Here is Nancy Pelosi, attempting to get (bipartisan) support for the (failed) bailout bill:
"[W]hen was the last time someone asked you for $700bn? It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration's failed economic policies — policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system."
Pelosi gives no examples of said recklessness, points to no specific economic policy. Just a partisan hack job that too many people will take to heart - and to the voting booth.
Barack Obama, sticking with the Democratic talking points, didn't back up his words either. In his opening remarks at last week's debate, Obama had this to say about the current economic mess:
And, No. 4, we've got to make sure that we're helping homeowners, because the root problem here has to do with the foreclosures that are taking place all across the country.
Now, we also have to recognize that this is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Senator McCain, a theory that basically says that we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most, and somehow prosperity will trickle down.
Just exactly what "failed economic policies" is he talking about? Who knows, he didn't say.
Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen, in an interview on Fox News - after the failed vote today - also chimed in with the Democratic talking points saying we "got into this mess by Bush administration policies". Again, no specifics.
Thankfully, I do have some specifics. They do not, however, involve failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Senator McCain:
To hear today’s Democrats, you’d think all this started in the last couple years. But the crisis began much earlier. The Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to lend to uncreditworthy borrowers, mostly in minority areas. Age-old standards of banking prudence got thrown out the window. In their place came harsh new regulations requiring banks not only to lend to uncreditworthy borrowers, but to do so on the basis of race.
These well-intended rules were supercharged in the early 1990s by President Clinton. Despite warnings from GOP members of Congress in 1992, Clinton pushed extensive changes to the rules requiring lenders to make questionable loans. [...] Failure to comply meant your bank might not be allowed to expand lending, add new branches or merge with other companies. Banks were given a so-called “CRA rating” that graded how diverse their lending portfolio was. [...] In the name of diversity, banks began making huge numbers of loans that they previously would not have. They opened branches in poor areas to lift their CRA ratings.
Meanwhile, Congress gave Fannie and Freddie the go-ahead to finance it all by buying loans from banks, then repackaging and securitizing them for resale on the open market. That’s how the contagion began. With those changes, the subprime market took off. From a mere $35 billion in loans in 1994, it soared to $1 trillion by 2008.
Is this one of the Bush administration's economic policies that got us into this mess?:
The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.
Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.
The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt -- is broken. A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.
Couldn't be since the Democrats blocked President Bush's attempts to "protect consumers" with more regulation. Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank (who received such praise today from Nancy Pelosi) pooh-poohed the administration's attempt to reign in Freddie and Fannie:
''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''
Who's exaggerating now, Mr. Frank?
John McCain, in 2006:
For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs--and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO's report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO's report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.
Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae's regulator reported that the company's quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were "illusions deliberately and systematically created" by the company's senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.
The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae's former chief executive officer, OFHEO's report shows that over half of Mr. Raines' compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.
The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator's examination of the company's accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.
But Barney Frank said those entities were in fine shape. Right Speaker Pelosi? It's Bush's fault:
"...the Bush administration's failed economic policies — policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system."
Here's a little history lesson for you:
P.S. (Via Sister Toldjah) Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby: "Frank's fingerprints are all over the financial fiasco".