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TomCADem

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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
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WaPo - Federal government has dramatically expanded exposure to risky mortgages

Here is just another example of how the Trump administration has been trying to artificially goose the economy by returning to the liar loan days of the Bush administration.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/federal-government-has-dramatically-expanded-exposure-to-risky-mortgages/ar-AAIcp3f

The federal government has dramatically expanded its exposure to risky mortgages, as federal officials over the past four years took steps that cleared the way for companies to issue loans that many borrowers might not be able to repay.

Now, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration guarantee almost $7 trillion in mortgage-related debt, 33 percent more than before the housing crisis, according to company and government data. Because these entities are run or backstopped by the U.S. government, a large increase in loan defaults could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

* * *

In 2019, there is more government-backed housing debt than at any other point in U.S. history, according to data from the Urban Institute. Taxpayers are shouldering much of the risk, while a growing number of homeowners face debt payments that amount to nearly half of their monthly income, a threshold many experts consider too steep.

Roughly 30 percent of the loans Fannie Mae guaranteed last year exceeded this level, up from 14 percent in 2016, according to Urban Institute data. At the FHA, 57 percent of the loans it insured breached the high-risk echelon, jumping from 38 percent two years earlier.

Nixon Was The First President Known To Pressure BLS to Manipulate Econ Data. What About Trump?

As Trump celebrates BLS labor data suggesting that unemployment is down even as the economy slows and record numbers of people are homeless, this reminds me of relatively small Trump scandal early in the Trump presidency when he appointedFred Malek. Who is Fred Malek?

Well, Fred Malek was infamous because he counted the Jews in the Bureau of Labor Statistics so President Nixon could demote them because Nixon believed that they were cooking the BLS's economic stats to make him look bad. So, Nixon asked Fred Malek, a future Trump appointee, to identify and demote Jews and Democrats in the Bureau of Labor Statistics in an effort to pressure the BLS to publish more favorable economic data?

Could it happen again? Or, do we think that Trump has more scruples and is less racist than Nixon?

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2007/09/nixon-s-jew-count-the-whole-story.html

Our story begins on the afternoon of July 2, 1971. President Richard Nixon is angered to read in the Washington Star that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has downplayed a drop in the unemployment rate from 6.2 percent to 5.6 percent, attributing it to a statistical quirk. (For details about the BLS interpretation, which was routine and unexceptional, see Hughes’ “Nixon vs. the Imaginary Jewish Cabal,” posted Sept. 24 on the Web site History News Network.) We join Nixon as he is talking to White House aide Charles Colson. (This is from a newly released Miller Center transcription.)

Colson: We’ve got the headline of the Star tonight, looking—Nixon: Yeah, well, they’d have to, wouldn’t they? Colson: They did. They threw in their line that maybe it’s a statistical fluke, which some damn fool at the Labor Department said, but … if I can find out who it is, he’ll be the first one of the casualties of the Lord High Executioner. (He chuckles.)Nixon:Well, did—somebody at the Labor Department said it was a statistical fluke? Colson: Yes, sir. We’ll— [Four-second “privacy” excision]Nixon: Yeah. Colson: It’s typical of what these bastards in the bureaucracy— Nixon: I want—I want—I want—really now, we told everybody that’s supposed to be here. Now, I’d find out, and then he’s got to be fired. Colson: That’s right. You— Nixon: If he said it. I gave the orders. It was clear. Didn’t I? Colson: Oh, absolutely.


“He” turned out to be Harold Goldstein, assistant commissioner of labor statistics. According to Hughes, Nixon had been wanting to fire Goldstein since the previous January, when Goldstein had publicly (and correctly) termed an unemployment drop of two-tenths of 1 percent “marginally significant.” On July 3, Colson advised Nixon (according to a tape available to Hughes but not yet transcribed) that he demand a reorganization of the BLS. “In the process of reorganizing it,” Colson said, “I think we’ll get this guy’s resignation.” Nixon agreed and called in White House budget director George Shultz and Labor Secretary James Hodgson. “Well,” said Shultz, “I think the only kind of organization that would be sensible under these circumstances is a reorganization that separates Goldstein from the employment, uh, employment figures, and gets him into something else entirely.

* * *

Six weeks pass, and it is Sept. 8, 1971. Malek reports in a memo (previously unpublished; thanks, again, to Kenneth J. Hughes) that he has had “several meetings” with Labor Secretary Hodgson “to convince him of the need for fairly drastic moves.” Six out of nine offices will be combined into an Office of Data Analysis. This will be headed by a “politically sensitive, loyal Republican economist,” presumably one who does not have a mezuzah nailed to his front door. The move will strip the BLS’ deputy commissioner, the unfortunately surnamed Ben Burdetsky, from authority “over the most critical areas.”

In addition, “Harold Goldstein will be moved to a routine, non-sensitive post in another part of BLS. He has been told of this and will move quietly when the reorganization is announced.” Goldstein, too, will be replaced by a “sensitive and loyal Republican,” one who we may assume eats shellfish with a clear conscience. (Goldstein lost some key duties, had a new supervisor placed above him, and decided less than a year later to retire at 57.)
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