Why the hell, not?
This is what Senator McConnell said yesterday:
I think it may be time … for the president to kind of get a hold of these Democrats in the Senate and the House, who have rather significant majorities, and shake them a little bit and say, ‘Look, let’s do this the right way,'” McConnell said. “I can’t believe that the president isn’t embarrassed about the products that have been produced so far.”
This is what he said to the press this morning about the “Generational Theft Act of 2009”:
“Our goal is not to kill it,” McConnell said. “Our goal is to make it better.” The GOP, he insisted, “has an open mind.” And: “Nobody that I know of is trying to keep a package from passing.”
And….it gets worse. They intend to replace some of the the Democrats’ pork with new, government-backed mortgage loans:
Under the mortgage plan, any ”credit-worthy borrower” could get a government-backed loan at 4 percent. Details were not available, but Republicans have talked about having the government guarantee the 30-year loans for a year or two. Thirty-year fixed rates recently have been around 5 percent.
No cost estimates were available for the McConnell plan. Democrats, who will be crucial to its success since they control 58 Senate seats, have not ruled out backing such a plan, but wanted to see more details. The Senate version of the stimulus bill is now costing $889 billion, about $70 billion more than the one passed this week by the House. The increase is largely due to changes in tax breaks.
McConnell estimated Saturday that under his mortgage plan, the average family would see its monthly mortgage payment drop by $466 a month, or $5,600 a year. Over the life of a 30-year loan, that’s a savings of $167,760.
Michelle Malkin asks a series of obvious (to you and me) questions:
Question: Why should government be guaranteeing mortgages? Isn’t that what got us into trouble in the first place?
Question: Why should government be setting mortgage rates? Aren’t those supposed to be set by the market?
Question: How can Republicans on the one hand argue that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mae, and other interventions in the housing and mortgage markets were bad and then at the same time propose a doomed policy along similar lines?
Question: Have Republicans learned nothing from the housing meltdown? “Credit-worthy” borrower = anyone with a pulse. Who will pay when these borrowers default on their loans? Taxpayers will.
Question: Who will sell these mortgages? Probably the banks. What incentive do they have to ensure the credit-worthiness of borrowers, since they will bear no risk if the borrowers default? Sounds like a formula for another mega-subsidy to the banks…to go along with all the others.
Question: Why do Republicans continue to believe, as Democrats do, that the number one goal of economic policy should be to prop up housing prices? (Recall McCain’s moronic $300 billion mortgage plan.) Why not let the market determine the correct level of housing prices? Clearly, in many parts of the country, housing prices are still too high.
What is the matter with these Republicans? Don’t they realize that their run away spending, and big government solutions are major reasons why they’ve fallen to minority status? Do they realize how perilously close they are to having this sad state of affairs become permanent? They don’t win elections by becoming more like the Democrats. When are they going to learn?
That’s not all. Expect McCain to refocus on foreclosures and the ongoing mortgage crisis as well, possibly reviving a late-inning campaign proposal for the government to buy up loans from underwater homeowners and renegotiate more affordable terms. The $300 billion plan—borrowed from Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign—failed to ignite bipartisan support and came under particular fire from conservatives, but since the fall the foreclosure problem has only grown, with no end in sight.