"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen


"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister


"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont


"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister


"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Barney Frank, Obama, TARP and homeowner relief

Question for Brad DeLong and the Debt School of the Downturn: What Would Our Saving Rate Be If We Didn't Have Debt? by Dean Baker, Monday, 01 December 2014 05:32

via DeLong

David DayenBarney Frank Explains the Financial Crisis: “The TARP legislation included specific instructions to use a section of the funds to prevent foreclosures…
…Without that language, TARP would not have passed…. The Bush administration… used none of the first tranche on mortgage relief, nor did Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson use any leverage over firms receiving the money to persuade them to lower mortgage balances and prevent foreclosures. Frank made his anger clear over this ignoring of Congress’ intentions at a hearing with Paulson that November…. Frank writes, ‘Paulson agreed to include homeowner relief in his upcoming request for a second tranche of TARP funding. But there was one condition: He would only do it if the President-elect asked him to.’…
Obama rejected the request, saying ‘we have only one president at a time.’ Frank writes, ‘my frustrated response was that he had overstated the number of presidents currently on duty’…. Obama’s unwillingness to take responsibility before holding full authority doesn’t match other decisions made at that time. We know from David Axelrod’s book that the Obama transition did urge the Bush administration to provide TARP loans to GM and Chrysler…. It was OK to help auto companies prior to Inauguration Day, just not homeowners. In the end, the Obama transition wrote a letter promising to get to the foreclosure relief later, if Congress would only pass the second tranche of TARP funds. Congress fulfilled its obligation, and the Administration didn’t….
Frank… first leveled [this] in May 2012 in an interview with New York magazine. Nobody in the Obama Administration has ever denied the anecdote…. I suppose those reviewing ’Frank’ can offer an excuse about this being ‘old news’…. The political media’s allergy to policy is a clear culprit here. Jamie Kirchick’s blanket statement in his review of ‘Frank’ that ‘readers’ eyes will glaze over’ at the recounting of the financial crisis is a typical attitude. But… people [who] suffered needlessly for Wall Street’s sins… would perhaps be interested in understanding why…


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