Barney Frank for interim senator?



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Hell yeah.

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We miss you, Barney.

Frank would be a good choice for interim Senator

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  • He knows the budget,
  • He has been part of the budget debate,
  • He is a good communicator,
  • He knows his way around the Capitol,
  • He has spending priority values that compare favorable to mine


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Not after the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae debacle that helped cause the housing crash.

Not so fast there

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First, this entire story is so complicated and so large there is plenty of blame to go around (and surprisingly, the person who gets the least blame in some of the most authoritative books - Too Big to Fail and and All the Devils Are Here - is George W. who barely earns a mention).

Ignoring the role of Fannie and Freddie in this is like saying drug runners and distributors are not largely responsible for our drug problem. They enabled the entire house of cards this was built on and just like the banks, overleveraged themselves to the point they almost took the government down with them (and who knows if they still might - there's been a lot of financial "engineering" behind the scenes).

As the article points out - the banks issued the loans and through a combination of some fraud and mostly poor underwriting standards in the pursuit of profits, and they are to blame for their role in that. They were enabled by Fannie and Freddie who bought many of these loans as well as the commercial and investment banks who sliced and diced them on the other end and then sold off the pieces. If you read the literature, Fannie and Freddie got away with plenty in large part because they had very powerful friends in Congress, including Barney Frank. You can argue forever over his level of blame, but you can't argue that he played some level of a material role in the disaster that ensued (again, on at least one and I believe more than one occasion George W. tried to reign in F&F but he and his appointees gave up because Congress wouldn't play ball - Republicans up to 2006 and Dems thereafter)

One final note that I found interesting in my reading on the topic. This crisis came to a head so relatively fast that the entire crisis was probably impossible to avert because almost nobody saw it coming (and those that predicted a disaster at best only got the causes partly right). If certain things had been stopped as late as 2005, we may have had a headache or slight hangover, but not a disease that almost killed us and still might. The rapid growth of subprime loans at the end of the real estate bubble and the magnified harm of synthetic derivatives that exploded from 2006 to 2007 was what pushed us over the edge. Not only the CEO's of the companies, but most of the people dealing with this toxic waste on a daily basis, had no idea until the very end that this stuff could blow up as fast and as violently as it did.

Fannie & Freddie

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I just finished Sheila Bair's book "Bull by the Horns" and her take was that the crisis was due to the greed and reckless lending of lenders and lack of regulation. F&F did play a role in the crisis, and continue to cost taxpayers money. She is not too keen on "Too Big to Fail," given she was not, and should have been, interviewed, given she was the head of the FDIC.

Money supply

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Capital is like water - it just keeps flowing. Some of our bubble overflowed elsewhere - and it wasn't just Fannie and Freddie or our banks. It's been a 2-3 decade overload on debt. Noticed the news on Greece, Spain, Portugal, Irelend Italy and Great Britain.

Every country was gorging on debt - some that shouldn't have been extended. That goes in spades for Fannie and Freddie who could issue bonds until the cows came home because of their "implicit" guarantee from the US govt - which we eventually had to make good on.

Again - I don't blame Fanny and Freddie - everyone is looking for a scapegoat - but if you read the literature it's pretty clear this was a massive failure on the part of literally almost everyone in the process - consumers, banks, rating agencies, governement agencies, regulators, Congress and more. And it wasn't exclusive to the US - foreign countries had their own ways of screwing themselves - mostly the governments overborrowed and undertaxed feeding that excess cash into the economy - with so few good places for cash to go (large enough to hold it) a lot of it ended up in real estate - EVERYWHERE.

Silly neocon canard

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Freddie and Fannie were last to shoulder in at that pig trough - long after the commercial firms had made sure the damage was done. Although there was a huge amount of debate back in 2008-9 about the primacy of F&F's role, there are darn few legitimate researchers who still claim this.

Oh Gawd

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no...these politicians won't give it up. The man has been 'retired' for how long? I guess I don't blame them considering all the perks and opportunity for [fill in the blank]

And yes, Mr. Franks had his hand in the S&L debacle AND the 2008 crash. It wasn't solely the responsibility of one individual political party over another.

Separation Anxiety - Please make up your mind, Congressman.

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I'm sorry, but Barney Frank just did an interview in which his main talking points were how tired he was, constant travel had really gotten to him and, now that he is married, he wanted to spend more time at home.

After watching the interview, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for a last term
in which he was alternately cranky and arrogant. Sometimes both at the same time.

Now I am confused. Rep. Frank has been barely out of office for a day. Surely, he doesn't need additional months of public office to vest for a federal pension. Why then subject himself and us to three more months of crankiness when he can sleep late and go teach at Kennedy School?

Two words...

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The fact that one can be a career politician and spend most of one's adult life in public office is disgusting.

He opposes Hagel

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Obama is about to appoint Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Frank has stated his opposition to Hagel. Deval won't do that to his buddy Barack.

Frank doesn't oppose Hagel

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Frank told the Globe today that he doesn't oppose Hagel because he thinks he'd do a good job helping Obama cut defense smartly, and that he's not thrilled with Hagel's attitude toward gay men, and that gays are a minority in America too many people think its OK to discriminate against.

Say it ain't so!

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Say it ain't so!

...hasn't Barney burned every bridge in his past yet?

...hasn't he insulted everyone who ever had nice things to say about him?

...hasn't everyone realized the role he played in the housing crisis?

You're done Barney....toast. Go away.