Politician & Media Arguments

The Left

Barack Obama

“You would have thought that at a time of historic crisis that Republican leaders would have been more willing to help us find a way out of this mess, particularly since they created the mess.”


 

Barack Obama 2009

“What I won’t do is return to the failed theory of the last 8 years that got us into this fix in the first place.”

 

 

Nancy Pelosi

“For too long, 8 years this government has followed a right wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation.”

 

Supporting data for their arguments:

 

George W. Bush, May 2002

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as the federal home loan banks will increase their commitment to minority markets by more than $440 billion dollars.”

 

FactCheck.org

It’s true that key Democrats opposed the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, which would have established a single, independent regulatory body with jurisdiction over Fannie and Freddie – a move that the Government Accountability Office had recommended in a 2004 report.

But saying that Democrats killed the 2005 bill “while Mr. Obama was notably silent” oversimplifies things considerably. The bill made it out of committee in the Senate but was never brought up for consideration. At that time, Republicans had a majority in the Senate and controlled the agenda. Democrats never got the chance to vote against it or to mount a filibuster to block it.

Click here for full report

 

 

(add CBO statements)

 

 

The Right

Mitt Romney

“Markets work. When you have government play its heavy hand, markets blow up and people get hurt. And the reason we have the housing crisis we have is that the federal government played too heavy a roll in our markets. The federal government came in with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd told banks that they had to give loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back.“

Supporting data for his argument:

 

The New York Times, September 11, 2003

“The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.”

“The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt — is broken.”

Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

Link to that article here

 

CNN June 15, 2002

“The (Bush) administration wants legislation to be much tougher in regulating the two federally chartered mortgage financiers than a current bill that sailed through a House committee on a 65-5 vote.”

“Both the White House and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan argue that the two companies, which are involved in financing nearly half of U.S. home mortgages, have too many mortgage-backed securities in their portfolios.”

“But the affordable housing funds and the two firms also have support in Congress, according to the report. Some members of Congress are reluctant to support any moves seen as hurting the housing market at a time when there is increasing concern about a housing-price bubble.

“Partly because of Fannie and Freddie, “we have the strongest, most dynamic housing market in the world,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing in April.”

 

Bill Clinton 2008

“I think that the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was president to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

 

Michael Bloomberg

“I would say it all started back when there was a lot of pressure on banks to make loans to everyone. Redlining, if you remember, was the term where banks took whole neighborhoods and said people in these neighborhoods are poor, they’re not gonna be able to pay off their mortgages… and then Congress got involved, and local elected officials as well and said ‘oh that’s not fair these people should be able to get credit’ and once you started pushing in that direction banks started making more and more loans where the credit of the person buying the house wasn’t as good as you would like.”

Republican Ed Royce

“In addition to our important oversight role in this committee, I hope that we will move swiftly to create a new regulatory structure for Fannie Mae, for Freddie Mac, and the federal home loan banks.

 

Democrat Barney Frank before the economic collapse

“…you’re not going to see the collapse that you see when people talk about a bubble…Those of us on our committee in particular will continue to push for home ownership.”

 

Democrat Barney Frank after the economic collapse

“I was very much in disagreement with this push into homeownership…”

 

Ron Paul, September 2003

The boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been had government not actively encouraged over-investment in housing.

 

Republican Richard Baker

It is indeed a very troubling report, but it is a report of extraordinary importance, not only to those who wish to own a home, but as to the taxpayers of this country who would pay the cost of the clean-up of an enterprise failure.

 

 

CBS MarketWatch November 2003

Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the (Bush) administration’s Council of Economic Advisers said that a small misstep in the risk management programs at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could have repercussions for other financial institutions.

Read full story here

 

 

Additional Elements of “this fix”

Tax Cuts

Politifact.com

“So if Gillespie’s point is that Bush’s tax cuts led to record revenues, they did — for 2007 at least — but that was a record aided by a the largest, non-recession economy in American history.” Link here

 

Politifact.com

“We looked at the numbers from a bunch of different angles and found no evidence that tax cuts for the wealthy are larger than those of everyone else combined. In fact, all the numbers we looked at showed that tax cuts for middle and lower incomes represent a bigger slice of the overall revenue pie. We think that evidence directly contradicts [the assertion that tax cuts for the rich are big deficit factor].” Link here

 

Prescription Drug Bill

CNN May 2002

“But during the Democrats’ weekly radio address, Sens. Jean Carnahan of Missouri and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan said that the Republican plan, while cheaper, just isn’t good enough. On May 1, two Senate Democrats — Bob Graham of Florida and Zell Miller of Georgia — offered a plan to add prescription-drug coverage to Medicare that would cost up to $425 billion over 10 years. Backers of a GOP proposal said their plan is designed to cost less than $350 billion over 10 years.” Link here

Two Wars

Afghanistan War Powers Resolution

Passed – House of Representatives – 420 Yeas, 1 Nay Link here

Passed – Senate – 98 Yeas, 0 Nays Link here

 

Authorization to Use Force in Iraq

Passed – House of Representatives – 296 Yeas, 133 Nays Link here

Passed – Senate – 77 Yeas, 23 Nays Link here