Hmm. The LAT is reporting that President Obama is acting like he's ready for a fight with Timmy's Wall Street Buds over financial reform. One would like to believe he means it but we've been here before only to discover he didn't. Still....
President Obama made a forceful new push Wednesday for a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations to avert future economic catastrophes, but the long-sought legislation is in danger of stalling amid a gathering Capitol Hill firefight similar to the bitter healthcare battle.
But with major financial firms and business groups already adamantly opposing key parts of the overhaul, Republican congressional leaders returned from their spring recess this week and began firing away.
In the process, hopes are fading for a bipartisan deal needed in the Senate to advance the legislation this spring. A similar bill passed the House in December without a single Republican vote.
Before a White House meeting Wednesday with bipartisan congressional leaders, Obama said he was "confident that if we work together diligently over the next several weeks" a deal could be reached.
"If there's one lesson that we've learned," Obama said, "it's that an unfettered market where people are taking huge risks and expecting taxpayers to bail them out when things go sour is simply not acceptable."
[A]dministration officials said they were optimistic of a bipartisan deal as key senators continued to negotiate.
Even so, Obama told congressional leaders that he would not accept a weakened bill simply in the name of a bipartisan accomplishment, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.
There are 3 reasons I think he may actually, possibly, maybe, mean it this time.
First, there's the little matter of the total lack of respect from the banks. They took the Treasury money as if they were entitled to it and then gave a lot of it away in fucking bonuses, which made him look like a Wall Street patsy. Not good since he does want to get elected again and Wall Street's rep is in the toilet for at least another decade. He can't afford another round of kowtowing and "Yes sir, may I have another" obsequiousness. He has to at least appear to be independent, as even Mitch McConnell recognized this week.
Second, there's the little matter of the much ballyhooed Federal Mortgage Loan Modification Program which was supposed to help 4 million people stay in their homes but thanks to banksters' resistance to relinquishing even a few pennies of their scammed loot actually helped but a small fraction of that number - and helped them so little they went into default anyway.
The number of homeowners who defaulted on their mortgages even after securing cheaper terms through the government's modification program nearly doubled in March, continuing a trend that could undermine the entire program.
Data released Wednesday by the Treasury Department and the Housing and Urban Development Department showed that 2,879 modified loans had been ended since the program's inception in the fall, up from 1,499 in February and 1,005 in January.
The Treasury Department said it could not explain the growing number of what it called cancellations, almost all of which were apparently prompted by the borrower's being unable to make the new payment.
When you overcharge a guy twice - first with a deeply inflated sale price and then with unrealistically high interest rates - if you knock off 2% of the mortgage payment while giving up not one penny of the principal, that isn't going to help much, especially when you're refusing to loosen credit enough for his employer to make payroll when cash flow is tight.
The banksters' acting like losing a dollar of interest money was the same as ripping out their heart (assuming they had one) with a spoon and filling the cavity with road salt didn't do Obama any good as the high hopes which arose when he sold the program came crashing to earth when the reality of the bankers' greed finally made it obvious even to him that a Bushite "voluntary" program was about as useful as a snow shovel in Miami.
About seven million households are behind on their mortgage payments.
The Obama administration's modification program has been widely criticized for doing little to help them. The program received another bad review on Wednesday with the release of a report from the Congressional Oversight Panel.
The Treasury's stated goal is for the modification program to help as many as four million households, the oversight report said, "but only some of these offers will result in temporary modifications, and only some of those modifications will convert to final, five-year status."
The report continued: "Even among borrowers who receive five-year modifications, some will eventually fall behind on their payments and once again face foreclosure. In the final reckoning, the goal itself seems small in comparison to the magnitude of the problem."
Small? Misuscule might be a better word. The MLMP was so minor a player in the recent crisis that it didn't give Obama the political lift with the hoi-polloi that he expected it to. In fact it became just another example of failed New Democrat/Olde GOP policies that promise to save the middle class but somehow only manage to get the monetary life-raft as far as Stephen Hemsley's stock portfolio.
And finally, despite all the bankster-lobbyist maneuvering to turn yet another minimal effort into a nothing-at-all law, the fact is that there's nothing whatever in the Dodd bill that the banksters are likely to lose any sleep over. He can safely draw a line in the sand and while the banksters will grumble because they didn't get absolutely everything they wanted, they'll roll over and go back to sleep because they got most of what they wanted and all of the important stuff. The rest is, you know, kabuki.
So the problem is that even if it is beginning to dawn on Obama that you can't do "voluntary restraints" with banks, the Dodd bill doesn't actually challenge them to sacrifice anything of significance. Obama can look tough while remaining entirely unthreatening. It's a win-win.
For everybody but us, that is.
Powered by Zoundry Raven