Tag Archive: Fannie Mae

Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Mortgage Crisis / Foreclosure  :   Fiscal Irresponsibility

Housing experts press Obama, Romney on plans to boost sector

By Vicki Needham

Housing experts are urging the presidential candidates to talk more about how they would boost the struggling sector.

Neither President Obama nor Republican candidate Mitt Romney have made the housing market recovery a focus of their campaigns, leaving housing advocates puzzled.

David Crowe, chief economist with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), called the situation “unfortunate” saying he has been scratching his head about the lack of a running conversation about how to help bolster the improving sector.

“It’s perplexing that the policymakers will say we can’t have a recovery until housing recovers and then end the sentence at that point,” Crowe told The Hill.

“You’ve got our attention but we don’t hear anything,” he said. “Neither side has offered anything of any substance.”

Crowe said he is uncertain why both camps have essentially labeled the idea a hot potato with neither side taking the opportunity to lay out their solutions.

Anthony Sanders, a real estate professor at George Mason University, said he thinks Romney will start talking about the issue after the Republican convention, into the home stretch of the election.

“I think he will be more assertive,” he said.

Still, he is surprised that the candidates haven’t addressed the issue alongside their other plans for economic growth, which include tax reform and reducing the regulatory burden on businesses.

On Monday, Obama, once again, called on Congress to pass a bill when they return from August recess next month that would cut costs for homeowners who need to refinance.

Crowe said there are legitimate solutions, similar to what Obama is suggesting, that would allow homeowners to refinance, and bring their payments down, freeing up cash for other expenditures.

Letting homeowners refinance might not be a silver bullet but it would tackle one of the lingering drags on the market, reducing the load of distressed homes, which are concentrated in the nation’s hardest hit areas, and keep prices from falling.

The NAHB has been so concerned about the lack of talk about housing at a national level that it has taken its case on the road, rousing voters to tell lawmakers about the importance of housing, Crowe said.

“We’re trying to bring attention to why no one is talking about it,” he said.

Still, with or without government help, the sector should continue to improve into next year although it won’t be fast, Crowe added.

The bill Obama has been pushing is sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and would streamline refinancing for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers by eliminating upfront fees and appraisal costs, among other changes. The measure is part of the president’s congressional to-do list.

Crowe, like Sanders said there are remaining issues with underwriting standards and appraisals — mostly tied to the high stake the government has in the mortgage market — that are still hampering the housing market’s gradual recovery.

They also cited the uncertainty around still-unwritten rules from the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law as a hurdle for the market to overcome.

“One of the biggest problems facing the nation’s housing market is that of uncertainty,” Sanders said.

Housing experts say that after the 2008 financial crisis there were major concerns about lax lending standards, among a slew of other problems in the sector, that drove the economy to the brink of collapse.

From the time Obama stepped foot in the White House, the president should have done more and been more aggressive in helping the housing market, including taking charge of the direction of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, instead of suggesting several options and putting the question to Congress, Crowe said.

“If you’re in charge, you take charge,” he said.

Meanwhile, Obama has shifted some responsibility for what the White House can’t do on its own to Congress and the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA), which oversees Fannie and Freddie and holds the bulks of the nation’s mortgages, to provide mortgage principal reductions to struggling homeowners.

But Congress and the FHFA have balked at moving forward with the White House’s demands.

FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco decided earlier this month to forego the idea of reducing mortgage principal despite heavy Democratic pressure, a move that deflated the White House’s efforts.

DeMarco said his analysis showed that reducing principal balances is too risky and could cost taxpayers more money.

30 Stupid Things The Government Is Spending Money On

March 2, 2012

By Michael Snyder



If you want to get paid for doing something stupid, just turn to the U.S. government.  The U.S. government is paying researchers to play video games, it is paying researchers to study the effects of cocaine on Japanese quail and it has spent millions of dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly.  The amount of money that the government wastes is absolutely horrifying.  Do you remember all of that political wrangling over the debt ceiling deal last year?  Do you remember how our politicians told us that there were cutting spending as much as they possibly could?  Well, it was all a giant lie.  As you will see below, the U.S. government is spending money on some of the most stupid things imaginable.  What makes all of this even worse is that we are going into enormous amounts of debt in order to pay for all of this.  We are borrowing billions of dollars a day in order to pay for stupid stuff that no government on earth should ever be paying for.  Trust me, you are going to find it hard to believe some of the stuff in this list.  It is almost inconceivable what our politicians are doing with our tax dollars.

The following are 30 incredibly stupid things that the federal government is spending money on….

#1 The U.S. government is spending $750,000 on a new soccer field for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.

#2 The Obama administration plans to spend between 16 and 20 million dollars helping students from Indonesia get master’s degrees.

#3 If you can believe it, the U.S. government has spent $175,587 “to determine if cocaine makes Japanese quail engage in sexually risky behavior”.

#4 The U.S. government spent $200,000 on “a tattoo removal program” in Mission Hills, California.

#5 The federal government has shelled out $3 million to researchers at the University of California at Irvine to fund their research on video games such as World of Warcraft.  Wouldn’t we all love to have a “research job” like that?

#6 The Department of Health and Human Services plans to spend $500 million on a program that will, among other things, seek to solve the problem of 5-year-old children that “can’t sit still” in a kindergarten classroom.

#7 Fannie Mae is about to ask the federal government for another $4.6 billion bailout, and it will almost certainly get it.

#8 The federal government once spent 30 million dollars on a program that was designed to help Pakistani farmers produce more mangoes.

#9 The U.S. Department of Agriculture once gave researchers at the University of New Hampshire $700,000 to study methane gas emissions from dairy cows.

#10 According to USA Today, 13 different government agencies “fund 209 different science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs — and 173 of those programs overlap with at least one other program.”

#11 A total of $615,000 was given to the University of California at Santa Cruz to digitize photos, T-shirts and concert tickets belonging to the Grateful Dead.

#12 China lends us more money than any other foreign nation, but that didn’t stop our government from spending 17.8 million dollars on social and environmental programs for China.

#13 The U.S. government once spent 2.6 million dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly.

#14 One professor at Stanford University was given $239,100 to study how Americans use the Internet to find love.

#15 The U.S. Postal Service spent $13,500 on a single dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

#16 The National Science Foundation once spent $216,000 to study whether or not politicians “gain or lose support by taking ambiguous positions”.

#17 A total of $1.8 million was spent on a “museum of neon signs” in Las Vegas, Nevada.

#18 The federal government spends 25 billion dollars a year maintaining federal buildings that are either unused or totally vacant.

#19 U.S. farmers are given a total of $2 billion each year for not farming their land.

#20 The U.S. government handed one Tennessee library $5,000 for the purpose of hosting a series of video game parties.

#21 A few years ago the government spent $123,050 on a Mother’s Day Shrine in Grafton, West Virginia.  It turns out that Grafton only has a population of a little more than 5,000 people.

#22 One professor at Dartmouth University was given $137,530 to create a “recession-themed” video game entitled “Layoff”.

#23 According to the Heritage Foundation, the U.S. military spent “$998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida”.

#24 The U.S. Department of Agriculture once shelled out $30,000 to a group of farmers to develop a tourist-friendly database of farms that host guests for overnight “haycations”.

#25 The National Institutes of Health paid researchers $400,000 to find out why gay men in Argentina engage in risky sexual behavior when they are drunk.

#26 The National Institutes of Health also once spent $442,340 to study the behavior of male prostitutes in Vietnam.

#27 The National Institutes of Health loves to spend our tax money on really bizarre things.  The NIH once spent $800,000in “stimulus funds” to study the impact of a “genital-washing program” on men in South Africa.

#28 According to the Washington Post, 1,271 different government organizations work on government programs related to counterterrorism and homeland security.

#29 The U.S. government spent $100,000 on a “Celebrity Chef Fruit Promotion Road Show in Indonesia”.

#30 The feds once gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 “to paint a Chinook salmon” on the side of a Boeing 737.

How in the world can our government be so foolish?

Anyone that claims that there is not a lot of stuff that can be cut out of the federal budget is lying to you.

All of this crazy spending is going to get us into a massive amount of trouble eventually.  Already, on a per capita basis the U.S. national debt is worse than the national debts of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

We have accumulated the biggest debt in the history of the world and we are adding to it at a rate of about 150 million dollars an hour.

Our politicians strut around as if they are the smartest and wisest leaders in the history of the world, but the truth is that someday people will look back in horror at the decline of our once great society.

The federal government needs to stop spending so much money on stupid things and needs to stop pushing our national debt to nightmarish new levels.

Unfortunately, the corruption in Washington D.C. is so deep and so pervasive that it is going to be almost impossible to turn it around.