countless (again no number) dollars on companies who provide Internet connection services.
Of course Obama has a record to back up his economic policies and tax cuts. In 2007 he was a cosponsor on a bill (his site says he introduced it) by Dick Durbin called the Patriot Employer Act. The bill currently sits in committee. Did I mention the Congress that controls these committees is controlled currently by Obama’s own party. He also cosponsored the STOP FRAUD Act to help homeowners, it also sits in committee
Sen McCain’s proposals start off with a balanced budget by 2013. To achieve this McCain will:
- make reasonable growth a reality
- control spending
- use bipartisanship like (hold on ) Bill Clinton did in the 90’s to pass a budget
In assuring growth Mccain believes that small businesses will benefit the economy the most. His proposals of low taxes and low rates on capital gains will allow those businesses to reinvest in their own future. Also small businesses would be able to deduct equipment and technology investments they make to improve their businesses. In addition to allowing businesses to reinvest in themselves, McCain is proposing reducing the Estate Tax to 15% which would allow more businesses to stay in the family. In addition the Bush tax cuts would stay in place and may even increase for all Americans.
Another way John McCain can assure growth is the implementation of his energy policy. Under his plans, which include ALL types of energy, new jobs would be created in America to build and support new energy development. In nuclear power alone it is estimated that over 700,000 jobs would be created under McCain’s plan. Retraining is also a priority in a Mccain Presidency and would be fully supported.
The second part of McCain’s plan to balance the budget is to control spending. John McCain’s efforts to control spending are famous and easily found on his congressional website. But in addition to earmarks, John McCain has proposed a freeze on all non-defense and non-veteran discretionary spending thus allowing time to plan and prioritize all spending programs. And as we draw down in Iraq and costs are reduced in the war, much of that money will go to deficit reduction, not universal health care.
One other point on spending. Much has been made about the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska. Sarah Palin has been criticised for supporting the earmark before she was Governor and then voicing her opposition to it as Governor. John McCain voted “NO” to this earmark (H.r. 3, CQ Vote#220: Adopted 91-4:R 48-4;D42-0, I 1-0,7/29/2005)and was only one of 4 Senators to do so, Obama voted for it. When the money was allocated anyway, Palin did take the $36 million allocated BUT directed her Transportation Department to use it for infrastructure improvements in the state. This is in keeping with improvements sought after the government directed states to look at all of their infrastructure after the bridge collapse a few years ago. Here are two source to verify the bill-
This site shows Obama and McCain’s votes on HR 3
Finally, John McCain’s record of bipartisanship shows that he can easily work with all members of Congress to make this happen. Just as Democrats and Republicans are coming together this week to slow the bleed in the financial sector, Sen McCain has worked with Ted Kennedy, Joe Lieberman and others to introduce legislation that, many times his own party did not support.
There is more to the McCain plan but I have gone on long enough (Printed text for McCain goes on for 14 pages, Obama has 5). Figuring out what each candidate is saying on the trail is difficult. Sen Obama clearly uses emotion over reason and Sen McCain tries reason more than he should sometimes. But after writing my longest post yet, the bottom line is this. On May 25, 2006 John McCain spoke to the Banking Committee and warned of the failure of Fannie and Freddie as well as others (AIG). Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, now advisers to Obama, were executives in the banking industry then. Chris Dodd (D) was the ranking committee member and killed the resolution John McCain and others proposed. Where was the leadership of Obama and the Democrats then?
Again look at the comments:
(Thank you to all sites listed)
Here we go again! Another member of the Obama campaign is accusing the GOP of wearing white after Labor Day.
Kansas Gov Kathleen Sebelius, once thought of as a VP candidate for Obama, is the latest Obama surrogate to inject race into this election. On Tuesday she told a crowd in Iowa that the GOP is using code words to inject race into this election.
When asked if Obama and the Democrats would fight for a victory in November, Sebelius answered ” Have you noticed that Barack Obama is part African-American?” then added that the “Republicans are not going to go lightly into the darkness”. She has not clarified her comments yet.
Governor Sebelius is not some left wing blogger whose post you read and then discard as idiotic. She is a vocal supporter of Obama who has been asked by the campaign to travel around the country and speak on behalf of Obama. She was once considered an alternative to Hilary Clinton for the VP nomination. Sebelius is also the Governor of a state, a position she should take responsibly and not use to instill fear in voters.
Race is the elephant in the room according to Sen Obama, his surrogates, volunteers and the media( http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/16/obama-race-a-factor/) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia75o5IO3xo) . They want us to believe that the only way to improve race relations in this country is to vote Obama into the White House. To those promoting this idea I would have to ask a simple question. Is this what Martin Luther King, Jr meant when he said ” I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Be warned, this is a bit long but it is specific.
In covering the failing banking industry and the mortgage mess, the media has been throwing around words like disaster, crisis, and dire like peanut vendors at a baseball game. Their irresponsible use of these words has prompted many questions about what McCain and Obama would do as President to correct what is happening on Wall Street and Main Street. Here are the plans of both candidates. The information on Barack Obama’s plan is taken directly from his “Blueprint For Change” while information on John McCain’s plan is taken from the expanded issues section of his website.
To provide relief for millions of people affected by the mortgage mess and the Wall Street debacle, Sen Obama has proposed a 10% universal mortgage credit that will provide $500 to about $10 million homeowners. The credit will help those making under $50,000 who do not itemize their taxes.
Additionally, Sen Obama will create a new HOME (Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit) score that will allow borrowers to measure their available mortgage options and will help them understand the full cost of the mortgage they enter into with a lender. This provision would seem to help new borrowers more than those already in a mortgage. It also keeps the borrower as the primary decision maker and leaves the burden of responsibility firmly with the borrower, which is where irt needs to be. However, there is nothing to stop the banking and investment industries from manipulating this score just as they manipulated numbers to get people into the sub prime mortgages in the last few years.
Finally Senator Obama has proposed, in his “Blueprint for Change”, a government fund to help “innocent” homeowners. While “innocent” is not defined by Obama I imagine that it means those homeowners who took out a bigger mortgage than they could afford on an adjustable rate loan. This fund would be paid for by the money received from increased penalties on lenders who have acted irresponsibly (those lenders currently going under?) or those convicted of fraud. While this sounds good because it targets the corporate greed Sen Obama and his colleagues hate, the fund is based on passage of what Sen Obama calls “his record” on this issue, the Stop Fraud Act.
The Stop Fraud Act is a bill sponsored by Obama and Dick Durbin that defines mortgage fraud, increases funding for law enforcement (?), and enacts new penalties for those found guilty of fraud. It also requires the industry to report suspicios activity, it does not say to who. The bill has been introduced to committee and referred to another committee, it has not been passed by the Congress, nor is it close to a general debate on the floor. By the way it was introduced in 2007 so I do have to ask where was his leadership on this issue? http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-1222
Now onto Senator McCain.
Senator McCain has proposed a “Home Plan”, unfortunately HOME does not stand for anything cute like in Obama’s plan. Under this plan, Sen McCain would offer borrowers the chance to trade an existing mortgage that they can not pay for a mortgage that is more manageable under a fixed rate and reflects the market value of the home at the time. Of course there are restrictions but they favor those being hurt by their current situation. Those restrictions are as follows:
- an eligible sub prime loan after 2005
- prove your credit worthiness at the time of the original loan ( something you have to prove any way if you get a mortgage the right way)
- are delinquent on payments or facing a reset or show that you can not meet your current obligations and
- can meet the terms of a new fixed rate, 30 year, FHA backed loan
Under McCain’s plan there is no H.O.M.E. score or federal fund that has to be passed first. The plan has elements of a bill introduced by two Democrats (there is that record of bi-partisanship again), Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. The plan does require banks to forgive part of the loan principle and write a new loan for borrowers but the other option for the bank would be foreclosure, an option that would probably cost them more.
Borrowers under McCain’s plan also can apply by picking up a form at the post office or printing a form from the internet (is that a use of technology by McCain?). From there once the request is sent in, the loan request is approved by the FHA based on qualifications and then sent to the bank where the homeowner has their existing loan who retires and rewrites the loan to loan backed by the FHA.
Of course Sen McCain’s plan also addresses the speculators and financial market practitioners who handed out the sub prime loans in the first place. If a bailout is needed, Sen McCain believes that it should come at a cost to the financial industry, not taxpayers. A bailout would happen only to prevent failure and in return that institution would face greater transparency and accountability. This is the case with AIG, an institution that, if it failed and did not receive a partial bailout, would affect people around the globe. Perhaps the 9/11 commission Sen McCain has proposed recently would provide the transparency necessary to determine why the current situation happened and how it can be prevented in the future.
There are the two plans in detail. Of course I’m partial but as I see it, Sen Obama’s plan relies heavily on government and passage of bills and recommendations in Congress that have already taken over a year to go to committee. Unlike Sen Obama’s plan, Sen McCain’s plan could be instituted fairly easily and does not rely on new penalties that have not been discussed in committee yet. In addition penalties already exist under current banking laws (http://blownmortgage.com/2008/02/03/barack-obamas-mortgage-reform-policy/ for some insight) for lenders who engage in deceptive practices.
Sen Obama specifically points out that 10 million homeowners will benefit under his tax credit initiative. That is a far cry from the 200-400 million people Sen McCain is proposing to help immediately. Make your own choice on this issue but these are the facts and plans as stated by each candidate on their official websites. Hopefully, I will also be highlighting other issues in the future.