Mike the Mad Biologist

“Looking Back” Is Good Policy

Once again, Obama has decided to inflict post-partisan depression on us. Here’s our latest installment in “Looking Forward, Not Back” (italics mine):

“Where any homeowner has been defrauded or denied the basic protections or rights they have under law, we will take actions to make sure the banks make them whole, and their rights will be protected and defended,” Donovan said at a Washington press briefing. “First and foremost, we are committed to accountability, so that everyone in the mortgage process — banks, mortgage servicers and other institutions — is following the law. If they have not followed the law, it’s our responsibility to make sure they’re held accountable.”

He added, however, that the administration is focused on ensuring future compliance, rather than on looking back to make sure homeowners and investors weren’t harmed during the reckless boom years. The administration is “committed to forcing institutions to change the way that they conduct business,” Obama’s top housing official said, “to make sure these problems don’t happen again.”

There are several problems with this.

First, they broke they law, and profited by doing so. Those who didn’t commit legal fraud behaved unethically. Yet nothing will happen to them. To call this corrosive is an understatement.

Second, based on their track record, why would anyone think that they wouldn’t screw people over again if given a chance. We need banks. We need bankers. We do not need these banks or these bankers.

Third, in the midst of demanding that middle class homeowners play by the rules, it’s obscene to then not demand the same of those who have profited by not playing by the rules.

Fourth, I’ve never understood this false tradeoff between making good policy and justice–it seems to be the cornerstone of Obama’s worldview. If nothing else, lowering the boom of the banking industry would cow them long enough to pass good legislation. Besides, the federal government is large: prosecute those who deserve it, and make deals with those left standing.

Finally, the Mandarin class, of which Obama is a card-carrying member, fails to understand that when you’ve been jobbed but good, the appropriate emotion is anger. And it’s normal to want to be able to pick up the paper and, on occasion, read about how bad behavior is not rewarded, but punished. That’s not enraged or out of control, that’s human. A sane person should be pissed off right now. A perpetual state of anger, even when appropriate, makes even the best of us brutish, mean, and nasty. That’s not going to help the needy among us–and thanks to an employment deficit of around ten percent–there are a lot of needy people.

So, Mr. President, now is the time to “look back” and to demand justice for those who deserve it. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the right thing politically.

Comments

  1. #1 Dunc
    October 22, 2010

    Finally, the Mandarin class, of which Obama is a card-carrying member, fails to understand that when you’ve been jobbed but good, the appropriate emotion is anger.

    It very hard to tell the difference between “fails to understand” and “couldn’t give a shit” in this case. Whaddayagonado – vote Republican? Either way, you’re fucked while they make out like bandits.

    Obama knows which side he’s on, and believe me, it’s not ours.

  2. #2 Art
    October 22, 2010

    My take stand on this is that every step the bank takes should require they prove ownership. If they cannot prove ownership all payments should be returned and the house cannot be foreclosed on. If the present occupants stay there for a set time, determined by law, they may advance a claim of “adverse ownership”, squatter’s rights. A case which would be, because nobody owns the property, uncontested. The occupants would own the property outright.

    Alternatively, if the house is, or becomes unoccupied, the state or local authority could lay claim by imminent domain, again uncontested, and establish ownership outright. The laws concerning lost property may apply. This retitled property could then be redeveloped, sold, or disposed of in any way the local, title holding, authority may wish.

    These properties, as long as there is not a valid chain of custody and ownership are completely up for grabs. If a rich man tosses hundred dollar bills onto the street and fails to make efforts to recover it he has no right to claim ownership at some later date.

    The up side is a good part of a million families, and/or some numbers of municipalities, would receive a home free and clear. A very much needed transfer of wealth from the financial incompetents to the poor and middle class.

    And what happens to the investment vehicles that use the property as collateral? They can either be dissolved as worthless. Or negotiated between concerned parties. the up side is that stung by losses the next time they arrange mortgages they keep track of the paperwork.