Remember CANDIDATE Barack Obama? The guy who “wasn’t going to take away our guns”?
Well, guess what? Less than 100 days into his administration, he’s never met a gun he didn’t hate. A week ago, Obama went to Mexico, whined about the United States, and bemoaned (before the whole world) the fact that he didn’t have the political power to take away our semi-automatics. Nevertheless, that didn’t keep him from pushing additional restrictions on American gun owners. It’s called the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials. To be sure, this imponderable title masks a really nasty piece of work.
First of all, when the treaty purports to ban the “illicit” manufacture of firearms, what does that mean?
1. “Illicit manufacturing” of firearms is defined as “assembly of firearms [or] ammunition… without a license….” Hence, reloading ammunition — or putting together a lawful firearm from a kit — is clearly “illicit manufacturing.” Modifying a firearm in any way would surely be “illicit manufacturing.” And, while it would be a stretch, assembling a firearm after cleaning it could, in any plain reading of the words, come within the screwy definition of “illicit manufacturing.”
2. “Firearm” has a similarly questionable definition. “[A]ny other weapon” is a “firearm,” according to the treaty — and the term “weapon” is nowhere defined. So, is a BB gun a “firearm”? Probably. A toy gun? Possibly. A pistol grip or firing pin? Probably. And who knows what else. If these provisions (and others) become the law of the land, the Obama administration could have a heyday in enforcing them. Consider some of the other provisions in the treaty:
* Banning Reloading. In Article IV of the treaty, countries commit to adopting “necessary legislative or other measures” to criminalize illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms.
Remember that “illicit manufacturing” includes reloading and modifying or assembling a firearm in any way. This would mean that the Obama administration could promulgate regulations banning reloading on the basis of this treaty — just as it is currently circumventing Congress to write legislation taxing greenhouse gases.
* Banning Gun Clubs. Article IV goes on to state that the criminalized acts should include “association or conspiracy” in connection with said offenses — which is arguably a term broad enough to allow, by
regulation, the criminalization of entire pro-gun organizations or gun clubs, based on the facilities which they provide their membership.
* Extraditing US Gun Dealers. Article V requires each party to “adopt such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offenses it has established in accordance with this Convention” under a variety of circumstances.
We know that Mexico is blaming U.S. gun dealers for the fact that its streets are flowing with blood. And we know it is possible for Mexico to define offenses “committed in its territory” in a very broad way.
And we know that we have an extradition obligation under Article XIX of the proposed treaty. So we know that Mexico could try to use the treaty to demand to extradition of American gun dealers.
Under Article XXIX, if Mexico demands the extradition of a lawful American gun dealer, the U.S. would be required to resolve the dispute through “other means of peaceful settlement.”
Does anyone want to risk twenty years in a sweltering Mexican jail on the proposition that the Obama administration would apply this provision in a pro-gun manner?
* Microstamping. Article VI requires “appropriate markings” on firearms. And, it is not inconceivable that this provision could be used to require microstamping of firearms and/or ammunition — a requirement which is clearly intended to impose specifications which are not technologically possible or which are possible only at a prohibitively expensive cost.
* Gun Registration. Article XI requires the maintenance of any records, for a “reasonable time,” that the government determines to be necessary to trace firearms. This provision would almost certainly repeal
portions of McClure-Volkmer and could arguably be used to require a national registry or database.
ACTION: Write your Senators and urge them to oppose the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials.
Please use the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send your Senators the pre-written e-mail message below.
—– Pre-written letter —–
I am urging you, in the strongest terms, to oppose the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials.
This anti-gun treaty was written by international bureaucrats who are either stupid or virulently anti-gun — or both.
This treaty could very well ban the ability to reload ammunition, to put new stocks on rifles lawfully owned by American citizens, and, possibly, even ban BB guns!
There are too many problems with this treaty to mention them all in this letter. The rest can be read on the website of Gun Owners of America at: http://www.gunowners.org/fs0901.htm
Please do not tell me the treaty has not yet been abused in this way by the bevy of Third World countries which have signed it. We do not expect the real ramifications of the treaty to become clear until the
big prize — the U.S. — has stepped into the trap.
For all of these reasons, I must insist that you oppose ratification of the treaty.
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Obviously, we now face years of invigorated attacks on our gun rights. Shutting down gun shows, prohibitions on specific calibers, another semi-auto ban, and the anti-gun extremists’ Holy Grail of mandatory federal licensing and registration of all gun owners — these are just some of the horrors that we already know we’ll have to defeat head-on. Not to mention this treaty nonsense. Meanwhile, we’ll take every opportunity to go on offense and advance the Second Amendment.
It can’t be done without every single voice being counted. That’s why we are asking you to consider making the commitment of becoming a Gun Owners of America Life Member. By doing so, you put the politicians on notice that neither you nor GOA is going away — that no matter who’s in the White House, there is always going to be a solid wall of resistance.
Now is a perfect time to become a Life Member. And if you aren’t a GOA member at all, isn’t it time you became one?
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- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “The American people deserve a government that is a fierce watchdog of their hard-earned tax dollars. Congress and the new Administration will ensure that TARP funds are used for lending to American workers and small businesses – so we can lift our economy out of recession – and not for the enrichment of a privileged few.” (Press Release, 1/21/2009)
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “If the actions of the President-elect on TARP are any indication, a new day is dawning in Washington, DC, and a good day, a bright day…Barack Obama has also said there will be transparency, there will be oversight, and Barack Obama has said the disbursal of TARP funds will require his signoff; not a Secretary, not somebody in some clerk’s office, not a group of people, but every penny will require Barack Obama’s personal signoff.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD): “It should strengthen our confidence to know that President Obama has learned from the mistakes that were made during the Bush administration in administering this sum of money. That is not a criticism. Mistakes are made. But we can learn from those mistakes, and we will learn from those mistakes.” (Congressional Record, 1/22/2009)
- Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL): “I am going to be voting with the faith that this new administration, with new leadership and new eyes and new vision and new values, will invest this money properly so that we can turn this economy around and build a strong American future.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA): “We saw bankers saying, ‘I got the money. It’s none of your business what we do with it.’ We saw bonuses given that shouldn’t be given. I am confident that the Obama administration has learned from that.” (Congressional Record, 1/22/2009)
- Senator Jim Webb (D-VA): “The situation now, in my view, is different. I spoke with the President-elect. He indicated he was totally comfortable with my coming to the Senate floor and saying that he personally guarantees closure on all of those issues…that there will be limits on executive compensation; and that there clearly are going to be strong proposals, to re-regulate the financial markets.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) (Again): “We believe the Obama administration will abide by its commitment to follow this bill if it’s passed. I understand the skepticism on the Republican side because we’re telling them that we have a commitment which we accept as valid from a new administration that they will abide by the bill as it passes the House.” (Congressional Record, 1/14/2009)
- Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT): “That is what this President has asked for–both the outgoing and incoming one–to give this incoming President the tools necessary to move forward. Now, I know, as well, there is going to be far better accountability, far more transparency.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX): “And by the way, my friends, in this language it says so more of these big bonuses and compensation and grandstanding resort packages, no more of that.” (Congressional Record, 1/22/2009)
- Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA): “So I say to my constituents I will vote for this, and I will do it because of the assurances I have gotten from the President-elect himself that it will be different, that he will use these funds judiciously, that he needs to make sure he has this tool in his pocket. I hope my constituents understand that after hearing that from this President… I feel he deserves my trust at this time.” (1/15/2009)
- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA): “I felt a little bit, after the last one, like Charlie Brown and Lucy–she is always pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown. I said: That is not going to happen to me again. Well, Lucy is not holding the ball now. We have someone new holding that ball, someone by the name of Barack Obama and Joe Biden and their team.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): “Today, I met with Timothy Geithner, the President-elect’s nominee to head the Treasury Department. He gave me his assurances that transparency and accountability will be improved…With those assurances, I believe the American people are finally going to get the investment and the honesty they deserve.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL): “Today, the President will limit executive compensation for executives of companies that take advantage of taxpayer bailout funds. This is the right thing to do.” (Congressional Record, 2/4/2009)
- Congressman James McGovern (D-MA): “The Congress will not be a rubber stamp of the executive branch, unlike the first 6 years of the Bush administration…And I should say that the statement by the Obama administration, the statement by Larry Summers, is all very encouraging. It demonstrates a real appreciation of what average people are going through.” (Congressional Record, 1/14/2009)
- Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): “…we have tried to redirect, to prod and push and probe to make sure that there is greater transparency and coax greater performance out of the Bush administration while dealing with the criteria by which we will be going forward. This is the work that the Congress should be doing, and I think we are doing it in a reasonable fashion. It’s coming in the context of other tools that the new administration has sought and desperately needs.” (Congressional Record, 1/22/2009)
- Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD): “We need to give President Obama the tools he needs to get our economy going again. We shouldn’t hold the misdeeds of the Bush administration against him…This week, the President-elect huddled with us, to talk about how his plan is different than the previous administration. We need vigilance and responsibility that’s what President Obama has pledged.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
Chris Dodd – who was the largest recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election from AIG, now trying to undo the bonus protections HE put into the simulus bill!
More irony from the crooked democrats. Chris Dodd was the largest recipient of campaign donations during the 08 election. Can you guess who was #2? None other than Barack HUSSEIN Obama! John McCain who is more of a democrat than anything came in #3, and Billiary is #4 on the list.
Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Monday night floated the idea of taxing American International Group (AIG: 0.9199, 0.1398, 17.92%) bonus recipients so the government could recoup some or all of the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit. Within hours, the idea spread to both houses of Congress, with lawmakers proposing an AIG bonus tax.
The move represents somewhat of an about-face for the Senator.
While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009” — which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are now seeking to tax.
The amendment made it into the final version of the bill, and is law.
Separately, Sen. Dodd was AIG’s largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election cycle with $103,100, according to opensecrets.org.
Dodd’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
One of AIG Financial Products’ largest offices is based in Connecticut.
Dodd Amendment Rules
* Crack down on bonuses, retention awards and incentive compensation: Bonuses can only be paid in the form of long-term restricted stock, equal to no greater than 1/3 of total annual compensation, and will vest only when taxpayer funds are repaid. There is an exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009.
* For institutions that received assistance totaling less than $25 million, the bonus restriction applies to the highest compensated employee; $25 million to $250 million, applies to the top five employees; $250 million to $500 million, applies to the senior executive officers and the next top 10 employees; and more than $500 million applies to the senior executive officers and the next top 20 employees (or such higher number as the Secretary determines is in the public interest).
Chris Dodd: For AIG bonuses before he was against them
Kabuki Theater of Outrage, Act III. Unscrupulous borrower Sen. Chris Dodd struts on stage. Fox Business reporter Rich Edson turns on the spotlight:
Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Monday night floated the idea of taxing American International Group (AIG: 0.9768, 0.1967, 25.21%) bonus recipients so the government could recoup the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit. Within hours, the idea spread to both houses of Congress, with lawmakers proposing an AIG bonus tax.
While the Senate constructed the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd unexpectedly added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009,” which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are seeking to tax. The amendment is in the final version and is law.
Also, Sen. Dodd was AIG’s largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election cycle with $103,100, according to opensecrets.org.
Need to make my airsickness bag triple-strength this morning.
Update: David Freddoso has more…
Here is the loophole, from the section of the stimulus package that deals with compensation rules for TARP recipients:
The prohibition required under clause (i) shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009, as such valid employment contracts are determined by the Secretary or the designee of the Secretary.
Frankly, it’s hard to imagine how the government could prevent such contracts from being honored. But the presence of this loophole, in black and white, certainly gives the lie to all of this phony outrage — by the senator who created the loophole, by the president who signed it into law, and by everyone else who voted for the stimulus package.
By Jack Coleman (Bio | Archive)December 15, 2008 – 15:13 ET
Must have been that full moon. Or “fool full moon” as Rachel Maddow stumbled in referring to it.
If the Newseum is accepting suggestions for exhibits, a possibility comes to mind — the Pantheon of Unfortunate Punditry. First submission — Maddow’s hilarious revisionism of Herbert Hoover on her MSNBC show Friday. I’ve watched the segment several times, each time in awe at Maddow’s supreme confidence, unrivalled since Ted Baxter in his heyday. I plan to preserve it for posterity, to share with my children as a cautionary tale — This is what happens when a person makes an utter fool of herself in public.
Maddow told of Vice President Dick Cheney visiting Capitol Hill earlier in the week and warning congressional Republicans that if the GOP blocks the auto bailout, “… We will be known as the party of Herbert Hoover forever,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Here’s where Maddow kicked into gear, emboldened by the keen awareness that nearly all her viewers and hardly anyone at MSNBC know enough history to refute her assertions —
That’s a bad thing! Hoover is a political epithet in bad economic times because his response to the Depression (pause) was to first do nothing and then do stuff that made it worse. The country needed massive federal spending to stimulate demand and keep people working.
Hoover cut spending.The government had an economic responsibility to borrow some money and get credit moving. Hoover picked that awesome time to balance the budget. Everything was going the wrong direction economically, so the government needed to make some big, bold moves in the opposite direction.
Hoover picked that time to proclaim his own impotence, telling Congress in 1930, ‘Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncement.’ (Maddow holds photo of Hoover to her face and mimics him) I’m Herbert Hoover, I can’t do anything helpful. How about I hurt the economy some more instead because of my dumb, moralistic, ideologically-driven, ignorant, short-term, self-serving, bad ideas? I’ll take this Depression and make it not just good, but great! That’s the ticket — the Great Depression!
What made Maddow’s puppetry all the more insipid is that she’s been on a tear of late condemning — you guessed it — revisionist history, specifically where she sees it emanating from the Bush administration on Iraq. Maddow has apparently decided to fight firefighters with fire, responding to her fantasies of revisionism where none exist and providing examples of the real thing.
For example, her claim that Hoover “cut” spending. By this, Maddow must mean Hoover did not increase federal spending at a rate preferred by liberals, who have resorted to this rhetorical sleight of hand for decades.
But as conservatives and Republicans are well aware, Hoover did the opposite — he increased spending, and not by a little.
In his book “The Herbert Hoover Story,” written by Reader’s Digest senior editor Eugene Lyons and published in 1959, Lyons wrote this about Hoover’s alleged tightwad tendencies —
He sought to provide jobs through public works; more was spent for this purpose in his administration than in the preceding thirty-six years, including the building of the Panama Canal. (emphasis in the original)
Surely Maddow has heard of at least one of these projects, which bears the name of the man instrumental in initiating it — the Hoover Dam — the largest public-works behemoth of the era. Other public projects begun by Hoover include the San Francisco Bay Bridge and the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
How’s this for irony? Hoover’s response to the stock market crash in 1929 was to call for massive federal spending on public works, which is exactly what Maddow wants Obama to do (though Maddow prefers to fetishize it as “infrastructure,” a word she can’t utter without squirming in her seat).
In an Oct. 5 article for National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg wrote —
William Leuchtenburg, possibly the greatest authority on the FDR era, wrote some years ago, “Almost every historian now recognizes that the image of Hoover as a ‘do-nothing’ president is inaccurate.”
After the stock market crash in 1929, Hoover browbeat business leaders to keep wages and prices high. He invested heavily in public works projects. He pushed for an international moratorium on debts. He created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which later became a home for many of FDR’s Brain Trusters. Hoover increased farm subsidies enormously.
Some of Hoover’s interventions were good but ineffectual. A few were very, very bad and very effective.
In 1932, Hoover in effect repealed Calvin Coolidge’s tax cuts, increasing the rates for the poorest taxpayers by more than 100 percent and hiking the top rate from 25 percent to 63 percent. Worse, contrary to his own better instincts, Hoover signed the disastrous Smoot-Hawley trade bill that raised protectionist walls at precisely the moment the world needed trade the most.
That Maddow knows little of Hoover is not surprising, despite the fact she earned a doctorate — in political science at that — from Oxford. For many liberals, American history starts on March 4, 1933 with Roosevelt’s inauguration and FDR uttering the words, “We have nothing to fear …”
But you’d think their knowledge of history would extend a tad earlier, to include the 1932 campaign and Roosevelt’s criticism of Hoover — as a spendthrift hellbent on enlarging the breadth and cost of goverment. Doing so, however, could prove problematic for liberals’ foremost creation myth — that Hoover caused the Great Depression, “Did Nothing” in response, and Roosevelt rode to the rescue. As mythology goes, this one is Homeric in its longevity and as accurate in its depiction of actual events.
Here’s what Roosevelt said in accepting the Democratic presidential nomination —
I know something of taxes. For three long years I have been going up and down this country preaching that government — federal and local and state — costs too much. As an immediate program of action we must abolish useless offices. We must eliminate unnecessary functions of government — functions, in fact, that are not definitely essential to the continuance of government. We must merge, we must consolidate subdivisions of government, and, like the private citizen, give up luxuries which we can no longer afford.
Roosevelt’s concern was understandable, given the nation’s economic crisis and federal spending under Hoover. As pointed out by former Business Week bureau chief Andrew W. Wilson in a Nov. 4 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “Five Myths About the Great Depression” —
After declining or holding steady through most of the 1920, federal spending soared between 1929 and 1932 — increasing by more than 50 percent, the biggest increase in federal spending ever recorded during peacetime.
I mentioned Maddow’s commentary to a friend over the weekend, who told me he’d also seen it. That’s the perception of Hoover, he sighed, and my friend was right. Just as it was global “perception” for millennia that the world was flat. Agreed, perception often trumps reality in politics, but perception cannot trump truth. This remains as true today it was in 1774 when a Boston lawyer named John Adams pointed out the stubborn nature of facts while defending British soldiers from an earlier pernicious perception.
Updated by N. Sheppard at 2:50 PM: To confirm what Andrew W. Wilson wrote on November 4, and to demonstrate just how wrong Maddow is about spending under Hoover, all one need do is examine the Historical Tables of the U.S. Budget available at OMB.
What most folks — especially liberals! — don’t understand today is that prior to the Great Depression, the U.S. government didn’t like to spend a lot of money except in times of war. As such, spending declined precipitously in the years following World War I, and then basically remained flat from 1924 through 1928.
Then, contrary to Maddow’s assertion, in 1929 spending rose $166 million, or 5.6 percent. This may not seem much, but it was the biggest increase in spending since the end of World War I.
The following year, spending increased $193 million, or 6 percent. In 1931, it increased $257 million, or 7.7 percent. In 1932, it increased $1.08 billion, or 30 percent.
Add it all up, and annual spending increased by almost $1.7 billion dollars or 57 percent while Hoover was President.
Is this what Maddow believes to be a spending cut?
Rachel Maddow Still Can’t Get it Right About Hoover
How can you tell when MSNBC cable-show host Rachel Maddow utters falsehoods about Herbert Hoover? If she talks about him.This is becoming enough of a pattern for Maddow, as I’ve described previously at NewsBusters, to border on the pathological.Here she goes again, this time during her show Friday night while condemning Republicans calling for a “freeze” on federal spending for the rest of the fiscal year —
You know who else had the excellent idea to freeze government spending during a recession? This guy! (holds up photo of Hoover) H.H., President Herbert Hoover. His fundamental misunderstanding of how to shore up a failing economy was so celebrated that the great armies of homeless and jobless Americans gave him naming rights for the shanty towns where they all lived in cardboard boxes and burned-out cars during the Great Depression — Hoovervilles. Hoovervilles. And now, (House Minority Leader) John Boehner and congressional Republicans are advocating the same policy.
Enboldened by smarm, Maddow went on to say —
In this context (referring to the recession), the Republicans are proposing a spending freeze. They’re saying the government should stop spending. And also, rather than put your house fire out with water, they’re going to switch the liquid in the firehose over to gasoline.
Much like that alleged tightwad Hoover during the Depression. Maddow at the same fire resolutely douses the blaze with water, regardless of whether it was electrical in origin.
Certain left-wing myths are so impervious to reality — McCarthy chasing phantom communists, Reagan as amiable dunce, the doomed surge in Iraq — that arguing with liberals about these sacrosanct beliefs is like trying to convert house plants. The best you can do is open them to sunlight.
When it comes to federal spending during Hoover’s single term in office, 1929 to 1933, what actually happened? According to the Office of Budget and Management Web site, Table 1.1, just the opposite of what Maddow repeatedly claims.
Federal spending increased $166 million in 1929, or 5 percent. In 1930, it rose by $193 million over the preceding year, at 6 percent. The pattern continued in 1931, with an increase of $257 million, nearly 8 percent. And for 1932, it rose a whopping 30 percent, by $1.08 billion. All told, federal spending increased 57 percent in this four-year period, according to the OMB.
It was a “freeze” on spending much the way bitter cold is evidence of global warming, another laughable claim from the left. Not surprisingly, Maddow relies on anecdote to make her shabby claim — shanty towns dubbed “Hoovervilles” during the Depression — instead of the “empirical evidence” she touted but never produced, given its pie-in-face potential for besmirking her dogma.
Maddow also gets it wrong about what current-day Republicans in Congress are proposing — they want to “freeze” spending, which beyond MSNBC is universally understood to mean maintaining spending at current levels. This is hardly suggesting we “stop” spending. An actual example of a politician determined to follow Hoover’s lead by vastly increasing federal spending in an economic slump? Barack Obama.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
From television specials to newspaper editorials, the media are pushing the idea that current economic problems were caused by the market and that only the government can rescue us.
What was lacking in the housing market, they say, was government regulation of the market’s “greed.” That makes great moral melodrama, but it turns the facts upside down.
It was precisely government intervention which turned a thriving industry into a basket case.
An economist specializing in financial markets gave a glimpse of the history of housing markets when he said: “Lending money to American homebuyers had been one of the least risky and most profitable businesses a bank could engage in for nearly a century.”
That was what the market was like before the government intervened. Like many government interventions, it began small and later grew.
The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 directed federal regulatory agencies to “encourage” banks and other lending institutions “to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered consistent with the safe and sound operation of such institutions.”
That sounds pretty innocent and, in fact, it had little effect for more than a decade. However, its premise was that bureaucrats and politicians know where loans should go, better than people who are in the business of making loans.
The real potential of that premise became apparent in the 1990s, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) imposed a requirement that mortgage lenders demonstrate with hard data that they were meeting their responsibilities under the Community Reinvestment Act.
What HUD wanted were numbers showing that mortgage loans were being made to low-income and moderate-income people on a scale that HUD expected, even if this required “innovative or flexible” mortgage eligibility standards.
In other words, quotas were imposed– and if some people didn’t meet the standards, then the standards need to be changed.
Both HUD and the Department of Justice began bringing lawsuits against mortgage bakers when a higher percentage of minority applicants than white applicants were turned down for mortgage loans.
A substantial majority of both black and white mortgage loan applicants had their loans approved but a statistical difference was enough to get a bank sued.
It should also be noted that the same statistical sources from which data on blacks and whites were obtained usually contained data on Asian Americans as well. But those data on Asian Americans were almost never mentioned.
Whites were turned down for mortgage loans more often than Asian Americans. But saying that would undermine the reasoning on which the whole moral melodrama and political crusades were based.
Lawsuits were only part of the pressures put on lenders by government officials. Banks and other lenders are overseen by regulatory agencies and must go to those agencies for approval of many business decisions that other businesses make without needing anyone else’s approval.
Government regulators refused to approve such decisions when a lender was under investigation for not producing satisfactory statistics on loans to low-income people or minorities.
Under growing pressures from both the Clinton administration and later the George W. Bush administration, banks began to lower their lending standards.
Mortgage loans with no down payment, no income verification and other “creative” financial arrangements abounded. Although this was done under pressures begun in the name of the poor and minorities, people who were neither could also get these mortgage loans.
With mortgage loans widely available to people with questionable prospects of being able to keep up the payments, it was an open invitation to financial disaster.
Those who warned of the dangers had their warnings dismissed. Now, apparently, we need more politicians intervening in more industries, if you believe the politicians and the media.