Monday, November 12, 2018

My wishes for you and some GSE grist on which to chew


Happy Birthday from me to you!!

Today is my birthday--and because I prefer giving to receiving--I have some birthday biddings for you. (I’m not going to tell you my exact age, but suffice to say, based on my personal interactions with him, Ulysses Grant was a much better president and better dressed than others suggest.)

First, I want to wish you and everyone close to you good health, because without that your happiness and joy will suffer.

Second, I urge you NOT to be passive if you are feeling disappointed with your life situation. No matter the reason, if satisfaction is not present, then work to change those circumstances.

Just trying should make you feel better and succeeding will make you feel fabulous.

Pursuing success or positive change doesn’t occur because another day passes. You need to work at it.

End of Grandpa Maloni’s happy birthday geezes for you!

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Last week there were unhappy or offended readers when I wrote (before the Nov. 6 elections) that Maxine Waters (D-Cal.) would be an asset to the GSEs, if the Democrats won the House and she assumed Chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee.

The D’s did and Waters likely will. So, deal with it folks.

Most of those who like to talk about the GSEs--but are churlish or offended when considering the implicit politics-- fail to understand that everything about the GSEs is leavened with politics. That’s been true for most of the last 35 years and certainly was accelerated in the past decade when Hank Paulson fabricated the need for “Conservatorship” in 2008.

If all it took to win inside the Beltway, was facts, logic, and success, Fannie and Freddie still would be independent, shareholder-owned corporations, serving the nation’s low, moderate, and middle-income homeownership needs in every community in the nation, not stuck in Treasury/FHFA dungeons suffering an illogical deprivation of operational freedom and hefting a “revenue sweep,” capital-starving debt millstone that never can be amortized or reduced!

Why?

Because Judge Royce Lamberth—after being lied to convincingly by a legion of Treasury officials and government lawyers—once said so!

My faultfinders can wax eloquently about the courts and the lawsuits, most of which save some recent decisions were throttled "inutero" by the original Lamberth decision, which claimed the government can do anything it wants to the GSEs, no matter how perverse and abusive to the companies and their former shareholders. (See questionable GSE debt service forced on Fannie and Freddie which NEVER can be paid back and—by design—is attached to them forever.)

Part of my view—and I guess where I diverge from my critics--is that I believe it always helps to have political friends in high places, as I hope Fannie and Freddie have in Rep. Maxine Waters. (The absence of same certainly screamed loudly from 2008 through today.)

Having not engaged directly with her since I was an active Fannie lobbyist, I can’t say that Waters always will be GSE rock solid, but that feels more accurate given her past GSE-supportive actions and because—now--she has the political station to influence and produce.

Again, last week my readers questioned how Waters could help the GSEs, if the President deeply dislikes and disrespects her—as his past comments suggest--and the Senate is even more firmly in GOP hands?

My response? If faced with disrespect, ignorance, and efforts to isolate her, I believe that Waters--as would any Committee head worth their salt--will force or extort her way into those issues and put her unique stamp on them.

The skeptics ask, “How can she do that?”

I reviewed for them (and now for you) a simple description of her Banking Committee’s core jurisdiction.

“The United States House Committee on Financial Services (also referred to as the House Banking Committee) is the committee of the United States House of Representatives that oversees the entire financial services industry, including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries. The Committee also oversees the work of the Federal Reserve, the United States Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and other financial services regulators.”

It would take a very deft chief executive, which Donald J. Trump is not and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, very slowly, still is learning to be--to pursue any Administration-desired policy or spending initiative, which falls under the very broad issues in the Banking Committee’s purview while simultaneously hoping to ignore or isolate Maxine Waters. 

In 2019, for the first time in 8 years, the House Banking Committee won’t be “your father’s Oldsmobile.”

Think of the Consumer Finance Protection Board and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) favorite whipping boys for the banks and most Republicans and how Waters’ Committee will treat those items and the financial forces which assail them. (As I wrote previously, I believe the CRA is toothless and needs major enhancement, like the big banks being given affirmative numeric housing goals not gauzy generalities.)


Plus, the House Democrats now have taken back from the R’s the basic authorization role (doling out and approving Trump agency spending), oversight authority, subpoena power, and endless opportunities to conduct hearings without any prior approval by the House Republicans or the Trump Administration, even if the Senate goes off on a pro-Admin odyssey.

Ergo, I am pretty confident--beyond the statement Waters issued the day after the elections and which I printed in my last blog’s comments section--the Committee won’t be ignored or left out of any issue in which Chairperson Waters wants to stake her efforts, including GSE legislation or White House GSE executive orders.

If you are a Fannie-fan or a Freddie-fan, none of that should worry or offend you; quite the contrary.

On the other hand, if you don’t care for assertive women or aggressive Black women wielding power—and you still are worried about caravan of rapacious invaders, infiltrated by Muslims, hurtling toward our southern borders (whatever happened to that Fox News story and its POTUS induced fear?)--strap on your seat belt because the room may start rocking.

When all the recounts finish, there will be two dozen or more new female Democrats in the House—many of color and various distinctions—joining the returning now Majority party!








Maloni, 11-13-2018