Monday, October 13, 2008

Spreading The Virus

"FOR years, ACORN had combined manipulation of the CRA with intimidation-protest tactics to force banks to lower credit standards. Its crusade, with help from Democrats in Congress, to push these high-risk "subprime" loans on banks is at the root of today's economic meltdown.

When the role of ACORN and congressional Democrats in the mortgage crisis is pointed out, Democrats reply that banks subject to the CRA represent only about a quarter of the loans that led to our current troubles. In fact, the problem goes way beyond the CRA.

As ACORN ran its campaigns against local banks, it quickly hit a roadblock. Banks would tell ACORN they could afford to reduce their credit standards by only a little - since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal mortgage giants, refused to buy up those risky loans for sale on the "secondary market."

That is, the CRA wasn't enough. Unless Fannie and Freddie were willing to relax their credit standards as well, local banks would never make home loans to customers with bad credit histories or with too little money for a downpayment.

So ACORN's Democratic friends in Congress moved to force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to dispense with normal credit standards. Throughout the early '90s, they imposed ever-increasing subprime-lending quotas on Fannie and Freddie.

But then the Republicans won control of Congress - and Rep. Roukema scheduled her hearing. ACORN went into action to protect its golden goose.

IT struck as Roukema aired her concerns at that hearing. Pro testers, led by ACORN President Maud Hurd, stood up and began chanting, "CRA has got to stay!" and "Banks for greed, not for need!" The protesters then demanded the microphone.

With the hearing interrupted and the demonstrators refusing to leave, Roukema called the Capital Police, who arrested Hurd and four others for "disorderly conduct in a Capital building" - a charge carrying a penalty of a $500 fine, six months in prison or both. As the police arrived, two of the protesters menacingly approached Roukema's desk, still demanding the hearing microphone.

Requests to the Capital Police to release the activists from Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass,) failed. Then Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) showed up at the jail and refused to leave until the protesters were released; the Capital Police relented.

Meanwhile, instead of repudiating ACORN's intimidation tactics, Rep. Kennedy berated Roukema for arresting one of his constituents and accused the Republicans of preparing for "an all-out attack on CRA." He also promised to introduce legislation to expand the CRA's coverage to mortgage bankers and large credit unions.

THIS little slice of political life from 1995 had a variety of ripple effects. Above all, ACORN's intimidation tactics, and its alliance with Democrats in Congress, triumphed. Despite their 1994 takeover of Congress, Republicans' attempts to pare back the CRA were stymied.

Instead, Democrats like Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Reps. Kennedy and Waters allied with the Clinton administration to broaden the acceptability of risky subprime loans throughout the financial system, thus precipitating our current crisis.

ACORN had come to Congress not only to protect the CRA from GOP reforms but also to expand the reach of quota-based lending to Fannie, Freddie and beyond. By steamrolling the GOP that March, it had crushed the last potential barrier to "change."

Three months later, the Clinton administration announced a comprehensive strategy to push homeownership in America to new heights - regardless of the compromise in credit standards that the task would require. Fannie and Freddie were assigned massive subprime lending quotas, which would rise to about half of their total business by the end of the decade.

WHEN the ACORN-Democrat alliance finally succeeded in blocking Republicans from restoring fiscal sanity in 1995, the way was open to virtually unlimited lending quotas - and to a whole new way of thinking about credit standards.

Urged on by ACORN, congressional Democrats and the Clinton administration helped push tolerance for high-risk loans through every sector of the banking system - far beyond the sort of banks originally subject to the CRA.

So it was the efforts of ACORN and its Democratic allies that first spread the subprime virus from the CRA to Fannie and Freddie and thence to the entire financial system.

Soon, Democratic politicians and regulators actually began to take pride in lowered credit standards as a sign of "fairness" - and the contagion spread."

By now we're all getting more than a little tired of hearing how the liberals screwed us royally...yet again...but since the mainstream media defends them, or worse, flat out ignores what really happened, someone has to keep pounding home the truth. Before blogs and the like they'd have gotten away with it but at least now a few people know where our money went.

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