Daily Archives: October 14, 2012

War on the elderly

With zero interest paid on their savings and now a threatened 43% tax on dividends, one wonders how Obama thinks those who have retired or are nearing retirement are supposed to get on? Hell, they can’t even go back to work: there are no jobs. Hope and change indeed.

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Presented without comment

Indian official: An old victory, like a wife of many years, loses its charm over time.

Jo Wood, age 57: “Why should middle-aged women have to wear bras?” (Okay, I must comment: two reasons).

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Shocker II: Housing authority chiefs spend no time on job, lots of time in bars and get paid $360,000 per year

That’s what’s happening in Massachusetts, but there’s no reason to believe that it’s any better elsewhere in the country. When you’re spending other people’s money on your friends and lining your own pockets while you’re at it, are you really going to stop the music? Here’s just one example cited in this Boston Globe article:

Peabody’s former housing director resigned after TV cameras caught him spending much of the work week in local sports bars and social clubs in 2009. Nonetheless, the housing authority board let Frank Splaine stay on the payroll for five extra months, helping to boost his pension, and gave him a $27,000 severance check to boot.

Housing directors face remarkably little accountability for their work managing housing for more than 300,000 elderly and low-income people in Massachusetts, a Boston Globe investigation has found. Though the federal and state governments pump $1.2 billion a year into local housing budgets, oversight comes from local boards mainly chosen by mayors or in little-noticed elections. All too often, no one is sharply focused on how money — or time — is spent.

In the worst cases, tenants pay the price for inattentive or indifferent management, enduring leaky roofs, bad heating, rodent infestation, and other hardships.

“Housing authorities are off the books, as far as state and local scrutiny is concerned,” said Barbara Sard, a former senior policy adviser to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development now with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank in Washington.

For decades, liberals have responded to exposes like this one by spending still more of the money they collect from others, convinced that the problem lies in poor governmental practices rather than the model itself. It’s not.

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Shocker: $40 billion a month in federal subsidies benefits banks, not borrowers

All that money is going to Obama’s friends on Wall Street has done nothing to lower the cost of loans.

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, said Friday they won’t make home loans much cheaper for consumers, even as they reported booming profits from that business.

Those bottom lines have been padded by federal initiatives to stimulate the economy. The Federal Reserve is spending $40 billion a month to reduce mortgage rates to encourage Americans to buy homes. Instead, its policies may be generating more benefits for banks than borrowers.

[Wells Fargo spokesman]:

“We don’t run the business based upon share; we run the business based on profitability.”

At JPMorgan, chief financial officer Doug Braunstein largely echoed those sentiments: “We’re not going to price a lot lower to create demand. . . . These are competitive businesses, and we have to compete.”

Banks have said they are overwhelmed with demand now, giving them little reason to lower rates further. Eventually, that volume will thin out, however, researchers at the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

Banking executives at Wells Fargo and JPMorgan said a future decline in demand may still not prompt them to lower rates to gain more customers. One official added that he even expects mortgage rates to rise next year.

Nothing wrong with a healthy, strong banking system: it’s a huge part of our economy and in Greenwich, record profits for banks means continued demand for houses. Great. But $40 billion a month of taxpayers’ money being diverted to create those profits with no effect on the ostensible purpose of that spending: lower mortgage rates to revive the housing market, makes me wonder whether there’s some other reason for such largess that has nothing to do with homeowners. Nah, surely it’s just another example of misguided federal spending, right?

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