Archive for the ‘Incompetence’ Category
The dam has broken, the curtain has been lifted, and the flood of scandals coming to light this week is finally beginning to open people’s eyes.
1. Benghazi. Four Americans were abandoned to die in the middle of a terrorist attack. In the aftermath the administration changed the talking points, lied about a stupid video being to blame, and spent months trying to hide the truth as they intimidated and blocked access to witnesses.
2. The IRS admits to targeting Tea Party groups. It turns out they were also targeting pro-life groups, pro-Israel groups, religious groups, and pretty much anybody who dared to criticize Obama’s policies. They were also leaking confidential information about the opposition to their political friends.
3. The Department of Justice secretly obtained months of phone records from over 100 AP reporters and sources, including Congress. Guess the Obama administration likes to keep a jealous eye on his favorite mistress.
4. HHS Secretary shakes down companies she regulates for “donations” to implement Obamacare. It’s the Chicago way.
5. The EPA applies a double standard when dealing with conservative vs. liberal groups. If you’re “green,” you’re clean. If you oppose EPA power grabs and agenda, you’re treated as an enemy.
So how is Obama trying to squirm his way out of trouble?
One unique excuse being offered by David Axelrod is that the government is simply too big for Obama to know what’s going on. Yes, you heard that right…the liberals’ favorite argument that more government is the solution to every problem has suddenly turned into an excuse for ruling class ignorance and incompetence.
Another approach has been to claim that Obama is simply a passive and aloof leader who tends to distance himself from the nitty gritties of governing, and therefore has no clue what his underlings are up to.
Obama’s consistent claim that he always finds out about these scandals the same way that we do – when they first appear on the news – has become such a running joke that even Jon Stewart tore into him over the absurdity of it all.
Whoever created this meme summed it up beautifully:
Yep. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.
If they’ve already proven themselves capable of targeting conservatives with only their tax information, what will they be capable of when they have even more information on their targets?
If they’ve already illegally released conservatives’ confidential tax information, what’s to stop them from leaking dissidents’ personal health information as well?
Obamacare is not merely a massive overhaul of the health care system. It is also a substantial expansion of the Internal Revenue Service. That’s because the law relies on the tax collection agency to both enforce its individual mandate and administer the tax credits the law offers to subsidize the purchase of health insurance. Following recent revelations that agents in multiple IRS offices, including tax officials in Washington, targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny, a number of former and current Republican legislators are already counseling caution about the agency’s role in administering the law.
Concerns about the agency’s oversight of the health law are well-founded—and not only because of general concerns about the agency’s judgment.
For one thing, the IRS appears to have specifically targeted groups that opposed the health care law. According to The Washington Post, “although some of the groups were explicitly labeled ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot,’ others that came under intense scrutiny were focused on challenging the Affordable Care Act — known by many as Obamacare — or the integrity of federal elections.”
In other words, the agency has singled out Obamacare opponents for unusual treatment. That does not speak well of the agency’s ability to fairly carry out its duties under the law.
Indeed it does not.
The editorial board at Investors Business Daily is similarly concerned:
[O]bamaCare’s individual mandate takes effect in 2014, all Americans who file income-tax returns must deal with and report personal health information to the IRS.
The IRS will require the name and health insurance identification number of the taxpayer, the name and tax identification number of the health insurance company, the number of months the taxpayer was covered by this insurance plan and whether the plan was purchased in one of ObamaCare’s “exchanges.”
Heavy fines will be levied for failure to jump through all the government’s hoops.
The new tax mandates and penalties in ObamaCare will require up to 16,500 new IRS personnel to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses, according to an analysis by the Joint Economic Committee and the then-minority GOP staff of the House Ways & Means Committee in 2010.
Will the IRS enforce the mandate rules impartially, or will it go after only those who support individual liberty and oppose government encroachment on it?
Will ObamaCare resisters also be considered enemies of the state?
Benghazi Hearing Obama Admin Lied & People Died
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Joel Pollack breaks down the five key points made by the Benghazi whistleblowers in the congressional hearing:
1. Two “stand-down” orders were given while the Benghazi attacks were in progress.
2. The “protest” about a YouTube video was a complete fabrication by the Obama administration.
3. Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s lawyer at the State Department, told witnesses not to speak to House investigators.
4. The diplomatic personnel on the ground acted with incredible, unheralded heroism.
5. Democrats came to rebut the eyewitnesses with talking points.
Other important points…
They knew from the first moment that it was a terrorist attack, not a protest.
The Obama administration blocked a rescue effort after the attack began, knowing American lives were in danger:
Eyewitnesses to September’s deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya told a congressional committee Wednesday that State Department officials had blocked efforts to aid Americans under fire and later tried to conceal al Qaeda’s involvement.
Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism at the State Department, told the politically charged hearing that on the night of the attack he was stopped from mobilizing a foreign emergency support team that was specially equipped and trained to deal with emergencies like the one in Benghazi.
Former deputy chief turned whistleblower Gregory Hicks was demoted after he challenged the State Department over their bogus talking points.
The media is already going into overdrive in an attempt to smear and discredit the Benghazi whistleblowers.
Try to contain your shock and amazement.
House Republicans have concluded that the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies bear no blame for failing to halt the terrorist assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year, releasing a report Tuesday that said President Obama and the State Department set up the military for failure.
The report also found that plenty of intelligence presaged the attack, but the White House and State Department — including the secretary at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton — failed to heed the warnings.
In the most damning conclusion, House Republicans said Mr. Obama’s team lied about the attacks afterward, first by blaming mob violence spawned by an anti-Muslim video, and then wrongly saying it had misled the public because it was trying to protect an FBI investigation.
Looks like lying under oath has become a Clinton family tradition.
The sad part is, she’ll never be held accountable for their deaths, and it probably won’t even be much of a speed bump for her campaign in 2016.
Explosions at the Boston Marathon
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With thousands of runners still on the course, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people, injuring at least 113 and turning the city’s most celebrated event into a grisly spectacle of shattered glass, blood and screams.
President Barack Obama said authorities did not know who carried out the attack but vowed to render “the full weight of justice” against those responsible. Minutes later, law enforcement officials said that an 8-year-old child was one of the dead.
Video from the scene showed two blasts about 20 seconds apart just off the course at the finish. White smoke rose, barriers flew, and throngs of people who had gathered to cheer the runners turned and fled in terror. They later reported seeing horrific injuries that included blown-off limbs and bodies thrown to the asphalt.
However, the Left isn’t necessarily opposed to jumping to conclusions, so long as the people they wish to target are being blamed. The bodies weren’t even cold before Leftists began exploiting tragedy to attack political opponents.
Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce noted that today was “Patriots Day” in Massachusetts, and suggested it might be the work of the Tea Party, whom he compares to Timothy McVey.
Wolf Blitzer speculated the same, live on the air.
CNN’s Peter Bergen claimed it must have been “right wing extremists.”
Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times blamed Republicans, claiming their blocking Obama’s radical ATF nominee was the culprit.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews posed the question of whether or not the bombing was motivated by the fact that April 15th was tax day.
“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” ~ Rahm Emanuel
After all that’s happened today, it can be difficult to remember that there are still good people in this world. For that reason, Business Insider has made a list of “People Being Awesome After The Attack On The Boston Marathon.”
British Academics Claim It’s ‘Discrimination’ To Ban Pedophiles From Adopting, Working With Children
What the hell is wrong with these people???
Helen Reece, a reader in law at the London School of Economics, called on Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to relax rules which automatically ban sex offenders from caring for children, saying that this could breach their human rights.
In an article in the respected Child and Family Law Quarterly, Miss Reece suggested that reoffending rates were not high among sex criminals, adding: “despite growing public concern over paedophilia, the numbers of child sex murders are very low.”
[...] In her article, Miss Reece suggested that the review should also introduce an assumption that sex offenders including child abusers posed no threat once they had served their sentence.
She said: “There is no reason why all sex offenders should not be considered as potentially suitable to adopt or foster children, or work with them.
“The Vetting and Barring Scheme and other legislative measures single out sex offenders for unfair special treatment and they destroy the principle that a prisoner pays his or her debt by serving their sentence before re-entering society on equal terms.”
The idea that a pedophile has paid his “debt to society” in a short prison term is ridiculous. A predator’s debt isn’t to “society,” it’s to the victim, and the victim serves a life sentence of emotional scarring. In a more civilized age, pedophiles were executed along with rapists. A life sentence was considered merciful.
The idea that a person predisposed to find children sexually attractive, who has already crossed that line once, will pose no threat to children after release from prison is willful ignorance. Allowing that individual to face continual sexual temptation in the form of children he is permitted contact with is playing with fire – and the lives of children.
It is common knowledge that pedophiles usually have victimized several children by the time they get caught. A sex offender with a record is more likely to kill and hide his victim in an attempt to cover his tracks.
Child rape is a crime deserving of nothing less than life in prison without the possibility of parole. Predators should NEVER be allowed to re-enter society, much less be permitted to have contact with – or adopt – more potential victims.
Grieving Benghazi Mom Seeks Answers, Obama Admin. Tells Her To ‘Shut Up,’ Says She’s ‘Causing Problems’
Mother of Benghazi victim demands answers from Washington
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Back in November, the mother of one of the victims in Benghazi, Sean Patrick Smith, said she held Obama responsible for her son’s death:
“I believe that Obama murdered my son,” she said Thursday from the living room of her Clairemont home. “I firmly believe this.”
On the day she came to collect her son’s body, the administration promised to investigate the attack and get back to her with the truth of what happened. They never contacted her.
Since then, it has been revealed that Obama watched the attack live from the situation room, but refused to send reinforcements to intervene. We’ve learned Ambassador Stevens begged for help and that special forces were in position with painted targets, but were told to stand down. It is suspected that Obama was gun-running to Syrian jihadists through Benghazi.
No wonder Mrs. Smith is demanding answers. Instead, she says, she’s being told to “shut up”:
They don’t tell me much. They want me to shut up…. I was told, and I really would rather not say by who, [though] I can if you need it, but I was told that I’m causing a lot of problems and to shut up…. I told them ‘I will not! I will not shut up until I find out what really happened!’
When was the last time a Christian strapped on a suicide bomb or flew an airplane into a building? Hmmm…..let me think…..
Oh, that’s right. NEVER!
A U.S. Army training instructor giving a training brief on “extremism” to an Army Reserve unit in Pennsylvania has labeled Evangelical Christianity and Roman Catholicism as examples of religious extremism right alongside Al Qaeda.
In addition to Al Qaeda, the instructor also equated Evangelical and Catholic “extremism” with that of Hamas, Sunni Muslims, the Nation of Islam, and the Ku Klux Klan.
This wasn’t an accident. The Left loves to throw out extreme positions and see what they can make stick. They’ll back down temporarily from the inevitable uproar, but they also know that Americans are forgetful and easily desensitized, so they’ll continually push a point until it is no longer considered extreme.
“We find this offensive to have Evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church to be listed among known terrorist groups,” said Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of wrongheaded characterization.”
[...] The incident was made public by a soldier who attended the briefing. He asked for copies of the presentation and sent them to the Chaplain Alliance.
“He considers himself an evangelical Christian and did not appreciate being classified with terrorists,” Crews told Fox News. “There was a pervasive attitude in the presentation that anything associated with religion is an extremist.”
The Archdiocese for the Military Services was shocked to learn that the Army considered Catholicism to be an example of extremism.
“The Archdiocese is astounded that Catholics were listed alongside groups that are, by their very mission and nature, violent and extremist,” the Archdiocese said in a statement.
They want the Dept. of Defense to “ensure that taxpayer funds are never again used to present blatantly anti-religious material to the men and women in uniform.”
“In the notes it was clearly stated that the presenter was not a subject matter expert, and produced the material after conducting Internet research,” Wright said.
So if the presenter was not an expert, what were they doing presenting the material, Crews asked.
He said he had a chance to speak with the officer who conducted the briefing and she told him that she got her information from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Why is there such dependence upon the work of the SPLC to determine hate groups and extremist groups,” Crews said. “It appears that some military entities are using definitions of ‘hate’ and ‘extreme’ from the lists of anti-Christian political organizations. That violates the apolitical stance appropriate for the military.”
If you want to talk about extremist groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center certainly qualifies. Originally founded to combat racism, now they smear any organization that doesn’t agree with their radical leftist ideology – such as Focus On The Family – as a “hate group.”
It is not a legitimate source for the military to be using to study domestic terror threats.
Common Core is a federal attempt to nationalize curriculum. We MUST oppose this, from every school board!
Critics of the Common Core State Standards had our fears confirmed on Monday when Education Week reported that the Department of Education will oversee the assessment test design for the new national standards. This is no April Fool’s joke: Washington will soon be directly regulating what America’s schoolchildren learn and on what they are tested. This massive expansion of federal power is concerning considering the federal government’s failed history of intervening in public education.
As I recently explained in AFP Foundation’s school choice policy report, the federal government has had its meddling hands in America’s public schools for decades. From the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to No Child Left Behind today, Congress has provided Title I federal funding to schools with low-income student bodies for the past half-century. But, this money is by no means free. As is often the case with federal funds, Title I comes with strings attached – which explains how Washington has been such a major player in American education despite the fact that public schools are function of the states.
[...] After decades of failed federal intervention in America’s public schools, Common Core’s similar approach of centrally planning public schools has worried education reformers since the initiative was launched in 2009. For years, proponents of the standards have tried to soothe these fears by emphasizing that they are not administered by the federal government. Common Core’s official website, for example, downplays the protests by claiming “[t]he federal government had no role in the development of the Common Core State Standards and will not have a role in their implementation.”
Perhaps this claim could hold water four years ago, but today it’s evident that Common Core is nothing more than a federal ruse to exert even greater control over America’s classrooms. [...]
[I]t looks like Common Core is poised to repeat and amplify the federal government’s failed educational interventions by giving the central government even greater control of what American schoolchildren are learning. If the success of school choice has taught us anything, it’s that education is most effective when controlled by actors on the local level, like teachers with freedom in how to teacher their students at charter schools, or parents with options of where to send their child to school through opportunity scholarships. Choice from the bottom, not force from the top, leads to effective learning.
Welcome to the “new normal” under Obamanomics. In Europe, where Keynesian economics and Democratic Socialism has dominated for decades, unemployment rates are in the 20′s. For the younger generation, they’re even higher. Yet, instead of learning from their mistakes, Obama and the Democrats insist on repeating them. Millions of innocent people are being hurt in the process.
After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.
She’d already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn’t land anything else, either — not even a job interview at a telephone call center.
Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she’ll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.
“I’m not proud of it,” says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. “The only way I’m able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on.”
Baebler’s frustrating experience has become all too common nearly four years after the Great Recession ended: Many Americans are still so discouraged that they’ve given up on the job market.
Older Americans have retired early. Younger ones have enrolled in school. Others have suspended their job hunt until the employment landscape brightens. Some, like Baebler, are collecting disability checks.
It isn’t supposed to be this way. After a recession, an improving economy is supposed to bring people back into the job market.
Sadly, until we get rid of Obamanomics, the jobs won’t be coming back. Business aren’t hiring because they never know when they’re going to be hit with a costly new regulation or tax. Entrepreneurs aren’t willing to take the risk to start a new business in such a hostile business climate.
Donald Lambro at Human Events predicts that we’re in for “Four More Years of Pain“:
President Obama heads into the third month of his second term, still unable to find a cure for a sluggish economy, weak employment numbers and his own slipping job approval scores.
Second terms are usually challenging for presidents who have won re-election without having the slightest idea about what they will do over the next four years. And that’s what we are witnessing now with Obama, whose biggest problem is the anemic, job-challenged economy.
[...] The depressing headlines of the past few days tell a sad tale of what the economy is like under his presidency:
– “Weekly Jobless Claims Get Weaker as Outlook Dims” was the gloomy headline over a Reuters news wire story Thursday morning on the CNBC website.
“The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to its highest level in four months last week, suggesting the labor market recovery lost some steam in March,” Reuters reported.
– “Hiring Is Weaker at Private Companies,” a Washington Post headline blared Thursday.
“Companies hired at the weakest pace in five months in March as recent strong demand for construction jobs evaporated and growth in the vast services sector slowed, signs that the economic recovery could be hitting a soft patch,” the newspaper reported.
That’s the conclusion of the ADP National Employment Report Wednesday, which showed “that private employers added 158,000 jobs last month.” The ADP job survey said “the gain was the smallest since October.”
A separate report Wednesday on the services industry, the economy’s largest job sector, showed that employment growth “pulled back in March.”
You do not hear any of these reports on the nightly TV news because the networks cherry-pick reports that feed the White House line of a continuing economic recovery.
[...] Thankfully, there are economic reporters who resist touting the White House line that everything is rosier under Obama’s policies.
“We’re approaching the four-year anniversary of the economic recovery, and it still doesn’t feel like much of one, what with the unemployment rate at 7.7 percent and wages stagnant over the past five years,” Neil Irwin, the Post’s veteran economic analyst, recently reported.
Obama is so blinded by ideology that the tragic results of his policies on display all around him aren’t enough to convince him that his policies need to change.
Even as the Obama White House prepares for a star-studded White House concert featuring Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, and Justin Timberlake, figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that roughly 50 million Americans—one in six—now live below the poverty line.
Additionally, one in five American children have fallen below the poverty line; the last time poverty levels were this high, Lyndon Baines Johnson was president.
“In the last three years, there’s been a great change in the kinds of people we are serving,” said Director of Community Services at Catholic Charities of Baltimore Mary Anne O’Donnell. “There are increasing numbers of people who owned a home, lost their jobs, end up living in their car and are coming with children to our soup kitchen.”
The U.S. government defines a family of four earning under $23,021 as living in poverty. Income used to compute poverty status does not include non-cash benefits, such as food stamps and housing subsidies.
Welfare program enrollments have exploded under President Barack Obama. Americans on food stamps now outnumber the combined populations of 24 U.S. states, costing taxpayers more than double the amount spent on food stamps five years ago. In January 2009, 31.9 million Americans received food stamps. Today, that figure is 47.79 million.
Boomtown 2: The Business Of Food Stamps
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For the Left, this is all part of the Cloward-Piven strategy to overwhelm the system with impossible demands, bringing about an inevitable collapse that will set the stage for a Communist revolution.
For corporations vying for their turn at the taxpayer trough, this is a dance with the devil…and they don’t even realize it.
“Boomtown 1: Washington, The Imperial City” exposed the cronyism and luxurious lifestyle of Washington, DC’s power elite. On Friday “Boomtown 2: The Business of Food Stamps” Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President Peter Schweizer and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon exposed how politicians and corporations have used the country’s food stamps program to profit on the backs of tax payers.
Though the food stamps program was always meant to be a “safety net” to provide temporary assistance, Schweizer pointed out that it has “become an insider game of power and profit” for corporations who are attempting to get a slice of the $75 billiion provided by the taxpayers.
[...] The GAI president points out that the food stamps program was intended to provide basic foods, but has grown to include all types of things including soft drinks and fast food. We have also pointed out that the food stamps program has been used to purchase guns, drugs and pay for strippers and massage parlors, not to mention that the USDA has targeted illegal aliens for the program.
The fraud of the food stamps program has grown since EBT cards were issued in 2002, which gave no reason for either government or corporations to look to reform the system or limit the fraud.
The Obama administration is proudly shattering welfare records with an astonishing number of people collecting public benefits long term, especially food stamps.
In fact, as I discussed in a special to be aired on Hannity tonight, Obama and his friends have actually found a way to meld corporate cronyism with food stamp abuse to line their pockets while undermining our election systems at the same time.
Under Obama, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, has exploded with a record number of people – 46 million and growing – getting free groceries from the American taxpayer. Adding insult to injury, a federal audit revealed last year that many who don’t qualify for food stamps now receive them under a new “broad-based” eligibility program that disregards income and asset requirements.
Obama says the food stamp extension is part of his intention to eradicate “food insecure households.” However, it’s really part of a massive redistribution of wealth. Last year, taxpayers were forced to pay more than $80 billion, including an estimated $750 million a year in outright fraud.
[...] According to the study, the current food stamp Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card industry is dominated by three main players: J.P. Morgan Electronic Financial Services, Affiliated Computer Services, and eFunds. Together they collect money from 49 states and three territories. In fact, since 2004, 18 of 24 states that contract with J.P. Morgan have paid more than $560 million to the financial monolith.
There is little wonder then that those three companies appear to be perfectly content with the exploding food stamp rolls – and wholly unconcerned about rampant fraud and abuse. As the GAI study observed, “The more persons enrolled in the program, the more money the EBT industry makes.” That may also help explain why, when the state of Florida initiated an eight-month program to detect and prevent fraud among its three million EBT card users, J.P. Morgan saw fit to assign just one employee to the program.
And then there is this: During the 2008 election, Barack Obama received more than $800,000 from J.P. Morgan alone. After his election, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, initiated by Obama and passed by a compliant Congress, made two major changes to existing food stamp policies. First, it increased benefits by 13.6 percent. Second, it actively encouraged states to add more recipients to their food stamp rolls.
And the corporate cronyism and political payoffs don’t end there. The House and Senate Agricultural Committees have jurisdiction over all food assistance and distribution programs, including the food stamp program. So, just as one might expect, analysis by the GAI uncovered a clear trend of increasing contributions to Agriculture Committee members of both the House and Senate on the part of J.P. Morgan that clearly coincides with their entry into the lucrative EBT card, food stamp market.
Between 1998 and 2002, JP Morgan’s total contributions per election cycle averaged $82,897. After the bank entered the EBT services market until the 2010 election cycle, their average donation per cycle more than doubled to $215,120. And the Agriculture Committees, in turn, have broadly expanded the number of food stamp recipients.
Of course, the more recipients that are added to the food stamp rolls, the more voters Obama can count on at election time. And the offshoots of Obama’s former client and campaign partner ACORN not only assure that those voters are registered but also that they know to whom they are beholden for their government handouts.
The foundation for the housing crisis was laid with the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977, where the government took it upon itself to encourage home ownership by pressuring banks to lend to lower-income buyers, often to meet arbitrary racial quotas. Obviously they haven’t learned a thing from where that got us.
Would it surprise anyone to learn that as a lawyer, Obama sued banks to force them to issue subprime loans? He also worked for ACORN, which specialized in using the Community Reinvestment Act to shake down banks and pressure them to loan money to low-income minorities or face “discrimination” charges.
According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration is pushing big banks to make more home loans available to Americans with bad credit – the same kind of government guidance that helped blow up the housing market:
In response, administration officials say they are working to get banks to lend to a wider range of borrowers by taking advantage of taxpayer-backed programs — including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration — that insure home loans against default.
Housing officials are urging the Justice Department to provide assurances to banks, which have become increasingly cautious, that they will not face legal or financial recriminations if they make loans to riskier borrowers who meet government standards but later default.
Think about this statement. The administration is asking banks – banks that Washington bails out; banks that Washington crafts regulations for — to embrace risky policies that put the institution and its investors (not to mention, all of us) in a precarious position. So precarious, in fact, that banks have to ask government if they can be freed of any legal or financial consequences.
What could possibly go wrong?
These types of government policies initially emerged the mid-1970s, when “progressive” Democrats in Congress began a campaign to help low-income minorities become homeowners. This led to the passage, in 1977, of theCommunity Reinvestment Act (CRA), a mandate for banks to make special efforts to seek out and lend to borrowers of meager means. Founded on the premise that government intervention is necessary to counteract the fundamentally racist and inequitable nature of American society and the free market, the CRA was eventually transformed from an outreach effort into a strict quota system by the Clinton administration. Under the new arrangement, if a bank failed to meet its quota for loans to low-income minorities, it ran the risk of getting a low CRA rating from the FDIC. This, in turn, could derail the bank’s efforts to expand, relocate, merge, etc. From a practical standpoint, then, banks had no recourse but to drastically lower their standards on down-payments and underwriting, and to approve many loans even to borrowers with weak credit credentials. As Hoover Institution Fellow Thomas Sowell explains, this led to “skyrocketing rates of mortgage delinquencies and defaults,” and the rest is history.
The CRA was by no means the only mechanism designed by government to impose lending quotas on financial institutions. For instance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) developed rules encouraging lenders to dramatically hike their loan-approval rates for minority applicants and began bringing legal actions against mortgage bankers who failed to do so, regardless of the reason. This, too, caused lenders to lower their down-payment and income requirements.
Moreover, HUD pressured the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest sources of housing finance in the United States, to earmark a steeply rising number of their own loans for low-income borrowers. Many of these were subprime mortgages—loans characterized by higher interest rates and less favorable terms in order to compensate lenders for the high credit risk they were incurring.
Additional pressure toward this end was applied by community organizations like the pro-socialist ACORN. By accusing banks—however frivolously or unjustly—of having engaged in racially discriminatory lending practices that violated the mandates of the CRA, these groups commonly sued banks toprevent them from expanding or merging as they wished. Barack Obama, ACORN’s staunch ally, was strongly in favor of this practice. Indeed, in a 1994 class-action lawsuit against Citibank, Obama represented ACORN in demanding more favorable terms for subprime homebuyer mortgages. After four years of being dragged through the mud, a beleaguered Citibank—anxious to put an end to the incessant smears (charging racism) that Obama and his fellow litigators were hurling in its direction (to say nothing of its mounting legal bills)—agreed to settle the case.
Forbes magazine puts it bluntly: “Obama has been a staunch supporter of the CRA throughout his public life.” In other words, he has long advocated the very policies that already have reduced the real-estate market to rubble. And now he is actively pushing those very same practices again.
Obama Proclaims April ‘Financial Capability Month,’ Plans To Teach Young People ‘How to Budget Responsibly’
You can’t make this stuff up! And no, it wasn’t an April Fools joke!
President Barack Obama, who has increased the national debt by $53,377 per household, has proclaimed April“National Financial Capability Month,” during which his administration will do things such as teach young people “how to budget responsibly.”
“I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices,” Obama said in an official proclamation released Friday.
[...] The proclamation on the White House website links to two other government websites: the site for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and MyMoney.gov, which includes materials from 21 federal agencies.
Listed among the “popular topics” on MyMoney.gov is “Managing Debt and Credit,” which includes a link to a page on the Federal Reserve’s website called “Getting the most from your credit card.” Tip 2 on that page is: “Stay Below Your Credit Limit.”
When Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, the total debt of the federal government was $10,626,877,048,913.08. As of the close of business on March 28, 2013, the total debt of the federal government was $16,766,988,432,792.62—an increase of $6,140,111,383,879.54 since Obama took office.
That means that under Obama the federal debt has increased $53,377 for each one of the 115,031,000 households the Census Bureau says there are now in the United States. The president is required by law to submit a budget proposal for the next fiscal year by the first Monday in February.
Thus far, Obama has not submitted his budget proposal for fiscal 2014.
It’s the liberal way to perceive yourself as diametrically opposed to what and who you actually are. Therefore, Barack Obama being a financially incapable liberal is precisely the reason why the man who has yet to submit a budget proposal for 2014 feels he’s qualified to teach young people “how to budget responsibly.”
What’s next, Bill and Hillary Clinton running a Marital Cohesiveness and Fidelity Seminar? How about first daughters Sasha and Malia, who took not one but two spring break vacations, sharing with the younger set how to spend a week at the Atlantis in the Bahamas and River Run in Sun Valley, Idaho on a limited budget? Sorry, but if Barack Obama is financially capable, then outgoing MSNBC host Ed Schultz is qualified to host a new “Eradicate Bias in the Media” show.
Then again, this is the president who is expert at exempting himself from what he insists others do. That is why a person who clearly has no understanding of sound financial principles can say with a straight face: “I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices.”
Wait! When Obama says “all Americans” does “all” include himself and the $10 million dollar vacationer he’s married to, or does “all” just mean everybody except Mr. and Mrs. Obama?
Either way, the president must truly believe that he’s an authority on stretching a dollar, because in his “National Financial Capability Month” proclamation, he said that his “[a]dministration is dedicated to helping people make sound decisions in the marketplace.” That marketplace, by the way, is the same marketplace that he’s currently in the process of destroying. It could be that President Obama thinks that the soundest way to save money in the marketplace is to exchange the marketplace for something altogether different.
In Cyprus, politicians are trying to bail themselves out by stealing directly from people’s bank accounts. In America, the government is more subtle.
It’s been stealing from us for years – through inflation. Thomas Sowell explains:
One of the big differences between the United States and Cyprus is that the U.S. government can simply print more money to get out of a financial crisis. But Cyprus cannot print more euros, which are controlled by international institutions.
Does that mean that Americans’ money is safe in banks? Yes and no.
The U.S. government is very unlikely to just seize money wholesale from people’s bank accounts, as is being done in Cyprus.
But does that mean that your life savings are safe?
No. There are more sophisticated ways for governments to take what you have put aside for yourself and use it for whatever the politicians feel like using it for.
If they do it slowly but steadily, they can take a big chunk of what you have sacrificed for years to save, before you are even aware, much less alarmed.
That is in fact already happening.
When officials of the Federal Reserve System speak in vague and lofty terms about “quantitative easing,” what they are talking about is creating more money out of thin air, as the Federal Reserve is authorized to do — and has been doing in recent years, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a month.
When the federal government spends far beyond the tax revenues it has, it gets the extra money by selling bonds. The Federal Reserve has become the biggest buyer of these bonds, since it costs them nothing to create more money.
This new money buys just as much as the money you sacrificed to save for years. But more money in circulation, without a corresponding increase in output, means rising prices.
Although the numbers in your bank book may remain the same, part of the purchasing power of your money is transferred to the government. Is that really different from what Cyprus has done?
Through the centuries – in historic cultures like that of Yap Island who used giant, immovable stone disks for commerce, to today’s United States, whose Dollar fiat currency exists primarily in digital form – “money” is able to be exchanged for goods and services because society agrees to accept it (at a certain rate of exchange).
But what happens when a society starts doubting the value of its money?
Fed, the Great & Powerful
The podcast goes into the mind-blowingly simple process by which new money is created in America by the Federal Reserve (or the “Fed”). That is to say:
- The Fed holds a meeting
- Those in the room decide how many more dollars they think the world needs
- Someone walks over to a computer and adds that many dollars to the banks, with a few clicks of the keyboard
The banks then, if they want to, lend this new money out into the economy on a fractional basis, adding even more “thin air” dollars to the nation’s money supply.
This unique ability in America lends the Fed enormous power. The power to create new money from nothing. With no limit.
And with that power, the Fed can control and/or influence economies and markets the world over.
Should such power exist? And if so, should a single private entity owned by the major players in the banking system be allowed to wield it?
Such power certainly has its dangers.
[...] Money is not wealth. It is merely a claim on wealth.
You can’t print your way to prosperity. History is abundantly clear on that.
With the clarity of hindsight, it’s now obvious how the Fed has now painted itself into a corner.
[...] Cyprus has awakened the world to the reality that central planners can appropriate their money with the bang of a gavel. And while we don’t yet know with certainty how things will unfold in Cyprus, we can project that events there have shaken society’s confidence in the soundness of fiat currency in general. If we know it can be confiscated or devalued overnight, we are less likely to unquestioningly accept its stated value. This doubt that strikes at the very foundation of modern monetary systems.
Cyprus is meaningful in the way that it shines a light on both the importance of hard assets and the risk it poses to market stability. It certainly increases the risk of our prediction of a 40%+ stock-market correction by September, as investors begin to realize that current high values are simply the ephemeral effect of too much money, instead of a sign of true value.
At this point, prudence suggests we prepare for the worst (by parking capital on the sidelines, investing in our personal resilience, etc.) and add to our hard asset holdings (like precious metals bullion, productive real estate, etc.) as insurance to protect our purchasing power. The dollar may strengthen for a bit versus other currencies and perhaps the financial markets, but the long-term trend is a safer and surer bet: Dollars will be inflated. There will be more of them in the future than there are today. So, while our dollars still have the purchasing power they do, we should use the window of time we have now to exchange paper money for tangible wealth at today’s prices.