Maggie’s Drawers

I’m sure that title brings nostalgic lumps to the throats of veterans. For the non-veterans, Maggie’s Drawers is the term the Marine Corps and probably all military uses on the rifle range for a miss on the target. I am rating Ned Harpers “OWS Is On Target” essay a Maggie’s Drawers! Throughout the thesis he missed the target repeatedly. Sticking to my rifle range analogy; he flinched almost every time he pulled the trigger.

His first miss was on wages. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the average working person’s wages rose from $30,110 in 1980 to $41,928 in 2009; the latest figures available. He then leaps to the problem of nuclear waste. In the next paragraph he shifts emphasis to global warming and throws in the misleading statement that there is consensus among “world” scientists about global warming. “Consensus” is not science. Science is defined as systematized knowledge derived from observation, study, and experimentation carried on to determine the nature or principles of what is being studied. There is no scientific proof of man-made global warming! What we do know is that the people involved in the “study” lied about their findings.

Maggie’s Drawers again.

His next shot not only missed the target but flew off into the wild blue yonder! He claims that corporate money caused Obama to craft his Obamacare so as to leave the “giant insurance and pharmaceutical industries in the driver’s seat thereby keeping medical costs unnecessarily inflated.”

Now, I have read the bill and watched the results thus far and am at a total loss as to how he came to that conclusion. Obamacare is designed to destroy the insurance industry and make the pharmaceutical companies dependent on government contacts to survive. He then finishes off the first half of his paper by complaining about the Koch Brothers and corporate contributions.

I could support some of his pronouncements if he would also condemn the millions of dollars that flowed to Obama from the AFL-CIO, teachers’ unions and government employees’ unions. He also makes the claim that Koch supported the Tea Party. As a member of that much-maligned organization, I have never seen a penny of that support. Our group was self-supported by the participants.

Maggie’s Drawers again!

His parting shot (pardon the pun) was aimed at the 2008 mortgage meltdown. To refute the argument that all Progressives use requires more space than is allotted to this column. I will simply synopsize the history and cite references to fact check my work.

It began with the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, requiring banks and other financial institutions to lend to low-income borrowers or face punitive action by government regulators. In the 1980s, groups like ACORN and other community organizers began claiming redlining, which resulted in the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requiring banks to collect racial data on mortgage applicants. A 1992 study (which was eventually debunked) was used to lower the standards further. Banks that were rated poorly were punished and others faced legal challenges by the government.

In 1995 the Community Reinvestment Act was reviewed and strengthened. It now required banks to find ways to provide mortgages to the poor. Flexible lending programs expanded with higher default rates than traditional standards. ACORN sites in 2008 still advertised CRA loans with “100% financing ... no credit scores ... undocumented income ... even if you don’t report it on your tax returns.”

Fannie Mae singled out one paragon of non-discriminatory lending who worked with ACORN and followed “the most flexible underwriting criteria permitted.” By early 2003 their low-income loans had grown to $600 billion. That lender was Countrywide and you may recall the really low-interest loans made to “friends of Angelo,” Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. Haven’t they both left the Congress? Yes they have. I wonder why?

Fannie and Freddie are government-sponsored entities, both created by the government in 1938 and 1968. They own or guarantee $1.4 trillion, or 40 percent of all U.S. mortgages. With the government guaranteeing obviously faulty loans, banks forced to make faulty loans and the banks still required to keep their funds-to-loan ratio healthy they bundled these mortgages and sold them to other investors. I agree that it was poor ethics to do that but the government was the driving force and it did guarantee the loan. You and I will now pay the tab.

Larry Tradlener lives down McElmo Canyon.

Comments » Read and share your thoughts on this story