When I say fix I don’t mean immediate gratification. There is no magical mortgage fairy to come down with her magic mortgage wand and make all the bad debt go away. Barney Frank and Henry Paulson seem to think they are magical mortgage fairies, but if I ever saw either one of them flying around in spandex with a wand, I would probably run the other way as fast as I could. This is more like Neosporin and a band aid on the wound sort of fix.
Before I do anything, I want you to see the sub prime primer which describes what sub prime mortgages are and the trouble they caused. One word of caution, it is PG-13 rated for swearing.
Now back to our present situation: what exactly is going on with the bailout bill?
The banks do not have enough liquidity (essentially cash on hand or cash easily obtainable) to cover their expenses. The government claims that the market will grind to a halt unless we, the taxpayers take over the bad mortgage debts of these banks so that they can keep doing “good” loans. There is a major problem with this, as pointed out by one of my friends. This is something worse than socialism, this is blatant corporatism.
What is corporatism? It is merger of state and private enterprise. Thats exactly what Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are, and they are what put us in this situation. We as a country hold freedom as our #1 assett. The problem is that people from time to time forget that freedom not only means freedom to succeed, it also means freedom to fail. Our government has, apparently, forgotten this. If a company can make terrible and risky investments, but is then bailed out by the government, where is the freedom to fail there?
Here is the Penny Saved’s plan instead of forcing the taxpayers to pay for irresponsible “bailouts”:
1) No taxpayer funded bailout in the sense of letting lenders off the hook. A chunk of money to buy only what is necessary to restore liquidity but it must be at market rates: not full price or anywhere near full price. I was stunned to hear of some banks supposedly on the brink of collapse saying (allegedly) that they wouldn’t settle for “less than 70 cents on the dollar from the government” for this debt. You’ve got to be kidding me! Lenders too seriously in trouble do the old thing: file bankruptcy and sell off their bad debt for whatever the market will pay for it.
2) Increase FDIC insurance to encourage people to deposit their money in banks and not “cut and run.” The currently proposed 250k cap is a good start but it should be closer to 500k. This would also increase liquidity for banks that are strong earners but are currently struggling with liquidity.
3) Restore pre-Acorn lending practices. No government backed private enterprises. Total market accountability.
4) Provide limited financial assistance to middle class mortgage holders in the form of additional tax breaks for home ownership and temporary stay of payment until they can acquire a new mortgage and refinance. If they cannot, they will have to face foreclosure for borrowing that which they could not pay back.
5) Penalties for those executives at the top that mismanaged. This should be covered as an extension under fraud laws particularly with Fannie and Freddy being taxpayer backed. Absolutely no golden parachutes.
It seems the number one thing we have forgotten in all of this is personal responsibility. Everyone blames everyone else. I was appalled to see Barney Frank pointing fingers when he was in charge of overseeing Fannie and Freddy! It sickens me to see the country paying a price for the greed of very small minority. As Lauren said to me about Fannie and Freddy: “Hmm how come insider trading gets Martha Stewart in jail, but it is legal for politicians and their appointees to get away with what they do?” Good question indeed…