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Letters to the Editor

Ironic argument

April 7, 2009

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To the editor:

This letter is in response to Dolph Simons’ editorial, “Obama’s Revolution” (Journal-World, March 28). I find it hilarious how Mr. Simons points out that Obama is using executive privilege to push through his policies as one of his main criticisms in his editorial. For starters, it isn’t true. While Obama’s administration has gone to executive privilege for certain aspects of his agenda, he has also worked with Republicans in trying to reach a consensus. Mr. Simons should also know that, over his eight years in office, President Bush used executive privilege to push through his agendas without taking them to vote more than any president in the history of the United States.

America dealt with eight years of Bush policies of tax cuts for the wealthy, further deregulation of the financial industry and idle threats to take out the men who murdered 3,000 Americans, only to use our military to attack an economically and militarily crippled country who had nothing to do with those murders, all of which helped to swell the national debt to astronomical levels.

Half of the American voting public who did not elect Bush had to accept eight years of his myopic and arrogant administration, and now have to deal with the results of his proven failures. I think you owe Obama more than two months in office before indicting him on charges of running the country into the ground. After all Bush was given eight years to run the country into the ground, and leave us six feet under.

Winfrey is from Lawrence

Comments

VTHawk 5 years, 8 months ago

If the debt levels under Bush were astronomical, what do you call the monstrosity that is the Obama budget. The deficits for each year (projected by Obama's administration itself) are over twice the size of Bush's BIGGEST deficit. This despite the ending of the Iraq War (already budgeted in) and other military spending cuts.

BTW, Bush did nothing but reduce the tax burden of average income Americans, and removed millions from the tax roles. Obama has already created a huge tax hike on the poor (Cig tax) and plans nothing but more tax hikes for people below the $250k mark.

VTHawk 5 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, hate to pull a Merrill and post twice in a row, but Bush actually made the tax rolls MORE progessive (the rich paid more, Winfrey, not less).

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba606

Also: the CBO projects $9,300,000,000,000 in debt from Obama's first budget framework (9.3 Trillion). That is more than four times the amount that 8 years of Bush generated.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090320/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_budget

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

Another horribly written and poorly supported LTE.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

Thank you, Liberty, the 'deregulation' myth is tiresome. But not nearly as weak as the "Hey, Bush did it defense". So it was bad then, but because he broke the seal it's ok if BO does it?

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

"While Obama’s administration has gone to executive privilege for certain aspects of his agenda, he has also worked with Republicans in trying to reach a consensus." I LOLed so hard I think I peed a little.

jonas_opines 5 years, 8 months ago

"So it was bad then, but because he broke the seal it's ok if BO does it?"

Sort of, but keep in mind that Bush didn't break the seal, it was usually Clinton, if not Reagan. Wait, then it was Carter, if not Nixon. Or Truman!! FDR!!

/New rallying cry: Less corrupt than Harding's administration! //Washington did it.

KayCee 5 years, 8 months ago

Well, KIDS, I'll take what Bush had for eight years over what we have already see from the big "O".

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

I think the point of the LTE is that the concern about things like executive privelege and deficits seems partisan when Republicans are suddenly concerned about them after 8 years of not being concerned when Bush was President.

Both sides are too partisan for my taste - I'd like to see everyone be concerned about integrity, intelligence, the Constitution, large deficits, etc. all of the time.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

" And again I see the mythical deregulation being brought up again."

It's hardly mythical. Sure, you can point to a lot of regulatory minutia under the Bush administration, most of which was counterproductive, designed to reward well-connected special interests, ill-conceived and/or poorly implemented, the economic collapse we are now seeing is indeed a direct result of relaxation regulations on Wall Street and the banking and insurance sectors.

But probably the biggest single factor in this was the repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act, which happened in the waning days of the Clinton Administration. It was primarily the work of Phil Gramm, but he had the full support of Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, Clinton's treasury secretaries. BushCo came to power almost immediately, and proceeded to allow our economy to become one giant ponzi scheme.

HermioneElliott 5 years, 8 months ago

President Obama has been working for this country since the day he was confirmed as President. He is bright and articulate and brings this to the table when he talks to foreign leaders. His ability to stay calm and focused and continue to communicate with others is invaluable in these times of great stress. He and the First Lady treat everyone the same, no matter their status in society.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

"But probably the biggest single factor in this was the repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act, which happened in the waning days of the Clinton Administration. It was primarily the work of Phil Gramm, but he had the full support of Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, Clinton's treasury secretaries. "

And Alan Greenspan, too.

2002 5 years, 8 months ago

I'm all for bashing the Bush policies, but those supporting what BO is doing are just dumb. Little of what was promised has been done, he backed a massive spending plan that impacts only a minor part of the job market, he isn't really bringing troops home and the list goes on.

He promised change and he looks more like Bush every day. He also promised hope...I hope 2012 comes quickly.

VTHawk 5 years, 8 months ago

Agnostic:

If everyone smoked at the same rate, the cig. tax would disproportionately affect the poor (regessive taxation). However, the poor are substantially more likely to smoke than the wealthy, so it is a double-whammy.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/31/picket-tobacco-taxs-unintended-consequences/

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

"bozo, none of the banks affected by the partial repeal of Glass-Stegall were the ones that went under."

Jeez, what planet are you living on? The $trillion bailouts are happening precisely to keep these institutions (they aren't all banks) afloat.

"Plus it had nothing to do with the causes of the housing bubble, namely cheap money and giving out loans to unqualified people. "

It had everything to do with it. Without the ability to package up these bad loans and then sell off bets on them, they never would have been made.

"What regulation would have prevented banks from giving loans to low-income people?"

There were thousands upon thousands of loans to loan-income people that are doing just fine. The "liar" loans were never required of any lending institution. These loans were made by crooks who knew they'd package them up and sell them off before they blew up, and the repeal of the Glass-Stegall is what allowed them to do it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

"I'm all for bashing the Bush policies, but those supporting what BO is doing are just dumb."

I agree-- he's clearly a major improvement over Bush, but in both his dealing with the economy and in Iraq and Afghanistan, he's listening way too much to the same ole "experts" that created these messes in the first place.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

jonas,

The new rallying cry made me chuckle aloud. And I stand corrected, no doubt W. didn't 'break the seal'.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for proving my point, LO. The above repeals certainly didn't create derivatives and securitizations that caused this housing bubble, but they most certainly opened the floodgate that the floods that are now inundating us.

And I call BS on your demand that I prove it was poor regulation that has caused the economic collapse, when clearly the financial sectors were given free reign over the last eight years.

Since you're claiming that BushCo (and other) regulations are the cause of this mess, please tell which ones, and exactly why and how they have caused this mess. Be specific, and don't just give me another profession of your faith in "free markets," whatever that is.

VTHawk 5 years, 8 months ago

12 U.S.C.A.§ 78

  1. Section, Act June 16, 1933, c. 89, § 20, 48 Stat. 188; Aug. 23, 1935, c. 614, §§ 203(a), 302, 49 Stat. 704, 707, prohibited member banks in the Federal Reserve System (after one year from June 16, 1933) from affiliating with organizations dealing in securities and set out penalties for every violation of section by member banks.

This section allowed the larger banks to create new investment vehicles dealing in securities. That is to say, derivative securities like subprime loans. Since they were nominally separate entities (as per the "affiliating" clause), the assets and liabities were subject to different reporting requirements. Banks like Citi started taking on water when they started writing down the value of these investment vehicles, which resulted in billions of losses.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

" Please tell me which part gave banks “the ability to package up these bad loans and then sell off bets on them.”"

It's pretty blatant. If you can't see it, then I suggest you're not looking very hard--

"prohibited member banks in the Federal Reserve System (after one year from June 16, 1933) from affiliating with organizations dealing in securities and set out penalties for every violation of section by member banks."

In other words, the regulation of securities and derivatives, or “the ability to package up these bad loans and then sell off bets on them” by banks and others in the financial sector was eliminated.

notajayhawk 5 years, 8 months ago

Agnostick (Anonymous) says…

"So, a cigarette tax is a “poor tax?” Sure about that? You're saying then, that all poor people smoke? That all smokers are poor? That rich people never smoke tobacco? Evidence, statistics, research, please?"

I believe the figures reflect the fact that a larger percentage of poor people smoke than non-poor people, but since poor people are a minority, the majority of smokers are non-poor. So cigarette taxes are raised mostly from the non-poor, but they still affect more poor people than non-poor people (percentage-wise, not in absolute numbers).

Clumsily worded, but did that make sense?

"the “Bush Tax Cuts” should've been repealed"

Actually, the constant use of the term "Bush tax cuts" isn't entirely accurate - more like a repealing of the Clinton tax increases. E.g., he repealed the 10% surcharge on the highest tax bracket (that had effectively raised the taxes paid by the 'rich' from 36% to 39.6%).


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"I agree— he's clearly a major improvement over Bush, but in both his dealing with the economy and in Iraq and Afghanistan, he's listening way too much to the same ole “experts” that created these messes in the first place."

So when the Obamatron does something right, it was his idea, but when he makes a mistake, it's someone else's fault, right, boohoozo? Ah, the oft-cited fool-proof defense used by the Democratic pabulum guzzlers - the bad things the Pres is doing are only because he's gullible. Hard to argue with that.

BuffyloGal 5 years, 8 months ago

Republicans finally worrying about national debt. It makes me chuckle every time I hear it! How short a memory do they think people have?

jhwk2008 5 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says…

"bozo, you've got to be kidding me. There's nothing there about the regulation of securities and derivatives. The only thing that is being repealed is the prohibition on the commercial banks “affiliating” with the investment banks."

  1. The definition of "security" in section 2(a)(1) does not include any security-based swap agreement (as defined in section 206B of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [15 USCS § 78c note]).
  2. The Commission is prohibited from registering, or requiring, recommending, or suggesting, the registration under this title of any security-based swap agreement[.] ...
  3. The Commission is prohibited from ... promulgating, interpreting, or enforcing rules; or ... issuing orders of general applicability; ... as prophylactic measures against fraud, manipulation, or insider trading with respect to any security-based swap agreement[.]

http://www.law.uc.edu/CCL/34Act/sec3A.html

teacherforpublicschools 5 years, 8 months ago

At least much of Obama's large expenditures will be spent on us, and not sent overseas to be squandered on people who really don't appreciate it.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

"Republicans finally worrying about national debt. It makes me chuckle every time I hear it! How short a memory do they think people have?"

Brilliant post considering the debt will triple in 7 years. And you're asking someone else about short memory?

"At least much of Obama's large expenditures will be spent on us, and not sent overseas to be squandered on people who really don't appreciate it."

As a teacher you should know better than to speak out without a modicum of research. Check how and where an awful lot of those 'large expenditures' are being spent and sent. And there's no 'at least' about it. It's gross expense at best.

Godot 5 years, 8 months ago

blah, blah,blah, Obama apologiea, blah, blah, blah, misdirection, blah, blah, blah, failure to launch.

Look the other way.

camper 5 years, 8 months ago

I'm not so sure that it was a lack of regulation, but a lack of oversight. In my mind it is not political, probably because I know little about finance. But here are a few things the Democrats and Republicans need to take a look at to prevent this same crisis from happening again (or atleast until new loopholes are found by the financial gurus):

  1. Bundled mortgages and securities - When did this trend become common? All it seemed to do was make investments unrecognizeable. Bad loans became hidden.
  2. Short Trading - Nobody has yet been able to describe this to me in a way I can understand.
  3. Day trading - Seems like non-productive work and paper shuffling.

As far as #1 goes, I say you loaned it.....you got it. Maybe lending institutions should be required to keep their loans for a certain length of time before they become passed around like hot potato's or bundled up so they are not so hot.

camper 5 years, 8 months ago

Liberty, I don't quite follow you (nor disagree however). In my mind, I believe these bundled mortgage securities are a part of the root cause. If the SEC could have (I don't know if they had the authority) disallowed these types of shaky financial instruments, there would not be a need for much added regulation. Somehow we got to having one loan that can be monitored to 1,000 mortgages combined, sold to Fannie and Freddie, and probably serviced by some center outsourced to another country. A lot of this could have been prevented if the original lender(s) hung on to their loans. And this would be a built in protection from loan originators who have only commision as an incentive.

VTHawk 5 years, 8 months ago

People paid too much for houses because they could get loans for houses, which spiked demand. They could get loans because the Fed overcorrected when cutting rates after 9/11 to prevent economic crisis, which flooded the market with liquidity.

Better regulation still might have averted the problem, but the poor incentives at Fannie/Freddie/many banks to "grow loans", expecially to the poor/minority groups that congress wanted, added gas to an already explosive mix.

CNA_Resident 5 years, 8 months ago

Not quite, VTHawk! Leveraged bets on subprime mortgage loans could not have spread so far or fast without derivatives, VTH. The unbelievably stupid risks that destroyed investment houses and decimated dozens of banks and insurance companies, including AIG, would not have happened!!

Without derivatives, a literal handful of so-called "financial wizards" could not have destroyed major mutual funds and pension funds, let alone their own institutions!

As you darn well should know, there were 2 REPUBLICAN-initiated congressional pieces of legislation that caused the current mortgage crisis: 1. the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 (DIDMCA) and 2. the Alternative Mortgage Transactions Parity Act of 1982 (AMTPA).

The former abolished state usury caps that limited the interest rates banks could charge on primary mortgages -a law that had been in place since 1919!!! - and, in the process, gave banks more incentive to make home loans to folks with poor credit.

PRIOR to the passage of AMTPA, the banks were barred from making anything but the conventional fixed-rate, amortizing mortgages! AMPTA lifted those restrictions, creating all sorts of ridiculous mortgage schemes that were used to pimp even more ridiculous housing stock being built by developers, who quickly took advantage to convert land into housing tracts by the MILLLIONS.

And the ~REPUBLICAN CONGRESS~ of the 1990's took it to a whole new level by completely denying the reality of such a basic and very obvious pyramid scheme ... rolling back all those pesky environmental laws for developers, and exempting banks from some of the most basic accounting measures that HAD been in place since the Great Depression!! The Republicans (as well as Democrats) KNEW there was a problem and did NOTHING about it.

What's worse, is that the Usury Law of 1919 was completely ~abandoned~ in the race for adjustable-rate mortgages. Neither the banks or the government bothered to check on whether or not borrowers had the financial means to repay a loan at the fully-indexed rate and assume fully amortized payments!

And My, what SHORT memories we have of a frantic, knee-bending, Paul Volker, begging in emergency meetings last year, along with Gutierrez, Bernanke and the President's Council on Economic Advisors for taxpayer money to deal with the imploding financial mess created by the very individuals who were later BAILED OUT of their conduct with ~NO~ OVERSIGHT; ~NO~ ACCOUNTABILITY and ~NO~ CONSEQUENCES for their acts.

Godot 5 years, 8 months ago

That $9 trillion debt is just from the deficit spending Obama plans. Add another $10 trillion from promises and guarantees already made by Obama through Geithner, Bernanke and Blair.

camper 5 years, 8 months ago

"None of that has anything to do with why people paid too much for houses"

What? It has much to do about people paying too much for houses. If banks were not able to bundle (and thus disguise) these bad loans, they would have had to practice better risk management, and therefore would not have made so many bad loans.

JHOK32 5 years, 8 months ago

Somewhere I heard that 1% of our U.S. population controls 50% of our nation's total wealth........if this is true it still boggles my mind. Anyone know?

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