Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tit for Tat, Not Necessary nor Desirable

To the Obama Administration, Robert Gibbs, and other D spokespeople give the overcharged rhetoric a rest.

Just as I advised the GOP to zip their lips on the Democrats’ Rush Limbaugh challenges, so too should you guys not respond to every single GOP slight. You are the winners, they lost, and lost big time.

The Republicans are taunting and agitating, because you have the political power which they want and they have no true alternative policy options.

Democratic rejoinders to every snort by Cheney, Rush, Michael Steele, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the GOP, is both unnecessary and merely perpetuates the poisoned political atmosphere you claim you want to stop—and which many Americans want to see end.

The GOP is out of power and losing lots of support and is resorting to name calling and taunting. The party is desperate.

Show some resolve and confidence Democrats and skip, say, at least every other opportunity to strike back.

You’ll lessen the angry rhetoric and save the nation another day of political caterwauling.

Dick Cheney

Having said all of the previous, even I am aghast at Dick Cheney’s outrageous and hypocritical behavior.

He’s out there humping for “Scooter Libby,” his chief of staff, whose lying under oath protected Cheney and resulted in Libby in being charged and found guilty by a grand jury of obstruction and perjury.

Libby has stayed silent about his boss’ role in outing Joe Wilson’s wife, the then CIA official Valerie Plume, and I guess Cheney wants to insure that Libby never reveals those truths, with his vigorous defense of the man Cheney believes “W” hung out to dry.

Go away, quietly, Mr. Cheney. You, personally, did more damage to the Constitution than any of the Obama economic efforts about which you are railing.

Plus, most of America saw your nose getting longer, as you distorted history in your John King NBC interview.

I am a Republican, Hear Me Roar!

Jim Lockhart, the boss of Fannie and Freddie, obviously still was wearing his GOP/political hat the other day, when he decided to speak against the legislation which would allow bankruptcy judges to restructure mortgage loans on primary residences, lowering principle and interest costs for bankruptcy victims (as can be done on second homes and vacation residents).

Lockhart, as Vicar of Fannie and Freddie, decided that this new legislation would be bad for the former private companies, and therefore should be narrowed or defeated, which is the position of many Senate Republicans.

That’s funny. I thought the Obama Administration was employing Fannie and Freddie (and Lockhart) to modify and restructure hundreds of thousands of their own loans.

Now, tell me Mr. Lockhart, why would similar loans re-structured by bankruptcy judges be so horrendous, if Fannie and Freddie are striving to do similar things?

Maloni to Obama Administration: Time for Mr. Lockhart to go.

Rumor?

Are the Homebuilders really having problems with their “big guys,” the high production members? Someone told me that the large NAHB members--unhappy over certain personalities and the quality of Washington representation—might just want to go their own way in DC, creating a trade group exclusively pursuing their interests.

Hmm? Edgy/sand paper personalities at the NAHB, I can’t imagine who that might describe.

Scariest Conversations of the Week


There actually were at least two separate reported discussions which earn that label. They were conducted by completely different folks, but they relate to the same chilling possibility, i.e., civilian unrest growing out of continued economic retrenchment and job losses.

The topic of one official meeting was estimating how many police and military personnel would be needed to protect “Washington and the Capitol,” should unhappy citizens begin marching on the nation’s capital.

Now, maybe, those talks go on in security circles all of the time and I shouldn’t be so concerned. But……

The second was a bit of advice, which could have come straight out of the 1950’s, if it hadn’t occurred just in the past few days. A solon of sorts was advising people to, “Keep a year’s supply of food in your house and use your money to buy two things, gold and guns!”

A lot of wild and crazy talk in wild and crazy times, but, as noted, there is a relationship between smoke and fire.

Irony: We Are Systemic Risk!

AIG was one of the founding members of FM Watch, the industry group which formed to attack Fannie and Freddie, when their principals were worried that the then-GSEs were going to move into mortgage insurance, primary lending, or other business areas represented by the organizing members. (None of which were true, but why kill a good idea?)

FMW and their shock troops gave life to the suggestion that Fannie and Freddie were “systemic risks,” long before the companies obliged them by loading up on crap loans.

Initially, Fannie and Freddie fought the charge vigorously that somehow they represented a threat to the broader national economy.

Naturally, the purveyors of the anti-GSE allegations felt that none of their businesses represented such risks. That is, until last week, when AIG begging for more financial support from the Treasury alleged that its failure could bring down huge segments of the economy, domestically as well as overseas, and that it represented a systemic risk. (“We’ll admit to anything to get that federal cash!”)

And the Bush Administration, with help from Congress, nationalized Fannie and Freddie and continue to nurse these blood suckers?

BB and FASB

When I heard some of Ben Bernanke’s comments last week about possible shortcomings the Financial Accounting Standars Board's (FASB) “mark to market” accounting requirements, I thought I was in a Fannie Mae confab five or six years ago, when the company was saying basically the same thing as the Fed Chairman about one aspect of the then proposed “FAS 133.”

In its Fannie comment letters, Fannie argued then that marking to market their purchased interest rate options, but not the underlying mortgage securities that they were “protecting,” presented a distortion of the company’s true value, especially when the options were being held to the same maturities as the mortgages they were purchased to hedge.

Here’s rooting for Bernanke’s comments to force a much needed accounting change.


Secretary Tim Geithner

It wouldn’t surprise me much, if TG was the first of the Obama Cabinet to decide that he “needed to spend more time with his family” and bag his new job.

I have not been overly impressed with his actions to date and despite the presence of some very intelligent and able people, i.e. Volcker, Summers, Gene Sperling, et al, I have been under whelmed with the pace and creativity that this Administration has put forward, especially on the housing cleanup/fix up front.

Make headway here and you begin to knit together consumer confidence, the banking system, and our economic fabric.

Paul Volcker would be a great next Secretary of the Treasury.

Maloni 3-17-2009

7 comments:

Bill Maloni said...

What's a good blog without one small error.

John King works at CNN, not NBC.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bill,
I just read the Vanity Fair article about Fannie. I hope when you said that you would rather be a predator at your final moment that you didn't mean the ultimate final moment.

You are still a great guy.

A former employee of yours!

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