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"All of Obama's actions have highly fascist overtones."

John Griffing at American Thinker:

Over the years, words lose meaning and often take on new forms that in no way represent their original usage.  This can be observed in the now taboo word "fascism."  Fascism is now most closely associated with the system of government that effected the slaughter of over 6 million Jews and other political prisoners.  But at its core, fascism is really no more than a system where government, through agreements with the private sector, controls virtually all property and income indirectly
Prosperity and economic growth become the domain of government.  The philosophical aim is to eliminate recessions by eliminating robust growth -- the underlying philosophy being that if there is no boom, there will be no bust.  This system usually appeals to populations coming out of severe economic depressions and upheaval, as in pre-Nazi Germany during the period of the 1930s. 
All of Obama's actions have highly fascist overtones.  The fusion of government and the private sector can be observed most clearly in the recent Chicago-style shakedown of BP, wherein Obama forced a private sector company to set up a $20 billion slush fund to be controlled by his team of czars, criminally exceeding his constitutional authority.  Only days after it was clear that this action would not be met with legal challenge, Obama succeeded in passing a financial overhaul bill granting him the authority to seize healthy firms if he deemed them to be at risk, outside of normal bankruptcy procedures which exist expressly for that purpose
For any fascist system to maintain control, "the rich" must be indebted to the state, and the poor must feel empowered by the state.  Shortly after Obama was elected, he immediately targeted specific affluent persons with proposed 90 percent taxes.  Although highly illegal, the effect was the same.  Persons with wealth became aware that there was a man in power who would not hesitate to break the backs of the wealthy.  The financial interests of the richest one percent became suddenly interwoven with Obama's success. 
And what of the poor?  The poor, having lost work due to the economically destructive policies of the Obama Administration, e.g. tax increases during a recession and the wholesale banning of lucrative industries, remain utterly dependent on President Obama.  The "savior" assures the poor that he "feels their pain" and talks of hard times ahead.  As a result, the poor naturally link their destiny to the success of the President.  By discouraging investment through higher capital gains taxes, through the virtual prohibition of "risk" in hedge fund and derivatives trading, as well as through hidden taxes associated with mandatory health insurance and the financial overhaul, Obama has created an environment where businesses cannot hire.  This leaves the poor in the cold and makes government the sole source of worker empowerment. 
It would be educational to read the entire piece
Hell, it ought to be required reading for all.


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Comments (49)

Yesterday Socialist.... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Yesterday Socialist.

Today Fascist.

Tomorrow space alien.

Adrian,If you knew... (Below threshold)
jim m:


If you knew anything at all about history you would know that socialism and fascism go hand in hand.

Fascism and Socialism go ha... (Below threshold)

Fascism and Socialism go hand in hand. Socialism ONLY "works" when the government can FORCE people to bend to their will.

So yup...Barry O' will follow the game plan all the way.

I find it ludicrous that fi... (Below threshold)

I find it ludicrous that financial 'reform' has been performed by two of the leading lights in the recent melt-down of the financial system, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Where there truly "justice" in the world. These two cretins would be behind bars.

I have said this before. Th... (Below threshold)

I have said this before. This is the path that Zimbabwe went down when Robert Mugabe took over as the President. The first thing the government did was take over the farms that were owned by the whites and gave them to his cronies. Now look at Zimbabwe. It is the poorest country in Africa. This is the future that we can look forward to, if Obama continues on the road that he currently traveling on

It is for these reasons tha... (Below threshold)
jim m:

It is for these reasons that I have been saying that the dems are acting in the way that they are because they have no intention of relinquishing power.

Furthermore I believe that there are elements in the GOP that would have no problem riding the dems coattails to fascism as long as they got a piece of the pie. Count Trent Lott and Michael Steele amongst them.

a form of political beha... (Below threshold)

a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy, but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

The modern def. of Facism...I've asked once and I'll ask again..who's regime does that most identify with, Bush or Obamalini and the ppl in charge now?

I'm sorry, what is the curr... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I'm sorry, what is the current count of libs that have suggested that Obama be named 'dictator' so he can just get on with getting done what he needs to get done?

I don't recall the same being ever said of any President in living memory.

Oh frakking A.Sorr... (Below threshold)

Oh frakking A.

Sorry, guys. There is no way that Obama is a fascist and Bush is not.

And I shouldn't even have to point out the brain-fizzing disconnect between these lines in the American so-called Thinker article (but apparently I do):

...at its core, fascism is really no more than a system where government, through agreements with the private sector, controls virtually all property and income indirectly.

...The fusion of government and the private sector can be observed most clearly in the recent Chicago-style shakedown of BP, wherein Obama forced a private sector company to set up a $20 billion slush fund to be controlled by his team of czars, criminally exceeding his constitutional authority.

Let's say that definition of fascism stands.

First, Obama asking BP to put $20 billion in escrow *saved* BP's stock freefall, and probably saved BP as a company. Therefore it's not a shakedown.

Second, Obama *asked*. Therefore there is absolutely no way that this is a violation of any single Constitutional authority whatsoever.

Third, once again Obama *asked* - there was no control overt or implied. Therefore there is no control here, "fascist" or otherwise - any more than it is "fascist" if you negotiate sticker price with a car dealer.

Fourth...Chicago-style shakedown? First, BP didn't lose anything. So it's not a shakedown. Second, there was nothing particularly "Chicago-style" about this. That's just a cute way to accuse Obama of being a criminal like Al Capone, when the only similarity they have is that they both lived in the same city.

I could accuse George Bush of a "Texas chainsaw massacre slaughter" of the California EPA laws. Would that make any more sense because he came from the same state as a fictional ritual chainsaw murderer?

FFS! Watch what people like this article writer do with words. They apply words where they don't fit, because they expect you will like what they have to say. But Socialists don't bail out banks; and presidencies aren't fascist just because they aren't doing what YOU wish there were.

It's fine to dislike someone's policies. But the way some conservatives throw words around, they might as well be calling Obama a Martian Frammistat. It would actually contain less misleading information.

And if you fall for it because you like it, you still for it, and you're still being manipulated.

Oh, and Jim M - actually in... (Below threshold)

Oh, and Jim M - actually in history fascists and communists have been at each other's throats. The main exception is the brief treaty between Hitler and Stalin - which ended with them at each others throats again.

"National Socialism" is no more socialist than the "People's Republic of China" is a republic. If fascism has anything in common with any other system, it's actually monarchism.

Obama 'asked'?As i... (Below threshold)

Obama 'asked'?

As in "Would you please give me $20 bil in an escrow account to spend as we see fit? If you do, I promise we won't destroy your company through the media and specifically directed legislation."

You can take a politician from Chicago - but you can't take the Chicago out of the politician.

Obama *didn't* ask?<p... (Below threshold)

Obama *didn't* ask?

As in, you think Obama said: "I fascistly order you to put $20 billion in escrow for coming lawsuits that you know you're going to have to pay eventually. Even though this will probably stop your company's stock slide as all your investors fear you'll go bankrupt."

Because if Obama didn't order them, they couldn't see a good idea.

You can take a politician from any area, and somewhere there's a scumbag you can tie him to symbolically even though there's no other actual similarity.

jim xThe only one ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

jim x

The only one calling obama a commie is you. If you want to travel that road we can.

National Socialism was pretty socialist to start with. Nor is there any incompatibility between socialism and fascism. Government controls the industry allowing private ownership as long as that ownership follows government dictate. Remember when obama demanded that GM fire it's CEO? What did they do?

The socialist part comes in controlling everything else through the government: Labor by government controlled unions ( you may argue that the major unions are not controlled by the government, but they are so tightly integrated with the dem party as to make that of little consequence), Heathcare, education, etc.

The point is that whether you want to call it fascism or socialism (or as you seem to prefer, communism [just joking]), the point is that obama has very clear totalitarian instincts and it becomes clearer every day. We can argue how to classify him, he is no friend of democracy no matter how you look at it.

If you would argue otherwise please look up his radio interview where he calls the US Constitution "Seriously flawed" and explain how his desires to change the "negative" bill of rights are a way of actually promoting liberty.

No. National socialist was ... (Below threshold)

No. National socialist was NOT socialist to start with. Or to END with. The "socialist" word was thrown in there for the masses, *exactly* like how "people's republic" has the word "republic" in it. There was no socialist takeover of any industries in any phase of Nazism. As long as the businesses didn't contradict Hitler, they could as they damn well please. That is authoritarianism - but it is not socialism by any stretch of the imagination.

And government *regulation* of corporations and business is not socialism, any more than holding individuals answerable to the law is a dictatorship. Socialism requires state *ownership* of ALL industries - not merely regulation or even influence of *some*.

Obama has no more totalitarian instincts or tendencies than Bush. He is simply using executive power to do things conservatives *don't* like, rather than things they *do*. For the record, he's doing quite a few things I don't like either. But they seem to be the few policies conservatives like, because they're BUsh policies that Obama has continued.

I get that conservatives don't like Obama. But, to quote Jon Stewart, I think you guys are confusing tyranny with *losing*. When someone is in power doing things you don't like, it's supposed to taste like a $#!+ sandwich. That doesn't make it socialism, fascism, or any number of other genuine evils.

Chicago-style shak... (Below threshold)
jim m:
Chicago-style shakedown? First, BP didn't lose anything. So it's not a shakedown. Second, there was nothing particularly "Chicago-style" about this. That's just a cute way to accuse Obama of being a criminal like Al Capone, when the only similarity they have is that they both lived in the same city.

I don't know about you but $20B sounds like losing something. Inflation isn't that bad yet that I'm carrying around a $20B bill in my pocket.

AS to Chicago style it was totally Chicago style. I grew up in Chicago (well OK the suburbs) but this is classic Jesse Jackson (who comes from Chicago), and Mayor Daley. Threaten the company with a boycott or some legal action so that it does whatever you want it to. He also comes from the same place that produced Blagojevic (currently on trial) and former governor Ryan (currently in the federal pen) both accused of the same pay to play politics that obama has been engaged in.

Jim x Sheesh, go r... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Jim x

Sheesh, go read something about the Nazis.

Hitler nationalized industries. He demonized capitalism and it's drive for profit. He desired a system that would put state and community interests first. Central planning for agriculture and industry was put into place.

Roehm was an outspoken socialist. Goebbels stressed the socialist tendencies of Nazism.

In 1927, Hitler said: "We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions."

But truth not withstanding you are right. The Nazis were never socialists.

Jim x,to borrow a ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Jim x,

to borrow a phrase from Barry, "Let me be perfectly clear". I do not think that obama is a Nazi, nor am I desiring to draw some parallel between the two. I make my points merely because you have claimed that there is no common ground between fascism and socialism. This is simply not accurate historically.

Obama's desire for dictatorship are uniquely his own.

jim x:There was n... (Below threshold)

jim x:
There was no socialist takeover of any industries in any phase of Nazism. As long as the businesses didn't contradict Hitler, they could as they damn well please.

The word you're looking for is "corporatism." The Italians were more blatant about it, but the basic effect was "the state doesn't own your business, and you can run things in your own company, as long as you do exactly what the government wants - if you don't, you're screwed."

You might note some similarities in recent years... with the exception that the folks running the US right now think it's a great idea to actually take over companies and run them.

Despite some of the frantic redefining we've seen from the Left in recent decades, Hitler's socialism was very definitely "socialist," with a heavy dose of nationalism to fit the times. Sure, they had a huge tendency towards a "cult of personality," but the end result was, basically, as socialist as anything the European socialists tried to do at the time.

National Socialism was anti-COMMUNIST, and that mostly because of the "true Communist" rejection of private property (not to mention the various communist political movements in Europe of the time were seen as political competition).

It's completely hilarious watching the modern Left trying to make socialism not be socialism, except for when they try to pretend that every function of government is socialistic ("roads are socialist, and you like THOSE, don't you?").

Sheesh yourself.He... (Below threshold)

Sheesh yourself.

Here, read up on the basics of National Socialism. It's just as available to Google for you as it is for me, but I'll post it here for you.


presented itself as politically syncretic, incorporating policies, tactics and philosophies from right- and left-wing ideologies; in practice, Nazism was a far right form of politics.[10]

Emphasis mine. The "presented itself" part means that Nazis *said* they were for a bunch of things, depending on what appealed for the masses. The "in practice" part means what they did was different than what they said.

Furthermore, two years after the 1927 quote you mention,

in 1929, Hitler backtracked, saying that socialism was "an unfortunate word altogether" and that "if people have something to eat, and their pleasures, then they have their socialism." Historian Henry A. Turner reports Hitler's regret at having including the word socialism in the Nazi Party name"
You're going to hit a point... (Below threshold)

You're going to hit a point, Jim X, and likely soon, where you're not going to be able to defend Obama's actions. My own thinking is if Bush were doing the same things Obama is, you'd be screaming for his impeachment. But as long as Obama's attached to the D side of things, you're fine with them.

We'll see just how fine. What WOULD it take to shift you off supporting Obama?

No, Cirby, sigh. Words like... (Below threshold)

No, Cirby, sigh. Words like "socialism" and "fascism" don't automatically mean what you want them to mean.


"a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole."

That means:
a) no private independent industry AS A RULE, and not only when that industry disobeys
b) no private property AS A RULE, and not only when that individual obeys.

Just because socialism is bad and fascism is bad, does not mean that socialism equals fascism.

And just because you don't like socialism, don't like fascism and don't like Obama, that doesn't mean Obama is a socialist fascist.

This really gets my goat, because it's a decaying of communication based on sloppy definitions.

Cirby, I must admit that you are correct - it's not only conservatives who misuse the term "socialist" like this. I have heard other liberals call public roads and public health care socialist, and it makes me grit my teeth also.

BUt it's all over the place. A similar thing with "anarchists". Most of what are currently called anarchists are actually nihilists. Proper anarchists advocate for systems which are organized - they just don't have a fixed executive power structure. They don't want chaos. BUt whatev.

I would counter that Nazism... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I would counter that Nazism is considered right wing by academia because of its nationalism. The academic left then uses that right wing classification to claim that racism is a right wing issue. Racism is not necessarily a creature of either side of the aisle.

However, more of Nazisms characteristics are more commonly found with today's left. Certainly the nationalism is not found on the left, nor is the militarism, but the socialism, the desire for central control of the economy, control of education, control of healthcare, etc.

Hitler rejected socialism not as a philosophy but as a label. His feelings of betrayal by Roehm contributed to this. He still sought the control of industry but he sought it not for some socialist Utopian ideal but for the purpose of turning that industry to the purposes of the state. I suppose to the extent that the motivation is important this might be significant. I tend to think that it simply reflects the evolution of his thinking from leading a nationalist and socialist revolution to leading a totalitarian dictatorship and believing that he alone embodied the state.

Jlawson, in about 6 years y... (Below threshold)

Jlawson, in about 6 years you guys are going to hit a point where you going to have to admit that Obama did a far better job with this country than GWB did. I wonder what you're going to do then?

Can you guys admit, now, that Bill Clinton did a better job with the country than GHW Bush did? I'm actually curious.

What it would take for me to not like Obama, is if he does as badly with this country as GWB did. Unfortunately, that would leave me without a country, as we got GWB out of the White House just in the nick of time.

How long will Barry be able... (Below threshold)

How long will Barry be able to break law's and not be impeached?

Answer: Too f-n long.

I would counter that you ar... (Below threshold)

I would counter that you are claiming some sort of uniform bias on the part of Academia, in order to discount what they say.

But we could push that around all day. I'm talking about actual definitions.

Any form of government is some kind of control of resources and individuals. Socialism requires taking over of private industry and the abolution of private property *as a rule* - without which socialism *is not expected to work*. Fascism does not require this *or* attempt to institute it, even when the fascists are in full power and completely comfortable in their rule.

Therefore, fascism in general and Nazism in particular is not socialism.

As to Leftist governments not being nationalistic, that's not true at all either. Consider, again, the People's Republic of China - a very, very nationalistic nation. Also Russia, Cuba, North Korea, and every other communist country basically ever.

It's probably safe to say that any dictatorship whether right or left will use nationalism as a tool to keep the public in line.

JIm x you are conf... (Below threshold)
jim m:

JIm x

you are confusing socialism and communism. The definition does not say that there is no ownership of private property, that is communism. It says that the means of production belong to the state. In Nazi Germany the state allowed continued ownership of industry as long as that industry served the states purposes. The government exercised control over many industries mandating production levels etc.

When the state controls what and how much is made the actual ownership becomes a technicality.

From he same Wikipedia article we have both read: Hitler said ,"But the State should retain control; every owner should feel himself to be an agent of the State ... The Third Reich will always retain the right to control property owners"

So Hitler considered each business owner as a direct agent of the state. If owners are considered state employees then de facto the business is state owned and controlled. That's called socialism

"in about 6 years you guys ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"in about 6 years you guys are going to hit a point where you going to have to admit that Obama did a far better job with this country than GWB did. "

Not bloody well likely.

He has made a hash of nearly every major decision he has had to make. He has alienated our major allies and failed utterly to make any meaningful outreach to our enemies. Our enemies see him as weak and ignorant. His economic policies are being vocally repudiated by today's European heads of state. He has failed to adequately respond to the gulf oil spill. He has created a government that is driven by racial victimhood beliefs and not equal protection.

By contrast both Clinton and Bush dealt effectively with our allies and our enemies. Clinton formed effective coalitions in Bosnia, Bush did the same in Iraq. Both saw unemployment in the sub 5% range and inflation under 3%. Bush saw significant economic growth after 9/11 by cutting taxes. Clinton corrected his course after 1994 midterms and governed from the center and did a creditable job of it.

There may be people who think that Barry is a great president but every poll shows that they are a small and shrinking minority.

We won't be the ones reassessing our opinions of obama in 6 years.

Jim M, you're right in that... (Below threshold)

Jim M, you're right in that Communism is the further step from socialism, in that it also advocates the abolition of private property. I stand corrected in that.

But mass industry is not private property, at least as generally defined. And socialism is government control of the means of production as a rule - not with Hitler's exception. Therefore the definition of socialism as taken from the dictionary stands. And it is the same definition which is applied in the wiki article.

Which is probably why the same article we both read defines Nazism as a grab bag of left and right politics in appearance, and as a far-right form of politics in practice.

Not bloody well likely. ... (Below threshold)

Not bloody well likely.

Well, we'll see, won't we?

I'll spare you just this once, the long long list of things GWB did wrong.

But I guess we can agree that Obama will have to at least do better than GWB.

"But I guess we can agree t... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"But I guess we can agree that Obama will have to at least do better than GWB. "

I will readily admit that Bush did not lead in many ways and there were many mistakes. We would probably disagree on most of them.

But here we are agreed: Barry needs to do better than Bush (hell, every president should strive to be better than his predecessor). I doubt that he can or understands how to do so. I think his ideology prevents his as do his aspirations for power and his enormous ego, which does not allow him to admit error.

For Obama's ideology - I re... (Below threshold)

For Obama's ideology - I really don't see what conservatives are seeing. I see a corporate centrist directly in the Bill Clinton mold. I don't see how Obama's ideology is different from Bill Clinton's in any solid way.

"Jlawson, in about 6 years ... (Below threshold)

"Jlawson, in about 6 years you guys are going to hit a point where you going to have to admit that Obama did a far better job with this country than GWB did. I wonder what you're going to do then?"

Admit I was wrong, if I have to. But, as Jim M pointed out in his post, I don't think I'll have to. As far as the Clinton era goes - if 9/11 had hit in 1993, I don't think he'd have had a clue about what to do.

Of course, it really depends on where you think the country should go in the long run. Me? I'm thinking we need a regulatory reset back to about 2005-6. Seems like everything started going to hell when the Dems got the House and Senate in 2007 and added a lot of 'oversight' - except for Fannie and Freddie which Barney Frank said didn't need it... until they imploded.

And it can't have escaped your notice that every attempt at 'fixing' what was 'wrong' just seems to fail. Banks won't make loans, businesses don't know what's next legislatively so they're putting off hiring.

This can't really continue much longer.

Frankly, Clinton's looking better and better in comparison. And Carter's starting to look Reaganesque in retrospect. But Bush? 2000 to 2006 may be looked on as the last golden era for a while, where we didn't realize just how good we had it until the spoilers and wreckers got elected and screwed it all up. For, as they constantly justified, the 'best' of reasons.

"in about 6 years you... (Below threshold)
John S:

"in about 6 years you guys are going to hit a point where you going to have to admit that Obama did a far better job with this country than GWB did"

That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. In six years president Clinton will be dealing with the eighth year of the current recession, GDP will be at 1990 levels, and the Obama presidency will be a faint but bitter memory.

"For Obama's ideology - I r... (Below threshold)

"For Obama's ideology - I really don't see what conservatives are seeing."

That's pretty clear. And it doesn't seem like you're trying hard to look at it from our point of view either.

It's really pretty simple, at least for me. I want a government that is minimally intrusive. I want a banking system that will lend money to people who are credit-worthy, reject loans to people who can't pay for them, and not be worried about lending for fear that the government MIGHT change the rules next week and they'll be in non-compliance on something that's perfectly okay today.

I want businesses to be able to operate in a stable regulatory environment that doesn't require them to have more accountants and lawyers than productive employees. It's not a choice between adding a shitload of regulations and having no regulatory oversight - it's figuring out a balance that works to get problems taken care of AND allow the business to grow and prosper.

I want the unemployment rate back down in the 5's. I don't want the government throwing the better part of a trillion to cronies and paybacks, I don't want the government circumventing established bankruptcy laws to 'help' the unions. The established legal procedures for bankruptcy worked fine - until all of a sudden it was necessary to go around them for the UAW. Don't dump what's worked for decades on a whim because it's inconvenient for the folks who got you elected - that way lies madness.

Obama was ready to rule on day one.

Kings rule.

Presidents lead. Obama hasn't been leading.

John S - wow. If you guys t... (Below threshold)

John S - wow. If you guys think Hillary Clinton is going to run for president in 2012, I just don't know what to say.

Yes, I do - I think you're up for quite a surprise in two short years.

I get what you don't like a... (Below threshold)

I get what you don't like about Obama. What I'm telling you is, you're tying this to some "far leftist socialist ideology" that doesn't exist in reality.

Obama is a corporate centrist, just like Bill Clinton was. If anything, Obama is even less to the Left than Clinton. But both are **extremely** friendly to major corporations - OR THEY NEVER WOULD HAVE BEEN ELECTED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

As for "not leading", well you may recall Obama being instrumental in getting a health care bill passed. A reform bill which has eluded every single President since Nixon.

Now, you almost certainly do not like the health care bill. But you can't deny that it was passed. This makes Obama a stronger leader than many other presidents, at least in this regard.

Bill Clinton also tried to pass a bill which was even more comprehensive, and less friendly to insurance companies. This would show Obama even *more* of a corporate centrist than Bill Clinton.

That is, if we're going to make actual evidence-based comparisons here.

As far as the Clinton er... (Below threshold)

As far as the Clinton era goes - if 9/11 had hit in 1993, I don't think he'd have had a clue about what to do.

Well, we know what he did when the first Towers attack failed - he found and prosecuted every single person involved.

He also got us in and out of Bosnia, to the acclaim and praise of our allies - over the strenuous objections of the GOP. And he did it without one single combat casualty.

On top of all this, he was the man who was trying to stop Bin Laden, while Bush ignored him and demoted Richard Clarke from cabinet meetings as soon as he got in office.

So I think the record is pretty clear that he would have done a better job than Bush. Just by paying attention he would have done that.

And as for blaming the 2007 stock and housing market implosion on Fannie Mae -> therefore Democrats -> not the GOP's fault, as I've posted elsewhere:

a) Fannie Mae didn't create the housing bubble
b) Fannie Mae didn't force banks to create credit default swaps
c) Fannie Mae didn't force banks like Goldman Sachs to push financial products they *knew* would fail onto their clients, and then **bet against their clients**

...and to blame the 2007 economic crash on Fannie Mae, you'd have to at least connect the dot to a).

A far better culprit would be to blame the repeal of Glass-Steagal in 1998. That was a bipartisan mess; the GOP wanted it and CLinton approved it. But that would mean admitting regulation is good for the free market, or something?

I don't want to come across... (Below threshold)

I don't want to come across as overly harsh, although I know I do sometimes. And I apologize for that.

I just think that the truly overheated rhetoric is most dangerous when it isn't in contact with facts, and loses perspective.

The koolaid is strong in th... (Below threshold)
rich K:

The koolaid is strong in this one.Whos up for a beer?

<a href="http://we... (Below threshold)
Easy Credit, Hard Landing | The Weekly Standard

"This is an account of what ails us that is radically at odds with the familiar tale of greedy bankers in $5,000 suits. "Almost every financial crisis has political roots," Rajan writes. The credit market--at least as regards housing--was distorted by government policy, not by a sudden and mysterious escalation in "greed." The trends that shook the world economy came out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, out of the Federal Housing Administration, and out of their "regulator," the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

By 2000, HUD required that low-income loans make up 50 percent of Fannie and Freddie's portfolios. Out of "compassionate conservatism," perhaps, the Bush administration raised that mandate to 56 percent. Rajan cites Fannie Mae's former chief credit officer, Edward Pinto, who notes that, by 2008, "the FHA and various other government programs were exposed to about $2.7 trillion in subprime and Alt-A loans, approximately 59 percent of total loans to these categories." Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute found that government-mandated loans accounted for two-thirds of "junk mortgages."

Another way of looking at this problem is provided in a study done by Rajan's Chicago colleagues Atif Mian and Amir Sufi. They found that, if you look at the period between 2002 and 2005, the number of mortgages obtained in a given ZIP code "is negatively correlated with household income growth." In other words, lenders preferred un-creditworthy borrowers to creditworthy borrowers. In a market governed by "greed" and undistorted by government pressure, such a result would make no sense."
It's entirely possible for two people to look at the same event, and see disparate causes for that event, especially complex ones like the recent economic collapse. Facts are always available - it's the analysis that'll go one way or the other, depending on which party's ass you want to cover.

Me? I don't want it repeated - I don't give a damn who's in charge. Find the cause, fix the problem. If you can't agree on the cause, roll back the regulatory environment to 2004 and THEN proceed slowly, since you know the signs to look for and (hopefully) you'll be able to avoid the same mistakes that caused the problem in the first place.

Well, we know what he did when the first Towers attack failed - he found and prosecuted every single person involved.

Yes, he treated it as a criminal matter. Find the bad guys, punish the bad guys. Of course, actually dealing with the source of the problem, radical Islam with its tendency to spawn suicidal jihadists wasn't part of treating it like a criminal matter. THAT should have been a wakeup call, and when Osama Bin Laden was offered to him on a platter he refused.

But hell - who could have seen 9/11 coming? Even leading up to it, all they had was a vague 'Al Quaeda wants to attack the US, or US assets' - which could have been anything from tossing a molotov at a consulate on up.

But this has wandered far enough afield...

Jim, what on earth are we g... (Below threshold)

Jim, what on earth are we going to look back on and say "gee what a great job Obama has done?" Will it be the staggering unemployment, or the new craptastic health care, maybe it will be those great new taxes that drive business out of business. Gee it could also be Iran with the bomb. Hell at the rate he's going with our allies we might be at war with England.

The housing boom began way ... (Below threshold)

The housing boom began way before 2004. So "rolling back the regulatory environment to 2004" is nowhere near a possible solution.

The article you post claims that Fannie Mae "distorted" the housing market. But even that article doesn't claim that Fannie Mae created the housing bubble - because it did not.

And it was the popping of the housing bubble that stressed our economy, then taking out investment banks - which would have been firewalled off from the housing market if we still had Glass-Steagal in place.

So, yes, facts can be analyzed any number of different ways to cover anyone's rear. It's when such theories completely **avoid** key facts that are completely relevant, that you can tell there's something wrong with the theory.

Yes, Jim X, it DID begin be... (Below threshold)

Yes, Jim X, it DID begin before 2004. Are you going to argue that Fannie and Freddie weren't protected from oversight and regulation by Barney Frank? From wiki (which is a fair compendium...)

In 2003, while the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, Frank opposed a Bush administration proposal, in response to accounting scandals, for transferring oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Congress and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to a new agency that would be created within the Treasury Department. The proposal, supported by the head of Fannie Mae, reflected the administration's belief that Congress "neither has the tools, nor the stature" for adequate oversight. Frank stated, "These two entities...are not facing any kind of financial crisis.... The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."[53] In 2003, Frank also stated what has been called his "famous dice roll":[54] "I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness [in the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] that we have in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidised housing."[55]

Frank was criticized[who?] for campaign contributions totaling $42,350 between 1989 and 2008. Critics[who?] claim the donations from Fannie and Freddie influenced his support of their lending programs, and say that Frank did not play a strong enough role in reforming the institutions in the years leading up to the Economic crisis of 2008.[56] In 2006 a Fannie Mae representative stated in SEC filings that they "did not participate in large amounts of these non-traditional mortgages in 2004 and 2005."[57] In response to criticism, Frank said, "In 2004, it was Bush who started to push Fannie and Freddie into subprime mortgages, because they were boasting about how they were expanding homeownership for low-income people. And I said at the time, 'Hey--(a) this is going to jeopardize their profitability, but (b) it's going to put people in homes they can't afford, and they're gonna lose them.'" [6]

In 2009 Frank responded to what he called "wholly inaccurate efforts by Republicans to blame Democrats, and [me] in particular" for the subprime mortgage crisis, which is linked to the financial crisis of 2007-2009.[58] He outlined his efforts to reform these institutions and add regulations, but met resistance from Republicans, with the main exception being a bill with Republican Mike Oxley that died because of opposition from President Bush.[58] The 2005 bill included Frank objectives, which were to impose tighter regulation of Fannie and Freddie and new funds for rental housing. Frank and Mike Oxley achieved broad bipartisan support for the bill in the Financial Services Committee, and it passed the House. But the Senate never voted on the measure, in part because President Bush was likely to veto it. "If it had passed, that would have been one of the ways we could have reined in the bowling ball going downhill called housing," Oxley told Frank. In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, Lawrence B. Lindsey, a former economic adviser to President George W. Bush, wrote that Frank "is the only politician I know who has argued that we needed tighter rules that intentionally produce fewer homeowners and more renters."[6] Once control shifted to the Democrats, Frank was able to help guide both the Federal Housing Reform Act (H.R. 1427) and the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act (H.R. 3915) to passage in 2007.[58] Frank also said that the Republican-led Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which repealed part of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and removed the wall between commercial and investment banks, contributed to the financial meltdown.[58] Frank further stated that "during twelve years of Republican rule no reform was adopted regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In 2007, a few months after I became the Chairman, the House passed a strong reform bill; we sought to get the [Bush] administration's approval to include it in the economic stimulus legislation in January 2008; and finally got it passed and onto President Bush's desk in July 2008. Moreover, "we were able to adopt it in nineteen months, and we could have done it much quicker if the [Bush] administration had cooperated."[59]

Sorry, I keep forgetting - it's NEVER the fault of a Democrat running a program, right? Either he was being honest when he was pushing for a 'roll of the dice', or he was wanting regulation. And the stupid political games being constantly played in Washington didn't do one damn bit of good.

Yes, Jim X, it DID begin... (Below threshold)

Yes, Jim X, it DID begin before 2004. Are you going to argue that Fannie and Freddie weren't protected from oversight and regulation by Barney Frank?

I'm not even entering into that. What I'm telling you is, if the worst possible conservative speculation about Fannie Mae is true, there is still no logical way that Fannie Mae is even *largely* responsible for the housing boom.

That is because Fannie Mae was a miniscule sliver of the actual homes being built and sold, and the resulting out-of-control speculation taht resulted in the housing bubble.

And, since it was the housing bubble's pop that devastated our economy in 2007 and took down the stock market with it, the attempt to blame all of this on Fannie Mae -> all the Democrats' fault simply doesn't hold water.

And such arguments will not hold water, until and unless you explain how the housing boom resulted solely from Fannie Mae.

I'm not arguing that the ho... (Below threshold)

I'm not arguing that the housing boom was created by Fannie and Freddie - I'm saying ...

Ah, the hell with it. It's simply not worth the time and effort to try to get through to you.

You are getting through to ... (Below threshold)

You are getting through to me. I understand what you're saying.

I'm just telling you that *at worst* Fannie Mae was still not nearly enough, by itself, to cause the 2007 meltdown of the world economy.

Therefore, even if Democrats were solely responsible for the troubles with Fannie Mae, Democrats are not solely responsible for the 2007 downfall of the world economy.

Do you understand what I'm saying?

The Clintons smell blood in... (Below threshold)
John S:

The Clintons smell blood in the water. It took 8 years of pounding by a hostile media to get Bush's approval rating into the 20s. Obama has managed the same in 15 months with an adoring media covering and kissing his ass. Have you looked at the financial news in the past two weeks? In 6 months we'll be back in recession and in a year there will be 50 million unemployed...

Of course Hillary will mount a challenge and Obama will be out of the race after he loses South Carolina. Hell, I'd vote for Hillary over Obama.

For any fascist s... (Below threshold)
For any fascist system to maintain control, "the rich" must be indebted to the state, and the poor must feel empowered by the state.

THis is one of those things were actually studying a bit of history would help you.

In Facsict regimes.
The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

Jim x, it's been 30 years, ... (Below threshold)

Jim x, it's been 30 years, not six, and I will maintain that I have never thought Carter was a good President. Given this track record and Obama's performance thus far, out doing Carter in the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot department, I am confident in 2016 I will not believe Obama was better or more accomplished than any President. Perhaps he'll accomplish more than William Harrison...






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