Patterico's Pontifications

3/26/2008

McCain: Refusing to Pander

Filed under: 2008 Election — Patterico @ 12:02 am



John McCain on the housing crisis:

Earlier Tuesday, McCain scolded “complacent” home lenders, but eschewed the interventionist approach to the housing crisis proposed by his Democratic opponents, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois. McCain told reporters that Clinton’s $30-billion plan to aid homeowners and communities threatened by foreclosures sounded “very expensive,” and said he’d “like to know how it’s paid for.”

In a speech, McCain said he was “committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.”

Well said.

36 Responses to “McCain: Refusing to Pander”

  1. Give credit where it’s due. That’s a sound conservative statement right there. Good for him.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  2. Do you think that was Nancy Reagan’s condition for her endorsement? I question the timing. 😉

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  3. That is in his usual MO– cut spending. (I think it’s foolish that he will pass on tax cuts in pursuit of that goal, instead of taking what he can get, but it’s far more reasonable than saying “we’re deep in debt– let’s spend more!)

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  4. And who was it that was behind “ADDI 2003”? The public law that saw loan qualification as discrimination, something that must be ended? The government creates the problem, the government tries to fix the problem. Anybody remember the Resolution Trust Corporation?

    It’s time we found out that McCain and government IS THE PROBLEM.

    You probably never heard of ADDI — It stands for The “American Dream Downpayment Initiative” of 2003. And guess what it did? If you are not good at guessing click on over to HUD and see for yourself.

    bill-tb (26027c)

  5. This is comforting, a little bit.

    JD (75f5c3)

  6. Surely McCain realizes by now that there are ways to effect bailouts without having to ask the taxpayer for a direct appropriation for one. Witness the Fed’s managing of the sale of Bear Stearns after they collapsed, which was what the markets needed to see from the Fed (Wall Street and the rest of the global markets were assuming Ben Bernanke had no other tool besides rate cuts). Still, it wasn’t a bad speech.

    Of course, this speech is inoperative the minute a President McCain (or Hill-Bama) asks Congress to appropriate funds to recapitalized FannieMae, FHA, and FreddieMac.

    Brad S (f4a3ad)

  7. Don’t be fooled by John McCain’s attempts at sounding conservative. The truth is that John McCain just does not care what is happening to people. He has his money, to h3ll with everyone else.

    Desert Rat (03ff00)

  8. This has always been a strength of McCain’s; he told Michigan voters that government wasn’t going to bring those jobs back.

    McCain’s a legit fiscal conservative. And he’s completely right on this one – those who lost their houses largely bought too much house.

    –JRM

    JRM (355c21)

  9. I saw that too, and was impressed. I had considered writing about it, but you beat me to the punch. Mr. Straight Talk is resurfacing at last!

    The funny thing about this housing crisis is that the problem with declining sales will magically disappear once home prices fall to a level attractive to customers. The government can make this happen by . . . letting market forces do the work.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  10. I saw that too, and was impressed. I had considered writing about it, but you beat me to the punch.

    Except I didn’t really write about it — so that slot is still available. Unless “well said” is considered writing about it.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  11. Okay, then I’ll do so. BTW, for an excellent overview of what went wrong in real estate, this blog is great

    And this explainer article discusses complicated financial issues in plain English.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  12. Foxfier…
    As to the deep-ness of “our” debt, there was an OpEd in the WSJ this week (sorry, I don’t have a link) that ran the numbers for the country’s debt vs GDP. The current debt is within one or two tenths of a percent of GDP as the average for the last 48 years. And, that Fed Gov’t spending as a percentage of GDP is actually below the avg for that time span.

    It is amazing what an expanding economy can do.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  13. Bradley,

    I think the home mortgage market is already correcting to a certain extent. It may be an anomaly but, following several months of declines, home sales were up almost 3% in February.

    In addition, here are some interesting home sale stats and here’s the main website link for details on nationwide home sales.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  14. Is anyone else struck by the incredible incongruity of one of the “Keating Five” lecturing people about the duties of the government not to bail out and reward the irresponsible? Like, say, the S&Ls?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think he is totally right on this issue. I just find the irony almost irresistible.

    David

    David J Harr (b77e07)

  15. Well, if you ask the Senator, he flatly says that he learned a lesson from that experience.
    Unfortunately, he now sees corruption everywhere, and uses the wrong tool to expunge it.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  16. Another Drew – I’m not saying we’re bankrupt, I just don’t like as much debt as we *do* have.

    But I also don’t like throwing money down the rat-hole known as “public assistance.”

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  17. David J “Hardy Harr” Harr:

    Is anyone else struck by the incredible incongruity of one of the “Keating Five” lecturing people about the duties of the government not to bail out and reward the irresponsible? Like, say, the S&Ls?

    Hardly, given that this particular “one of the ‘Keating Five'” was exonerated of any wrongdoing in that investigation / witch hunt.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  18. David J “Hardy Harr” Harr:

    .
    .
    .

    Comment by Xrlq

    “Hardy Harr Harr”, huh. That is original, I will have to remember that.

    David

    David J Harr (b77e07)

  19. Did any of you listen to the speech he gave today to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council????

    We’ll see if you hear a conservative on that one…

    reff (59b2ad)

  20. exoneration by a senate “ethics” committe isnt that big a deal. the senate still allows ted kennedy to be seated while the house never did anything to barney frank. mccain was in the keating five up to his eyeballs. of the five he received the most in money and trips and etc. from keating.

    thats what makes the whole mccain-feingold thing so disgusting. its his way of trying to show what an “honorable” person he is. so he passes legislation that violates the 1st amendment and provides incumbent protection claiming it will take excessive money and lobbying and such out of politics. either he got rolled by the dems or he colluded w/ them. either way it was bad

    oh and the easiest way to quickly remove the lion’s share of lobbyist money and such from politics is to repeal the 17th amendment.

    chas (68d8c2)

  21. Foxfier…
    Remember, the amount of debt you can comfortably carry is relative to the total assets/income you have. That is why the comparison to the historic relationship of debt to GDP is important. If you want to see some truly scary numbers, look at the National Debt in 1945 vs the GDP (they called it GNP then, but the numbers are pretty much the same).

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  22. Another Drew- I’m a Scot far more than my blood allows; the amount of debt I’m comfortable with is…um… I owed 2k on my car at one point, and that was when I was grossing 2k a month….

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  23. Chas, you obviously know almost as little about the Keating 5 investigation / witch hunt as our friend Mr. Harr seems to know about life in general. If exoneration were the rubber stamp you claim it to be, why weren’t all 5 “exonerated” rather than only 2? Why did none of the Keating 3 even run for their offices again after the scandal (Cranston was too old anyway; DeConcini and Riegle were not)?

    Here’s a free clue: the Keating 3/5 investigation/witch hunt was not about who got the most gifts from Keating, though it bears noting that if the whinepost to which you link is accurate, that dubious distinction does not belong to McCain anyway (whinepost says he got $112k, while Glenn got $200k). And besides, given what we know in 2008, who in his right mind would quote as an authority a 1989 whinepost that contained this whopper:

    So you spend your days desperately trying to make sure you will be one of the survivors. You keep volunteering to go on radio and television stations to protest your innocence. Last week you made ABC’s Nightline. Not long before that you somehow managed to get James Kilpatrick, the national columnist, to write a favorable paragraph about you. Last Sunday morning, you made it to national television again; this time on ABC’s This Week With David Brinkley. You smiled at the panel with your usual studied insouciance. Sitting next to you was Senator John Glenn of Ohio.
    […]
    On Sunday, Senators Dennis DeConcini, Alan Cranston, and Riegle refused offers to appear on the Brinkley show. What must we make of that?

    Not sure what the whiner made of it in 1989, but with 20-20 hindsight it’s pretty clear: McCain and Glenn loudly proclaimed their innocence because they knew they were innocent, while DeConcini, Cranston and Riegle kept their mouths shut because they knew they were guilty. Robert Bennett concluded the same early on in the game, finding McCain to be very honest and forthright, and recommending he not be investigated further. To this day Bennett, himself a staunch Democrat, remains convinced that the only reason the Democrat Senate didn’t take his sage advice at the time was because they couldn’t stomach the idea of a Keating 3 (or 4) scandal that named only Democrats. If he’s right (and I see little reason to doubt that he is), McCain was by far the one they were least interested in exonerating. They’d have gladly censured him or worse, but for the inconvenient fact that they couldn’t find any evidence he had done anything wrong.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  24. “Hardly, given that this particular “one of the ‘Keating Five’” was exonerated of any wrongdoing in that investigation / witch hunt.”

    Interesting. So what was his relationship to the S&L bailout?

    stef (e1d099)

  25. Dunno, as Google searches for McCain + FIRREA aren’t seeming to turn up much of interest. If I had to guess, my guess would be that McCain, Glenn and the more appropriately named Keating 3 likely voted in favor of the measure, as did the majority of the “Non-Keating 95” who made up the rest of the U.S. Senate at the time.

    Perhaps a better question is, why do you care? The merits of FIRREA are debatable in their own right, but I have yet to hear anyone credibly argue that Charles Keating had a personal stake in it. Am I missing something?

    Xrlq (b71926)

  26. “Perhaps a better question is, why do you care?”

    Because to me the importance of the S&L’s isn’t mccains corruption or lack thereof, its his policy view on that bailout. Was he for it or not, and has he now flip-flopped? So how committed is he to this:

    “In a speech, McCain said he was “committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.””

    stef (688568)

  27. Fair enough, put first I’d like to put the “B-b-b-b-ut McCain was one of the Keating 5!!!!” canard to rest. Can we all agree that Harr and Chas are full of crap?

    Once we can so stipulate, we can then proceed to discuss (1) whether or not McCain flipped and/or flopped on the substantive issue of bailouts, and (2) whether any such flips and/or flops, if indeed they occurred, are justifiable. Personally, I find it a bit strained to argue that just because someone had a bad idea in 1989, they are obligated to remain wedded to that bad idea did death do them part. But that’s just me.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  28. stef…
    “…those who act irresponsibly…”
    I believe your answer is there.
    The RTC was not organized to bail-out the bad-guys in the S&L industry, it was there to protect the depositors.
    As someone who lost everything I had invested in a “good” S&L (which was forced to merge with another S&L, with a wipe-out of the old stock), I can tell you a lot of people got hurt who had nothing to do with the crap that the bad actors (like Vernon in TX) were doing.
    In the long run, the market will correct. The more government interferes, the longer the market will take to return to some normalcy. If we’re not careful, our compassion and concern will result in a financial sector that mirrors the health sector, and nobody will be able to afford anything.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  29. “Personally, I find it a bit strained to argue that just because someone had a bad idea in 1989, they are obligated to remain wedded to that bad idea did death do them part. But that’s just me.”

    I’m not convinced that bailouts are a bad idea. And people can certainly change their minds — thats the what people are trying to make happen when they argue over ideas. But there’s changing your mind and there’s saying you’re committed to a principle. I imagine Mccain is committed to having bear sterns to fall.

    stef (f84370)

  30. “The RTC was not organized to bail-out the bad-guys in the S&L industry, it was there to protect the depositors.”

    So… responsible buyers of bear sterns stock are bailed out?

    stef (cded7b)

  31. so you dont like the tone of the article and it becomes a whinefest? well johnny was at the meetings w/ regulators doing his best to help keating who his family was in bed w/ financially. and it not proof of any exoneration that mccain got re-elected and the others didnt. those that didnt it was because they didnt run, most had 20+ years already in the senate.

    this is an area where there is way too much gray, and when things get gray its usually because there is some dirt there. but keep defending this guy, i wont support him one bit. he does not deserve the nomination just because its his turn which is the only reason he is getting it.

    if elected just wait till he gets a SCOTUS nomination. everyone will be going “why couldnt he have nominated harriet meirs?”, yeah it will be that bad. and as for your repeated claim that the senate committe was some kind of real punishment go here. notice who is missing? the keating five! hmm, maybe the senate didnt take the committe’s recommendations? proving how toothless the congress’ ethics commmittes are.

    chas (68d8c2)

  32. Not just the tone. The tone is crap, sure, but the content is crap, too. Everything about it is crap, right down to the fact that the idiot reserved his worst venom for the two innocent guys who dared to protest their innocence, holding out as examples the three guilty guys who acted like guilty guys are supposed to act. The article is so craptastically stupid from top to bottom that that if I were on the fence as to whether McCain did or did not do anything wrong in the 1980s, the mere fact that one of his detractors had cited it as supposed evidence of his wrongdoing would ahve tipped me the other way.

    Will McCain make good Supreme Court appointments? I don’t know, but I do know that the answer has fuck-all to do with the fact that he was nifonged over the S&L debacle. I do know that he’s got a pretty good record on confirming good judges, his lowest point in that area being his participation in the Gang of 14. But given the choice between voting for the guy who voted to preserve the filibuster as a last resort to be used in “extraordinary” circumstances, and the guy who voted to exercise it on Sam Alito, the choice is pretty clear.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  33. Stef #31,

    You seem to equate stockholders with depositors. People who buy stock are not depositors, and being a stockholder means there is a risk the stock will go down. Stockholders win big if the stock goes up but they can lose some or all of their investment if the company goes under.

    In this case, Bear Stearns’ stock has taken a tumble but it was probably overvalued to begin with. It may be undervalued now – I don’t know – but that’s the nature of investing and markets.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  34. Bear Stearns also posed what many viewed as systemic risk to the financial markets, a domino that would result in a cascade of other dominos falling in rapid succession. The crisis in confidence in our financial markets created by such an events would be quite different than high mortgage default rates and was viewed as such by the Fed. The industry led bailout of Long Term Capital Management in 1998 was a similar situation.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  35. more Bear, if stef can understand…
    I, personally, don’t give a rat’s behind about Bears stockholders (1/3 of the stock was held by employees/insiders – some of whom were probably bad actors, and though they might not “deserve” the losses they’re now suffering, they can always look at them as an off-set to the enormous profits they were making).
    Now, some consideration might be given to holders of the securities marketed by Bear, but the value of those securities can only be settled once the underlying mortgages, and the value of the homes they secure, are regularized.
    The constriction in the finance markets is due to the uncertainty of the value of those securities, and their underlying mortgages/properties.
    If we let the market sort out the value of property, the securities will then have a visible value, and can be traded as any security is traded.
    Hint to government: Keep your ….ing hands off for once!
    If you look back to 1930, it was the action of government, and in particular, the passage of Smoot-Hawley (which precipitated a complete shutdown of world trade) that caused a market crash to become the Great Depression; a situation that did not resolve itself until 20+million people were dead (see: WW-2 casualty figures – I’m probably understating them)!

    Another Drew (8018ee)


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