In Jan. 3 IssueRussell County News
“You’re Killing Me! Those were the words from a caller that I spoke with last Saturday about my opinion articles.
The caller was just flabbergasted that I could not understand why I didn’t realize that the Republicans were responsible for the financial mess that we are in which was caused over the past eight years. Well, I really appreciated the call and encouraged the caller to write some letters himself, but I think he also needs to cut back some on the Kool Aid.
One only has to do a little reading, and I’m not talking about the New York Times or the Herald Leader to find that up until 2006, things looked rather good. Real estate sales were at an all time high and employment was good. As I have pointed out before, lots of pressure was placed on financial institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make lending available to most everyone who applied.
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, enacted in 1974, makes it unlawful for any creditor to discriminate against any applicant, with respect to any aspect of a credit transaction, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age. Failure to comply can subject a financial institution to civil liability for actual and punitive damages.
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was passed by the 95th Congress and signed into law by Jimmy Carter in 1977 as a result of national pressure to address the deteriorating conditions of American cities, particularly lower-income and minority neighborhoods, but this bill did not mandate any civil or punitive damages. At this point, the push to loan money to most anyone was still not a big issue.
In 1995, Bill Clinton signed the Community Reinvestment Act of 1995 (CRA1995) in to law which put a little more teeth in the law and made Credit Default Swaps legal again. Credit Default Swaps or Credit Derivatives, are essentially side bets on the performance of the U.S. mortgage markets and the solvency on some of the biggest financial institutions in the world. It's a form of legalized gambling that allows you to wager on financial outcomes without ever having to actually buy.
That practice was illegal for the most part of the 20th Century, but the 106th Congress passed a bill in 1999 that alowed Wall Street to participate in this practice. The passage of this bill also repealed part of the Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited a bank from offering investment, commercial banking, and insurance services.
If you want to view a full report of this practice, visit: www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4546583n
It is important to note however that many independent lending institutions are not held to CRA requirements. These institutions have been driven by what has been referred to as the third deadly sin, “Greed.”
I’m sure upon closer examination you will probably find that many of us are guilty of that same vice. In closing, I truly believe that there is plenty of blame to go around on our present financial crisis, but I urge all of you to do a little research before you just blindly believe what the far left media is throwing out there. Around here, we say, “Watch where you step.”
May God bless…