Fannie, Freddie asked to relax condo loan rules:

Fannie, Freddie asked to relax condo loan rules: report

Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:48am EDT

(Reuters) – Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.

In March, Fannie Mae (FNM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)(FNM.P: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it would no longer guarantee mortgages on condos in buildings where fewer than 70 percent of the units have been sold, up from 51 percent, the paper said. Freddie Mac (FRE.P: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)(FRE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is due to implement similar policies next month, the paper said.

In a letter to the CEO’s of both companies, Representatives Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Anthony Weiner warned that a 70 percent sales threshold “may be too onerous” and could lead condo buyers to shun new developments, according to the paper.

The legislators asked the companies to “make appropriate adjustments” to their underwriting standards for condos, the paper added.

In an interview with the paper, Weiner said the rules have “had a real chill on the ability to get these condos sold,” at a time when prices of condos have fallen enough to attract potential buyers.

In addition to the 70 percent sales threshold, Fannie Mae will also not purchase mortgages in buildings where 15 percent of owners are delinquent on condo association dues or where one owner has more than 10 percent of units, as the firm sees these as signals that a building could run into financial trouble, the paper added.

Both Fannie and Freddie are preparing a response to the lawmakers, according to the paper.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

(Reporting by Chakradhar Adusumilli in Bangalore; editing by Simon Jessop)

Adding Up Obama + Pelosi + Reid + Frank

Adding Up Obama + Pelosi + Reid + Frank

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER | Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:30 PM PT

Last week I made the open-and-shut case for John McCain: In a dangerous world entering an era of uncontrolled nuclear proliferation, the choice between the most prepared foreign policy candidate in memory vs. a novice with zero experience and the wobbliest one-world instincts is not a close call.

But it’s all about economics and kitchen-table issues, we are told. OK. Start with economics.

Neither candidate has particularly deep economic knowledge or finely honed economic instincts. Neither has any clear idea exactly what to do in the current financial meltdown.

Hell, neither does anyone else, including the best economic minds in the world, from Henry Paulson to the head of the European Central Bank. Yet they have muddled through with some success.

Both McCain and Barack Obama have assembled fine economic teams that may differ on the details of their plans but have reasonable approaches to managing the crisis. So forget the hype. Neither candidate has an advantage on this issue.

On other domestic issues, McCain is just the kind of moderate conservative that the Washington/media establishment once loved — the champion of myriad conservative heresies that made him a burr in the side of congressional Republicans and George W. Bush.

But now that he is standing in the way of an audacity-of-hope Democratic restoration, erstwhile friends recoil from McCain on the pretense that he has suddenly become right wing.

Self-serving rubbish. McCain is who he always was. Generally speaking, he sees government as a Rooseveltian counterweight (Teddy with a touch of Franklin) to the various malefactors of wealth and power.

He wants government to tackle large looming liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare. He wants to free up health insurance by beginning to sever its debilitating connection to employment — a ruinous accident of history (arising from World War II wage and price controls) that increases the terror of job loss, inhibits labor mobility and saddles American industry with costs that are driving it (see: Detroit) into insolvency. And he supports lower corporate and marginal tax rates to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation.

An eclectic, moderate, generally centrist agenda in a guy almost congenitally given to bipartisanship.

Obama, on the other hand, talks less and less about bipartisanship, his calling card during his earlier messianic stage. He does not need to. If he wins, he will have large Democratic majorities in both houses. And unlike 1992, Obama is no Clinton centrist.

What will you get?

(1) Card check, meaning the abolition of the secret ballot in the certification of unions in the workplace. Large men will come to your house at night and ask you to sign a card supporting a union. You will sign.

(2) The so-called Fairness Doctrine — a project of Nancy Pelosi and leading Democratic senators — a Hugo Chavez-style travesty designed to abolish conservative talk radio.

(3) Judges who go beyond even the constitutional creativity we expect from Democratic appointees. Judges chosen according to Obama’s publicly declared criterion: “empathy” for the “poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old” — in a legal system historically predicated on the idea of justice entirely blind to one’s station in life.

(4) An unprecedented expansion of government power. Yes, I know. It has already happened. A conservative government has already partially nationalized the mortgage industry, the insurance industry and nine of the largest U.S. banks.

This is all generally swallowed because everyone understands that the current crisis demands extraordinary measures. The difference is that conservatives are instinctively inclined to make such measures temporary.

Whereas an Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Barney Frank administration will find irresistible the temptation to use the tools inherited — $700 billion of largely uncontrolled spending — as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to radically remake the American economy and social compact.

This is not socialism. This is not the end of the world. It would, however, be a decidedly leftward move on the order of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

The alternative is a McCain administration with a moderate conservative presiding over a divided government and generally inclined to resist a European social-democratic model of economic and social regulation featuring, for example, wealth-distributing, growth-killing marginal tax rates.

The national security choice in this election is no contest. The domestic policy choice is more equivocal because it is ideological. McCain is the quintessential center-right candidate. Yet the quintessential center-right country is poised to reject him. The hunger for anti-Republican catharsis and the blinding promise of Obamian hope are simply too strong. The reckoning comes in the morning.

© 2008 Washington Post Writers Group

Election ’08 Backgrounder

  

Financial Crisis | Iraq | Defense | Background & Character | Judges & Courts | Energy

 

FINANCIAL CRISIS

Quick Facts:

  • Democrats created the mortgage crisis by forcing banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them.
  • In 2006, McCain sponsored a bill to fix the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Barney Frank and other Democrats successfully opposed it.
  • Obama was one of the highest recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac donations in Congress.

Related Editorials

 

IRAQ


Quick Facts:

  • When the U.S. was on the verge of losing in Iraq, McCain chose to stand and fight.  Obama chose retreat.
  • Even after the surge succeeded, Obama told ABC’s Terry Moran he would still oppose it if he had the chance to do it all over again.

Related Editorials

 

DEFENSE

Quick Facts:

  • Obama has promised to significantly cut defense spending, including saying “I will slow our development of future combat systems.”
  • John McCain has vowed: “We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies.”

Related Editorials

Obama Video: Watch Now

 

 

BACKGROUND & CHARACTER

Quick Facts:

  • Obama voted “present” 135 times as a state senator, and according to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, “gained a reputation for skipping tough votes.”
  • McCain has taken stances unpopular with his own party and/or the public on controversial issues, including immigration, campaign finance reform, judicial nominations, the Iraq War and more.

Related Editorials

 

 

JUDGES & COURTS


Quick Facts:

  • In a 2001 interview, Obama said he regretted that the Supreme Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”
  • In the same interview, Obama criticized the Supreme Court because it “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”
  • Obama has focused on empathy, rather than legal reasoning and restraint, as his basis for appointing judges, saying, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy…to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”
  • McCain opposes judicial activism, saying, “my nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power.”

Related Editorials

Obama 2001 Interview: Listen Now

 

ENERGY


Quick Facts:

  • McCain has proposed building 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and is in favor of drilling in sectors of the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Obama has refused to take a stand, saying only “we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix” and he will “look at” drilling offshore.

Related Editorials

»
McCain: The Energy Candidate

» McCain On Nukes: Yes We Can
» Breaking The Back Of High Oil

 

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Great News: Barney Frank says Dems will cut defense, raise taxes, and spend lots of money

Great News: Barney Frank says Dems will cut

defense, raise taxes, and spend lots of money

Rick Moran
Well, you can’t say they didn’t warn us ahead of time:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Democrats will push for a stimulus package after the November election, and called for a package reducing defense spending by 25 percent while saying Congress will “eventually” raise taxes.

Frank told the editorial board of the SouthCoast Standard-Times that he wanted to reduce defense spending by a quarter, meaning the United States would have to withdraw from Iraq sooner.

“The people of Iraq want us out, and we want to stay over their objection,” he said. “It’s extraordinary.”

Frank also said the post-election stimulus package will focus on spending for building projects, extending unemployment benefits, and further supporting states’ healthcare costs. “We’ll have to raise taxes ultimately,” Frank said. “Not now, but eventually.” Frank told the Standard-Times that if Democrats cannot secure the votes they need in November, they will try again in January, when they will likely have stronger majorities in the House and Senate.

B-B-B-B-ut we thought Obama was going to CUT taxes for “95% of Americans?”

Suckers.

Meanwhile, that 25% cut in defense spending means, oh, about $115 billion stripped during a time of war. No word on when the Dems are going to raise the white flag and leave Afghanistan – but that is almost certainly in the cards. But don’t worry. Before long, they will run out of enemies to surrender to. Then they will have start surrendering to each other.

Love that stimulating “stimulus package,” don’t you? We’re running a half trillion deficit and the Dems want to throw more money at us. That’s in addition to our “tax cut” that will no doubt be grabbed back in about 6 months when the government begins to collapse under the weight of additional debt piled on by the liberals.

Barack Obama: Change you can drink hemlock to.

McCain Promises to Investigate Sen. Dodd, Rep. Frank’s Role in Financial Mess

http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=192423

“The fact is that the same people claiming credit for this rescue are the same ones that were willing co-conspirators in causing this problem that it is. And you know their names. And you will know more of their names. Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd are two of them.”

Opposing view: The sky is not falling

Opposing view: The sky is not falling

By John Shadegg

 

Every Republican who voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act on Monday believes that Congress must address this crisis. They take it seriously and stand ready to vote for reasonable legislation. They were unwilling to give Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson a blank check.

The sky is not falling. The market will return. Secretary Paulson is getting a lesson in civics. The world he has entered is different than the wheeling-and-dealing Goldman Sachs world where he made his fortune.

Members of Congress have a duty to protect the interests of the American people. That is precisely what they did. The vote against the measure was solidly bipartisan.

Paulson’s $700 billion dollar plan was fundamentally flawed. The bill asked for a blank check. It did not specify which assets could be purchased or the procedure by which they would be purchased.

Regrettably, Congressional Democrats inserted extraneous provisions and chose to put groups such as ACORN (a liberal housing advocacy group) and trial lawyers before the American people. After Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., courageously halted the stampede, most negotiation time was spent removing harmful Democrat language, rather than improving Paulson’s proposal.

House Republicans want to protect the American people and our nation’s financial institutions, enabling them to make the loans needed to run America’s economy. It is also critical to calm public anxiety.

To begin, “mark to market,” the accounting rule that requires mortgage-backed securities to be valued at fire-sale prices, must be suspended. For reasons that are incomprehensible, Paulson and congressional Democrats refused to include such a provision. It’s a systemic reform Congress must insist upon to reduce taxpayer exposure and prevent this crisis from reoccurring. Further, an update to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., increasing its $100,000 limit, would relieve the concern of millions of Americans for their life savings. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would oppose such a change.

Many House conservatives do not like the structure of Paulson’s proposal to have the government purchase troubled assets. But there is nothing inherent in this plan that’s inconsistent with the two reforms outlined above.

Americans need to understand that the Senate was not scheduled to vote on this bill until Wednesday evening, as a result of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah today. We have ample time to reach an acceptable compromise if all parties act in good faith. The Democratic House majority can move to reconsider its bill if Speaker Nancy Pelosi will allow an amendment to improve it by making changes, including those I have outlined.

This problem can be solved in the very near future, and the market will come back.

Rep. John Shadegg, R-Arizona, first elected in 1994, has held a number of Republican leadership positions in the House.

Nancy Pelosi’s Political Caliphate On America