Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Barney Frank: This Week's Winner of the Jimmy Carter Prize
This week's recipient of the Jimmy Carter Prize For the Advancement of Douchebaggery is Congressman Barney Frank. As a ranking member and now chairman of the house financial services committee, Mr. Frank spent years defending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac against efforts to impose greater oversight and regulation and downplaying concerns about the financial soundness of these deeply flawed government organizations. Yet, Mr. Frank has the gall to blame the housing crisis on the "failure of unfettered capitalism" and "de-regulation."
Believe it or not, one of the Bush administration's few moments of clarity and good judgement was it's multiple calls to increase regulation and oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In 2001 Bush stated that size of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is a potential problem because financial troubles in either one of them could cause strong repercussions in financial markets.
In fall of 2003 the Bush administration pushed congress to create a new federal agency to regulate and supervise the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. John Snow Treasury Secretary stated "we need a strong, world class regulatory agency to oversee the prudential operations of the GSE (government sponsored enterprise) and the safety and the safety and the soundness of their financial activities."
As a ranking member of house financial services committee, Congressman Barney Frank vigorously blocked efforts at greater oversight and regulation stating:
"These two entities – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses, which I do not see, I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disaster scenarios, but the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”
In 2005 the Bush administration once against pushed for greater oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. With Bush's full support, Alan Greenspan stated:
"Enabling these institutions to increase in size - and they will once the crisis in their judgement passes - we are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk. If we fail to strengthen GSC regulation we increase the possibility of insolvency and crisis."
This bill was voted against by Congressman Frank and his democratic allies. Of course we can be certain that this has nothing to do with the campaign contributions that Frank ($40,100), Christopher Dodd ($133,900), Barack Obama ($105,849) and Hillary Clinton ($75,500) from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That's certainly a lot of change that we can believe in!