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Increasingly, President Obama is being attacked by progressives for a perceived failure to take bold, decisive action.  A good example of this was a Monday blog post from progressive economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman:

Epitaph For An Administration

continued, after the fold...

In today’s report on the foreclosure mess, a revealing sentence:

As the foreclosure abuses have come to light, the Obama administration has resisted calls for a more forceful response, worried that added pressure might spook the banks and hobble the broader economy.

Surely this can serve as a generic statement:

As NAME ISSUE HERE has come to light, the Obama administration has resisted calls for a more forceful response, worried that added pressure might spook the banks and hobble the broader economy.

Stimulus, bank rescue, China, foreclosure; it applies all along. At each point there were arguments for not acting; but the cumulative effect has been drift, and a looming catastrophe in the midterms.

Following Krugman's link, we find a New York Times article which outlines the grievance, and learn of the progressive-approved "bold" response that did not happen-- a nationwide foreclosure moratorium.  Instead of supporting the "bold" option, members of the Obama administration such as David Axelrod and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan were publicly saying that foreclosures should be allowed to go forward, and in Donovan's case, that a foreclosure moratorium would do "far more harm than good."

Criticized for lack of boldness, Obama probably simply listened to the best sources of advice he had available-- from people who are in the best position to evaluate the pros and cons of a nationwide foreclosure moratorium.  People such as FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair, an official whom many progressives have given high marks, despite the fact that she was originally a Bush appointee. 

On C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" show on Sunday, Bair disputed the necessity and wisdom of a nationwide foreclosure moratorium, and made the case for foreclosures to move forward after files have been reviewed.  Bair acknowledged that the facts of the foreclosure document mess as currently known involve "industrywide practice with the large servicers" and that while these known faulty industry practices such as improperly signed and notarized affidavits are "very unfortunate," they only amount to a "process issue." Bair said that we don't know yet whether there are "substantive issues," and that people should not "jump to conclusions" until reviews have been completed. 

Bair urged people to not make more of the process issues than necessary, and expressed a belief that these issues would not cause significant damage to the financial system.  "Again, if it turns out that this is just a process issue, then I don't anticipate the exposures to be significant.  If this turns out to be something more fundamental, then we will have to deal with that," Bair said. "I don't  think that people should be viewing this as a broader problem than it is, until we have the facts."

When asked whether there should be a nationwide foreclosure moratorium, Bair said no.  Cases should reviewed and documents such as affidavits should be checked for sufficiency and corrected as needed, but once that has occurred, then foreclosures should proceed.  "it's tragic, and I don't like it," Bair said, but made the point that foreclosures were necessary for the market to clear, and that many of the homes in question were vacant anyway.

The fact is that there may be certain areas that would benefit for a foreclosure moratorium.  Florida's courts, for instance, are floundering under an unprecedented volume of foreclosures, and there are very real concerns that the courts are failing to deliver justice to homeowners in foreclosure cases in at least some jurisdictions.  But why should foreclosures be shut down in, say, North Dakota just because Florida courts are struggling?  Clearly, states have the power to halt foreclosures-- Connecticut has done exactly that. 

Given that, and the fact that the very laws governing foreclosures vary widely from state to state, would seem to make the decision of whether or not to halt foreclosures a call best left to the states, based on their particular blend of circumstance and law.  Notably, the vast majority of states have not decided to halt foreclosures, even though each and every state is aware of and actively investigating the foreclosure mess. 

Furthermore, a federal ban on foreclosures would send the wrong message on the very issues of integrity of process and rule of law that ban advocates claim that they stand for.  A blanket ban tells businesses who have not used robosigners or engaged in other bad foreclosure practices that their good conduct does not matter-- everyone gets punished the same, regardless of conduct. 

Certainly, there exist circumstances so extreme that it is not possible to sort out good from bad before taking action, and it is not always in the best public interest to have policies that put fairness above all else, especially in a crisis situation.  But, returning to Bair, we are largely talking about process issues here so far.  It is questionable whether there is even a bona fide crisis here, much less a large enough crisis that fairness needs to be abandoned.  It is not clear that cases where a homeowner was legitimately damaged by unlawful and/or fraudulent practices by banks and their agents in foreclosure actions cannot be handled by the courts in most jurisdictions.  If the courts can handle claims of damages caused by bad bank practices, and if, as Bair believes, the amount of those damages is not so great that it threatens the solvency of the banks, then no real crisis exists.

Boldness has its virtues, but there is also a particular kind of courage in making the right decision, when a supposedly "bolder" or "more forceful" decision might garner more approval.  President Obama has made the right decision here in the face of certain criticism and has once again demonstrated the kind of leadership that I can get behind.


Originally posted to skymutt on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 09:52 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Timidity is not wise. Read and learn: (18+ / 0-)

      Obama has made the wrong decision -- worse, he has made an essentially ignorant or possibly dishonest decision.  I point you to Naked Capitalism for the punchline:

      This account contrasts with the push by the Obama administration and banks against a "national foreclosure moratorium." And I have to say, formulating it that way plays into the hands of the banks. There is no reason to freeze foreclosures of mortgages made by institutions where the original lender still holds the mortgage. Even at the peak of the subprime mania, 75% of those loans were securitized, which implies 25% weren’t. The problems exist in securitized mortgages and probably also certain vintages (say 2004 onward). Even though the mortgage market is rife with problems, it’s important to focus on the relevant (and still very large) subset.

      The behavior in Florida is endemic in securitized mortgages.  

      Foreclosures of securitized mortgages should be halted and in fact all previous ones should be reversed, with a national instruction to judges that they are to check carefully whether the bank claiming to foreclose actually has any legal right to the property at all.  (This is the underlying issue; the securitization was never done properly in most cases, with the investors being scammed and the notes being destroyed.)

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:32:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He was a weakling... (9+ / 2-)

        ...he said he was going to be tough during the campaign, but he just rolled over to every moneyed interest. He totally loved illegal presidential powers and took out much of the Constitution in his zeal for immunity from prosecution for torture and Habeas abuses. He was a big defender of the rights of corporations to liberate huge sums from the public trust through crafty schemes which he turned a blind eye toward and even facilitated. He was a schmuck.

      •  Unless a homeowner was damaged... (5+ / 0-)

        ...there is no reason to reverse a foreclosure.  Simply file proper documents, if improperly executed documents are a title issue.  Fine the banks if you think they should be punished.  But don't just make a bigger mess out of this than it already is.  In most cases, the foreclosure is not even contested.  The home is sitting vacant.  The right of a particular entity to foreclose is not being disputed.  Why on earth would we want to burden the courts, with a bunch of cases that have already been dispatched correctly in substance, even if process was bad?  The courts are already struggling to keep up with the existing foreclosure cases on the dockets, which is causing those homeowners with substantive issues to not get the proper attention from the courts, at least in some cases.  Is sending hundreds of thousands of foreclosures back through the system really the answer?  What about the people who have bought these homes, and are living in them now?  We're going to take the home away from them, and give it back to the owner who didn't pay, and toss a homeowner who did everything right out on the street so we can have a do-over on the foreclosure and get the same result 99.99% of the time?  Just looking at the law alone it might seem to be the right thing to do, but as a practical matter, it makes no sense whatsoever.

        •  I take it you've never lost your home due to... (4+ / 0-)

          ...bankruptcy because you lost your job. Or lived on the street out of dumpsters for two years, like me when I lost everything. Mercy is a two-edged sword, you know. Why does everything in this world have to come down to the bucks? It's funny(if it wasn't so sad). The Banksters ruined their "credit rating" with CDS's and CDO's almost collapsing America with their greed, yet who did they run to to get them out of their "little" jam? We the taxpayers. But what happens when we get in a jam? We're told that our credit is no good anymore. We hear them loud and clear: "Not credit worthy". Our incomes are too low to afford our homes when we don't have JOBS anymore. The Banksters mercilessly throw people out on their ears everyday. Just wait until the next time they come begging us with hat in hand for all of our spare change! "Get a spare job"! That's what I'll say! No mercy given to those who don't give mercy!

          "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

          by ImpeachKingBushII on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:35:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I bought a little house. No problem now. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elmo, kafkananda, skymutt, LittlePeppee

            Friends bought big houses, because they "needed more space" or "had always dreamed of a big house" and many have lost them.

            I help them when I can, but it's their decision that caused the problem.

            Business cycles. We all knew that. Everyone knew the Great Depression, but it was convenient to gloss over it.

            It was caused by exactly the same behavior: bad people capitalizing on dreams and overspending for status and comfort.

            Will we ever learn?

            •  I see that meme floating around... (5+ / 0-)

              ...all over the netroots, and I think there's enough blame to go around. Who issued the loans? The easy credit cards? The banks did. Sure some people took advantage of the system, but it was the banks that gambled against themselves. That's what a credit default swap is, a bet against themselves, that the loans would fail. They took out insurance on them. And when they did fall, the insurers fell too, like a house of cards. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act rescinded Glass-Steagall, and removed the firewall between the Commercial Banks, Big Insurance, and Investment Banks, which led to a perfect storm when Fanny and Freddy went under. The little guy didn't pass that law, did they? So there's plenty of blame to go around. Only thing is, the banks aren't taking the big hit for their greed, we are.

              "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

              by ImpeachKingBushII on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 01:00:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  That's a tea party line (0+ / 0-)

              Perhaps they are right.

              It's got nothing to do with 3% seizing control.

              Read My New Book: The Jolly campaigns and High Times of Banastre Tarlton Esq.

              by Salo on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 06:26:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Three percent have been seizing control for (0+ / 0-)

                ten thousand years. Evolution seems to be favoring them and their children.

                Democracy only has promise if the masses educate themselves. There has never been a better time or technology to prove the basic assumption that the masses will recognize their own self interests.

                We shall see. Grasping for more is playing the game on the turf of the three percent.

          •  Losing your house was character building (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Why should Judge McAndrew and Bailiff Williams or Lawyer Jones be burdened with having to do their goddamn jobs?

            Read My New Book: The Jolly campaigns and High Times of Banastre Tarlton Esq.

            by Salo on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 06:12:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  You are missing a point: Without the Note (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          you cannot determine whether or not the facts of the case are accurate.

          You cannot determine if the mortgage was sold to multiple people, like Max Bialystock in the Producers, or whether or not the fees and penalties assessed by the servicer are legal, because these are terms of the note.

          The problem is we don't know who actually owns the mortgage.

          6/24/05: Charlie the Tuna Creator Dies En lieu of flowers, please bring mayonnaise, chopped celery and paprika.

          by LunkHead on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 06:33:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Much better (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to have homes sit vacant and unoccupied, in legal limbo, unable to be sold to new buyers ready and willing to buy them. Yup. That makes perfect sense!

          Who needs a scalpel when we have a sledgehammer, eh?

      •  Which is it? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is Obama's decision timid, ignorant, or dishonest?

      •  Barack the Timid is quite correct (0+ / 0-)

        Either that or he took a few dives.

        Read My New Book: The Jolly campaigns and High Times of Banastre Tarlton Esq.

        by Salo on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 06:09:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  FYI fraudulent affadavits (17+ / 0-)

      are not merely a "process issue".  Bair is wrong, like so many others.  They are a fraud on the court.

      And why were there fraudulent affadavits?  Because the original documentation they were supposed to be testifying to does not exist, due to an earlier round of fraud during mortgage origination.

      The banks have been "foreclosing" on the houses of people who didn't even have mortgages.  So far, they have been practically unrepentant -- they gave back a couple of the stolen houses after the media got involved, but they claim it was just an "honest mistake".  This is not an honest mistake, this is simply ignoring the rule of law entirely.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:36:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with Bair that this is a process issue (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lordcopper, Deep Texan, plasmon

        and I also agree with you that it is a rule of law issue.  The two views of things are not mutually exclusive.  Systematically notarizing documents without a notary present at the signing, for example, is both a process issue and a rule of law issue.  Likewise, signing that you have personal knowledge of something when you don't is both a process issue and a rule of law issue.  But these issues are only substantive (Bair's word) re: the foreclosure if the outcome would have been different if the process had been proper.  In most instances, that is not the case.

      •  THANK YOU (5+ / 0-)

        if I hear this mewling about "process" once more I will scream.

        Anyone who stands to lose their house deserves an honest process and real documents. To take someone's house behind phony affidavits is criminal.

        Would Sheila Bair complain if she was foreclosed upon under false pretenses?

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 03:14:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If he'd acted boldly (0+ / 0-)

      On a single identifiable issue, what you say in the diary might be plausible. The reality is that he's a cautious dysfunctional politician.

      Read My New Book: The Jolly campaigns and High Times of Banastre Tarlton Esq.

      by Salo on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 06:08:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Precisely the wrong time for another meta war (22+ / 0-)

    "These old Wall Street boys are putting up an awful fight to keep the government from putting a cop on their corner." - Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 09:58:22 PM PDT

    •  Good, because this is not a meta diary :-) (5+ / 0-)

      Probably a good time to put a good word in for Obama, now that you mention it... what's good for Obama is probably good for Dems in the midterms.

      •  I see that you smiled after you assertion (7+ / 0-)

        So I assume that means that you're not serious in  your assertion that you weren't trying to start trouble in your diary.

        If you want to start a meta war now, at this point in the election cycle, then fine. Just be fully aware of the consequences.

        •  Dude, I always start "trouble"... (3+ / 0-)

          But starting meta wars??  Heh.  I avoid the meta diaries like the plague.  Try in vain usually to find me involved in the thousand comment flame-fests.  Meanwhile, I have you pegged as someone who rather enjoys the meta wars and the shit-stirring, so I find it ironic that you would caution me on that.  Believe it or not, I don't think that makes you a bad person!  Some people just are drawn to conflict.

          It's simple. If you think I want to start trouble, you're probably half right.  I have opinions, I express them.  I usually (but not always) am in opposition to the populist progressive point of view on the topics I post most often like the economy, so I get flamed.  That's fine.  I accept that, I even welcome that.  Even folks like you who tend to come in and attack my motives rather than my arguments-- you have in the past, I know that not because I hold grudges, but because I have a good memory-- I do not mind.  It comes with the territory.

          Now, what is your opinion on Obama rejecting the idea of a federal foreclosure moratorium?

          •  If you simply wanted to express your support of (4+ / 0-)

            Obama on the issue of keeping foreclosures rolling, then it's not necessary to take the dig at "progressives." You could just write the diary and state your reasons.

            So the choice to call out "progressives" was yours, the way I look at it.

            I think that's why you're "motives' as you expressed it are being questioned, because you sort of invited it the way you set up the diary. The dig at progressives, the insinuation that they wrote his epitaph, etc. I'm not really buying the "oh i'm just interested in arguments" thing, ya know? ;)

            Cheers, BL

            •  But I *wanted* to make a dig at progressivess... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              peterborocanuck, PsychoSavannah

              ...on this issue-- is there anything particularly wrong with that?  

              I think that the left attacks on Obama as weak and indecisive just don't have a whole lot of basis in evidence, and deserve a little ridicule.  This issue was convenient for that discussion, because I think most progressives are wrong on the issue as well.  Yeah I could write a completely dry diary and defend Obama on this that way, but meanwhile, Obama's critics on the left are throwing bombs, like Krugman did in his clever little blog post.  Issue by issue I have no problem with Dems expressing strong disagreement with Obama, but I do not like it when Dems start undermining him generally with language like "weak", "not forceful", "not bold", "indecisive", "drifting" etc.  Krugman can take his big stimulus and big quantitative easing and other his other assorted bigness and boldness and can go jump in a big lake as far as I'm concerned if he is going to undermine the President from the left with this insidious weakness meme.

              BTW, I took Krugman's "epitaph" post as a not so subtle prediction that Obama was going to be a one-termer, absent an epiphany leading to doing things the Krugman way.  So hell yeah, I'm insinuating that people are writing Obama's epitaph!  It couldn't be any more plain!

    •  Precisely the wrong time to talk about anything.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Salo, skymutt

      besides how totally crazy awesome the Democrats are. Anything else, apparently, heterodoxy.

      I'm sorry, but how the fuck is talking about a nationwide foreclosure fraud problem the same as a "meta war"?

  •  "THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skymutt, dzog

    You need to see this documentary before venturing into the difference between wisdom, boldness, etc.

    Media Reform Action Link

    by LNK on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:14:20 PM PDT

    •  I don't want to spend $25 bucks... (0+ / 0-)

      Can you give me the clif notes version in a comment here?

      •  art of the possible documentary (6+ / 0-)

        Look for it on public television stations and/or at the library. Short version -- politics is the art of the possible and it takes constant small efforts, deals, compromise, charm, knowledge of facts, of how the system works, and the psychology of individual players, etc. etc. in order to make bold and positive changes. The most important changes only happened because of coalitions of seemingly unlikely different groups of people worked together over long periods of time and because politicians worked behind the scenes over the long-term. Change comes from below. Many Republicans and Southern conservative Democrats make trouble -- beyond belief what kind of trouble they don't mind making.

        Media Reform Action Link

        by LNK on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:40:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  your title is offensive. please change it (9+ / 0-)

    it suggests death of POTUS. Even Krugman's title was "Epitaph of an Administration", which is very different.

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:14:24 PM PDT

  •  The title ticked me off so much I almost didn't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skymutt, SoCalSal, Deep Texan

    read the diary. BUT I totally agree with your assessment. Thank you.

    •  You, the diarist, and Obama are all wrong, (7+ / 0-)

      and I suggest a catch-up course of reading Naked Capitalism, The Big Picture, and Rortybomb -- or if you really want to delve into it, and Matt Weidner's blog -- to understand why.

      I believe Obama doesn't realize what's actually been going on, to wit organized defrauding of MBS investors by mortgage originators and servicers, with the fraudulent illegal foreclosures intended to cover for that.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:34:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, you know you're right when the banking (15+ / 0-)

    industry and a stack of Bush appointees agree with you.

    Siding with the banks, after all, has always been what real courage is all about.

    Capitalism already ate itself. Now it's just shitting itself.

    by JesseCW on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:31:21 PM PDT

  •  Yikes. (7+ / 0-)

    Krugman's a mainline Keynsian, but compared to Obama I guess he is a "progressive economist."  Sigh.

    The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

    by happymisanthropy on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:40:33 PM PDT

  •  This is the crux of the matter (5+ / 0-)

    FYI fraudulent affadavits (2+ / 0-)
    are not merely a "process issue".  Bair is wrong, like so many others.  They are a fraud on the court.

    Your diary fails the test of the law.


  •  had obama acted boldly on other matters... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seabos84, khereva, skymutt, jeffroby

    like torture, guantanamo, health care, etc.  then he would not be criticized for making the wise move here.  I agree with your assessment of the policy implications, but obama's failure is one of politics.

    I know i will take criticism from the "art of the possible crowd", but obama the candidate made promises that obama the president has not only ignored, but has actively rejected (use of state secrets, transparency, for just two examples).

    bush had a far weaker mandate and ignored the "art of the possible" philosophy and got a lot of his agenda through (tax cuts, war, no child left behind).  And his base loved him for it.  obama has screwed his base in the name of "accomplishments",many of which look like republican plans rehashed from the 90s.

    oh and by the way...nothing wrong with your title.  anyone who thinks your title is suggestive of violence, etc. is just looking for something to b8tch about.  

  •  I reserve epitaphs... (4+ / 0-)

    For the already dead.

    Clinton could speak a good game to liberals, but he never got much done.  Obama's sometimes got communication problems, but he actually got healthcare reform passed.

    I think the best course of action is not to become disappointed at results that are short of ideal, but emboldened, if you can get that far, to push even further and kick ass magnificently.

    We just take the political bullshit too seriously for a party that is built on policy and policy change.

    The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

    by Stephen Daugherty on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:57:24 PM PDT

  •  Obama was 'wise' for the problems of 2008 (0+ / 0-)

    but the problem is that it's 2010 now.  And everything that looked smart and appropriate in 2008 doesn't look so smart or appropriate now.

    Look at Team Obama.  I would say that Hillary Clinton, of all people, has been the single pick that has real staying power/relevance.  Geithner, Chu, Sibelius, Emmanuel, Axelrod, Holder, Salazar, Gates, Biden, etc...what's the argument against firing the lot of them?  They've cleaned up their departments and areas of responsibility substantially, which is good.  But now that the apparatus works there's no leadership going on.  Every goal or initiative or change is too large for them to make.

    What's going to happen this election is that the excess of conservaDems in Congress and at the state level is going to get slaughtered down to the actual (and fast declining) proportion of conservaDems in the electorate.  Since Presidential elections tend to be rather like the previous midterm elections downticket, the conservaDems are going to get killed off further in '12.  

    Obama is going to have to clue into that all the deference and protection he gives conservaDems (which they bought by supporting and pushing for him in the primary) and their policies is no longer worth it.  He's made their laggard/passive political style and Middle American establishment that of his Administration.  It's time for Change, quite frankly, of the hardest kind: changing his own style and m.o. and plans to overcome the next series of obstacles and the passivity or incapacity of the people he's relied upon.

    Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called "White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo," checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.

    by killjoy on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:10:43 AM PDT

  •  the mortgage/foreclosure/MBS thing is a mess (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Annalize5, skymutt, Losty

    a really big mess.

    more federal action would be welcome. The administration has already underperformed in this area with the HAMP program, which was supposed to help people keep their homes but didn't really, per Atrios and others.

    And Congress failed to get cramdown to help people keep their homes.

    Krugman's criticism was sharp but fair. This is a crisis that impacts the nation on several levels. The Admin's job on checking the banks, and the out-of-control finance sector, has been inadequate. The admin is too close to the big banks - Larry Summers was a terrible choice. He exemplifies

    One expects Bair to keep with the admin line. Her statement about this being a "process issue" is disappointing. This is a lot more than that - it is fraud on top of fraud. The bogus affidavits are but a symptom.

    A mortgage moratorium need not be debilitating to the poor, fragile market - all that is needed is for someone not tainted by the desire to make money for the banks to review them. as soon as a given case is found to be sound, it can go forward.

    The reason for a moratorium is we know that a lot of bad foreclosures have gone forward, and we don't know how far the rot has spread. how many bad ones are in process right now? I have no confidence in bank reports on this - they have incentive to push them forward, valid or no.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 03:11:23 AM PDT

    •  Perfectly stated. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "The first step towards madness is to think oneself wise." ~Fernando de Rojas

      by Annalize5 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 04:59:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  HAMP was doomed to underperform (0+ / 0-)

      Too many people were too far away from making a payment for the problem to meet the stated targets.  Politically, you had to have something like HAMP, and for the people who did get government subsidized workouts, I'm sure that they are glad that the program was around.  I view the final version of HAMP as a modest success.  I think they spent about the right amount of money per home saved.  Spend less, and the program would have helped nobody.  Spend more, and you have a situation of diminishing returns.

      Cramdowns in bankruptcy would have probably been the more elegant solution, but they didn't pass Congress, as you say.

      As expressed in my diary, my guess is that Bair has probably been responsible for crafting the administration line, at least in part, rather than merely keeping the administration line.  One thing I like about Obama is that I perceive that he listens and takes advice from knowledgeable people.

      As far as what you say going forward, my take on that is, the banks have been put on notice.  Any robo-signing, lying about personal knowledge of facts, or any other systemic fraud, should be treated very harshly from this point forward.

  •  On Afghanistan he's as weak as they come. (0+ / 0-)

    "Don't do vibrato. It'll come naturally when you're old and shakey." - Miles Davis (from his music teacher)

    by dov12348 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 03:55:05 AM PDT

  •  It is not progressives who will control (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who votes how. The majority of his voters did want boldness and are not seeing it. Imagining that they are scouring through this site to pick out the critical diaries from the sea of anti-progressive ones is incredibly self-centered. You know, it's not about me or you?

    "Too big to fail" is not too big to jail.

    by Angela Quattrano on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 04:25:03 AM PDT

    •  Evidence of this? (0+ / 0-)

      The majority of his voters did want boldness and are not seeing it.

      You have any evidence for that claim?

      Imagining that they are scouring through this site to pick out the critical diaries from the sea of anti-progressive ones is incredibly self-centered. You know, it's not about me or you?

      Who's scouring through the site?  I don't understand what you are saying here.

  •  The fact is, what is wise is quite subjective... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Salo, khereva

    and the opportunity to be bold that existed on Day One seems to have been squandered so that complete gridlock is on the horizon.

    In the present scenario, one of dysfunction, the entrenched powers flourish.  That is why they foster dysfunction.

    Insults do not change minds. I likely will choose not to reply. And my view does not invariably depend on your interpretation or projection, just my own.

    by citizen53 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 04:40:26 AM PDT

    •  The gridlock on the horizon (0+ / 0-) mostly due to the bad economy, which was already baked in the cake when Obama took office.  When the economy is bad during a president's first midterm, their party usually does badly.  See Reagan 1982 and Clinton 1994 for well-known examples.

      •  Don't completely agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Obama had large majorities and huge popularity when he took charge, even though he squandered from the start with personnel decisions that were not people or change oriented.

        Insults do not change minds. I likely will choose not to reply. And my view does not invariably depend on your interpretation or projection, just my own.

        by citizen53 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 08:29:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed that he made bad strategic decisions (0+ / 0-)

          ...but probably have different reasons to criticize the decisionmaking than you do.

          Appointing Geithner with his tax problem was a mistake;  Appointing Gregg without being sure that he was going to take the job was a mistake.  Probably could have done without the establishment lightning rod Larry Summers.  Overall, the cabinet building was poor, and too heavy on big names.  Kind of like the Yankees of the 80s-- get a bunch of high priced big name free agents but the team is mediocre.  I chalk that up to the fact that Obama was new to being an executive and was pretty new on the political and hadn't built up enough contacts amongst the right kind of knowledgeable, experienced people.  I actually expected that these kinds of growing pains were a possibility, given Obama's experience level, and was willing to overlook these kind of mistakes and not make a big deal about them, since I expected Obama to learn from mistakes quickly, which I think he has.

          •  Don't disagree on the experience... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but also believe he is more corporate in his own core, and will have to risk that to become a great leader.

            Insults do not change minds. I likely will choose not to reply. And my view does not invariably depend on your interpretation or projection, just my own.

            by citizen53 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:05:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Dead wrong on all counts. Neither tipped nor (0+ / 0-)


    neca politicos omnes; deus suos agnoscet.

    by khereva on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 05:06:45 AM PDT

  •  Obama is taking the wrong position on this (0+ / 0-)

    These are people's homes, reduced to a slash on a statistical ledger, by a bunch of elitist politicians who have never known economic hardship and who don't give a damn about anyone below the investor class.

    Home ownership documentation has been privatized, not logged with with the state and sometimes completely lost. There is rampant fraud, how much we have yet to discover.

    And the fraud involved does not stop with the manner in which people's homes are being taken away from them, but the kinds of loans - and their terms - they were offered to begin with. Heads need to roll. Homes need to be saved.

    It doesn't stop there, either, because this is the story of how Americans homes got turned into bogus securities that were peddled and peddled by wall street until they collapsed the economy.

    So we are looking at multiple frauds perpetuated at a structural level by the biggest banks, investment companies and the real estate industry, facilitated by a government that surrendered its historic responsibilities to oversee property transactions, never mind the well-being of its citizens.

    Letting the market adjust itself and/or adjusting the system so a couple million people can lose their homes more effectively is exactly how this party killed off its 2008 political mandate. covering it up and trying to make it go away will only disgust and alienate everyone concerned, except the guilty. Teabaggers will have a field day, while the economically endangered will have yet another grievance against this party. Obama is absolutely on the wrong side of this issue, again.

    We need a primary home foreclosure moratorium now. And then we need a serious investigation that takes out a lot of the people who made this nightmare possible. It should have been done 2 years ago. It still needs to be done today.

    When 25% of all home sales are foreclosure sales, the social problem is not that the docket is clogged with cases that need to be moved, but the death of living wage work that allows people to pay their mortgages and buy homes. So we also need a public employment program, so people can pay their bills. Failure to deal with this issue is exactly why political support for this party is collapsing. Get a clue...............

    Axelrod's slimy performance representing the administration last sunday really turned me off. His creepy defense of a laize-faire posture amid this mess was disgusting. He seemed more interested in getting all the foreclosures cleared up than saving people's homes. Predictable, but disgusting. When will this party start acting like Democrats?

    When the streets are filled with homeless people?

  •  the foreclosure moratorium would be bad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    very bad.

    we should have forced the banks to work out more loans.  we should have forced the banks to use mark to market and actually auction them off to other parties.  as it stands now they can mark them whatever they want and buy them from themselves at the auction.  

    however, stopping foreclosures would only prolong this recession.  

    millions of foreclosures all starting up again at the same time would have been a real nightmare for so many reasons.

  •  I was gonna rec this diary for it's obvious (0+ / 0-)

    good points, but, having read some of your comments and your somewhat unbelievable insensitivity about how your title is being viewed, I'll wait for someone who desires to communicate with others.

    Keep The Keys...GOTVote and Vote for Dems.

    by reddbierd on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 07:02:21 AM PDT

    •  heh (0+ / 0-)

      I suppose they desired to communicate with me-- seizing on the ever so offensive use of the word "epitaph" in the title when I obviously am just riffing off what Krugman wrote, and my ever so troubling use of the past tense?  "Defending" Obama from my ever so troubling "suggestions of death."  Totally manufactured outrage.  One of em in particular who had a problem with "epitaph" has never once replied to me in substance, but always is ready with some kind of insult or irrelevance.  

      What's unbelievable about rejecting that kind of nitpicking?  

      •  I don't know or care about the ongoing arguments. (0+ / 0-)

           I am simply referring to an author's respect for their audience. If a reader tells you that the word in your title makes them uncomfortable (and really is that so hard to fathom with this President in this time?) you could and in my opinion should change the title to reflect that respect. That is all I mean.
           One more thing though. You have chosen to take an controversial view of the foreclosure moratorium that I happen to agree with at least partially...why color that with an unimportant distraction?

        Reports of the death of the Democratic Party have been greatly exaggerated. GOTV.

        by reddbierd on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 08:21:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  exactly how is the diarist being (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      'unbelievably insensitive'?

      lines like this:

      'this is baseless'


      'not going to change it...sorry' ?

      big deal.  author stands by the title, and firmly.  That's fine.  I see no disrespect at all.

      What's he supposed to say...''re right...epitaph is pretty harsh.  What was I thinking?'

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