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 on: August 28, 2015, 03:29:03 PM 
Started by ccp - Last post by ppulatie

I loved the Peggy Noonan article. She is beginning to pick up on what the "commoner's" are thinking.

"Since Mr. Trump announced I’ve worked or traveled in, among other places, Southern California, Connecticut, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey and New York’s Long Island. In all places I just talked to people. My biggest sense is that political professionals are going to have to rethink “the base,” reimagine it when they see it in their minds."

The professionals and the elites do not and cannot understand what is going on across the US. They don't have the interactions with those outside of their "class" so they cannot conceive of the anger, distrust, and the longing for a true leader, no matter what is going on.

For at least the last decade, the US is perceived to have been leaderless, and likely much longer. Obama did not show the qualities of a leader, and that has been shown by the state of the country now. 43 was no better, except in his initial response to 9-11. He squandered that beginning in 2003 and lost it completely soon after.

Clinton turned out to be no leader who could motivate the masses. He did a bit within his party, but that was lost as well. 41 could never produce real leadership qualities.

Among those who have run for President and lost, neither Gore or Kerry for the dems, nor McCain or Romney on the right. And currently, Hillary, Jeb, Rubio, or the others inspire others, so they are lacking as well.

Leadership is the ability to engage and pull together people from across all sectors of the population. It involves being able to communicate to the people that there is hope for improvement of their lives, and their futures and it inspires people to believe that there can be a positive outcome.

Since FDR, there has been only Reagan who could inspire the masses to believe in something better. Reagan brought together people of all stripes into the Reagan coalition with his "shining city on the hill", a belief that we could turn around the failures of the 70's.

Trump is doing the same with his "Make America Great Again". He is offering a vision that no politician has offered since Reagan. Instead of condemning America, he is praising America and offers hope that we can return to the days of yore.

This is what leaders do. They offer a hope that all can embrace and offer a road map to get there. Their appeal comes from all corners and are not just limited to one sector.

The GOP and the media do not understand the concept of leadership. They think that just being elected means leadership, and that is not so. Leadership must inspire, but the GOP candidates outside of Trump show no clear indication of leadership qualities. Carson could offer such in the future, and Cruz might as well. But they need to grow to the task.
Carly, not likely, and the others, not at all.

 on: August 28, 2015, 03:25:20 PM 
Started by ccp - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Will has been a serious commentator on the scene for decades now.  IMHO he raises a number of fair points in this piece, whether one agrees with it or not.

 on: August 28, 2015, 03:21:46 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
I agree.

That said, whatever is the true level, it is far less than the runaway inflation regularly predicted here for years.

 on: August 28, 2015, 03:20:50 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
"My expectation is that [rate increases] come in significantly lower than what's being requested," Barack Obama told a Nashville audience last month. After all, he promised ObamaCare would bend the cost curve down, right? And that it would save the typical family $2,500 a year in premiums, right? Wrong. So much for that. According to The Wall Street Journal, Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak "answered [that question] on Friday by greenlighting the full 36.3% increase sought by the biggest health plan in the state, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. She said the insurer demonstrated the hefty increase for 2016 was needed to cover higher-than-expected claims from sick people who signed up for individual policies in the first two years of the Affordable Care Act." So, Madam Commissioner, you're telling us the Affordable Care Act isn't exactly, uh, Affordable? So far, Tennessee's rate increase is the highest approved this year, but two other states — North Carolina and Maryland — exceeded 30%, and half a dozen more were in double digits. Others, like Minnesota (seeking a whopping 54% hike), are yet to be determined. And lest anyone think higher premiums were paying for better coverage, most insurance carriers are also increasing deductibles and copays. Our own plan here in our humble shop now offers this wonderful trifecta of higher premiums, higher deductibles and higher copays. So we pay more up front, we pay more before we can receive care, and then we pay more when insurance finally does kick in. Remind us again how great ObamaCare is...

 on: August 28, 2015, 03:18:39 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
"Nevertheless, to the persecution and tyranny of his cruel ministry we will not tamely submit — appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free." —Joseph Warren, American account of the Battle of Lexington, 1775

 on: August 28, 2015, 12:37:12 PM 
Started by ccp - Last post by ccp
From CD's post,

"One is the deepening estrangement between the elites and the non-elites in America"
Speaking of elites who are out of touch:

Seeing him on cable seems to me he has just as much snarl as he claims Trump has.  Not unlike the smirks the Democrat liberals have on their faces whenever challenged.

And I don't believe the numbers he throws around in his articles.  Does anyone for one second believe the number of illegals in this country is the same or lower than it was years ago?

Who is kidding who?

 on: August 28, 2015, 12:13:43 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ppulatie

My only remark to inflation is this....

Does anyone really know how to calculate inflation? The government uses an  inflation measure designed to show low inflation so as to keep down Cost in Living raises, SS increases and much else.

Ask any middle class person who has to work for a living and worries about where the money will come from to meet costs and expenses monthly whether they believe that inflation is under 2%. Ask them about food costs, utility costs, health care and all the other things that they have to buy. They certainly have another viewpoint that is NEVER considered by anyone.

 on: August 28, 2015, 12:08:18 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ppulatie

My replies to you.  

a) I don't really see someone as a homeowner if they have zero equity or less.   Equity levels change as values change. In 2006, everyone who had bought the year before had over 15% equity, even if they used a 100% loan to value. So zero equity could be simply a "temporary" condition. (Of course, that does not address risk level.)

b)  There is a difference between underwater and being delinquent or in default.  Underwater, I guess, is none of my business as long as they are making the required payments.  I think you deal with situations where they are not. Herein is the problem with that. Underwater "begs" delinquency. At 140% LTV, strategic defaults come into play. At 120% LTV borrowers who are financially stressed behave differently and will make mortgage payments based upon the perceived future. For example, prior to the Crisis, borrowers made sure to pay the mortgage first and let other debt go delinquent. Once the Crisis hit, borrowers began to pay the other debt and to let the mortgages go delinquent, especially if Negative Equity existed.

c)  The central problem with delinquent, underwater properties in default is that government rules make it difficult and sometimes impossible for a lender to take back a property. This is actually not true. HAMP and other programs did delay the foreclosure process timeline, but all one needed was a Negative NPV Test result, and the foreclosure could continue. In reality, for the servicers, delaying foreclosure was profitable compared to foreclosing. As well, the terms of Trusts and even the GSEs caused delays, not government regulations.

d)  That the lender took a bad risk and made a bad loan and the property won't cover their costs is not my problem or concern. But there is another problem with this statement. In most cases, it was government programs designed to encourage housing that caused a large part of the problem. Granted, by 2005, things had gotten totally out of hand, but if lenders did not make loans to sub standard borrowers, there could be liability from Government Regulatory actions like discrimination and disparate impact. So it is not a yes/no decision.

e) A mortgage IS the right to take back a property in default.  If it can't be taken back in a reasonable time, process and cost, it is an unsecured loan.  When the collateral means nothing, that is when loans don't get made, hurting everyone.  Again, the rules of foreclosure are the problem, not market fluctuations or anything else. Not true. The loan is not unsecured at that point. Losses are incurred, but there is still recovery of funds no matter how long the foreclosure action has gone on. So it is not unsecured. (Courts have not ruled on that except in the case of 2nd mortgages, and there are now cases overturning that argument in the BK courts.) As to your when the "collateral means nothing" statement, you are making the assumption that collateral has no value based upon your preceding statement. But loans don't get made if there is no collateral. So how can people otherwise be "hurt"?

f) Instead of fixing the central problem caused by government rules, we establish new government powers. Agreed. Dodd Frank needs to be revamped or repealed and the CFPB disbanded.

g) Assuming you cannot change the rules tying the hands of lenders to get back their rightful collateral and the strategy you suggest is perfectly executed, I can see how a bad situation is dealt with and resolved. I will cover this and the rest below.

g)  On the flip side of giving government the power to take private property for private purposes without limits are all the moral hazards that come with that and eventually take down all great, centrally planned economies:

    1.  With expanded government power comes expanded government corruption.  Without a doubt.
    2.  Large industrial and economic players can buy that power for their own benefit.  And they do.  The richest counties in the United States are mostly in the DC area.  Buying power isn't a small industry; it has become our largest industry.
    3.  Government officials can sell that power for their own benefit.
    4.  People without power get Trumped on, like of Suzette Kelo in New London, Vera Coking in Atlantic City, and Nancy MacGibbon in Minneapolis.
    5.  When victims of eminent domain get 'fair market value' for what is taken from them, they don't get fair market value.
    6.  And when government powers have no limit, well, we don't know and can't even imagine all of where that will lead...

Donald Trump is a great "negotiator", (he says). The victim examples listed above did not consent to entering into "negotiations with Trump or Trump-like entities.  Assuming they owned their property, paid their taxes, followed the laws, kept up their homes, paid their mortgages and all that, do they have a right of privacy?  Do they have a right to be left alone?  Are these rights what the constitution calls unenumerated rights that areprotected by the 9th amendment in the constitution?  Of course they are.  Is this a small matter?  No.

Now back to the 5th amendment:
" If such “economic development” takings are for a “public use,” any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution, as Justice O’Connor powerfully argues in dissent. Ante, at 1—2, 8—13. I do not believe that this Court can eliminate liberties expressly enumerated in the Constitution "
    - Justice Clarence Thomas in dissent on Kelo

And if you feel the opposite, you believe the Court can eliminate liberties expressly protected in the constitution.  You are President Trump appointing judges who will do just that.

Each case must be examined and determined upon the merits of the claim. There is no one rule of law that can cover every situation. (I have not read the cased of ED that you cite in depth, so I don't have an opinion on them specifically.)

As to Richmond, I do have specific knowledge of this.

When I first heard about ED and Richmond, I was viscerally opposed to the idea. I was astounded by the claim like you are with ED. But that did not last.

On a Saturday morning about two years ago, Martin Andelman of Mandelman Matters and I had a long phone conversation. He wanted to discuss ED and Richmond with me.  He supported the concept and I was totally against it. Towards the end, I agreed to look at the issue closely.

Since I lived about 40 miles away, I took a drive to Richmond, going into the different areas where ED was being considered. As I looked around, while literallly in fear for my life, I saw how the Crisis had totally destroyed the city in many ways.  After this look, I began to really consider alternatives.

Richmond, which has always been a "hellhole", was even worse then. Incredibly high unemployment, 20% of homes were vacant and awaiting foreclosure. Home values dropped to under $200k and often $120k, 65% of the city was severely underwater. Gangs everywhere. The common person could not leave. Heavy delinquency on loans about 25%. Anything that a person could conceive, was happening in Richmond. (Camden NJ and other cities also.)

I began to run financial and default algorithms to see how bad it really was. The results were stunning:

Essentially, all of the vacant homes were "gone". A foreclosure on the property, considering what was needed to bring the home back to livable status and to sell afterwards meant that there would be very little "recovery" of funds. In most cases, the loss on the loans would be greater than 75%, yet the servicers would not modify the loan. The loans in delinquency and default were in the same situation. Losses were such that an investor would lose the majority of money invested and would recover little.

I then ran the numbers based upon ED and paying 80% fair Market Value to the Investor. (The rest would be for new loan costs, commissions, and 5% equity to the homeowner.) In every case, the Investor would recover more money than what would be achieved through foreclosure. Plus they would not have to try and find buyers for homes in a "dangerous" area.

An additional advantage for the Investor was he was now out from under a loan in a bad area. This was something that could not even be accomplished with a modification,  so for the Investor, all would be great.

The new Investor would be taking a loan whereby they knew all the risks. It would be fully disclosed, and the loan would be underwritten to a strong standard with the homeowner having a true ability to repay the loan. Both would benefit greatly.

The city then would benefit from a cleaning up of the foreclosure crisis. Tax bases would increase. Crime would decrease. city costs would decrease from the associated problems. Businesses and employment could even increase.

This was a win-win situation for all. But the Big Banks, the Mortgage Banker Association and other groups wanted nothing to do with it. They feared that it would trickle down to other cities, even ones that did not have all the problems of Richmond. (There were reasons for why this would not happen.) So they go to Congress and get legislation enacted to prevent ED in Richmond and other cities.

What I am trying to present is that every case of ED is specific to the facts and must be viewed in that manner. Yes, there is a chance of government going too far, but with a legitimate government, this can be countered if the government is not "bought and paid for" by lobbyists.

Trump admits to "using" government programs and laws to benefit himself. If it is legal, why not if the facts of the case show a clear benefit to the community of the action? If it is just about "greed", then that is different. But the difference is that Trump admits that he does this, but he also realizes that there are ways to prevent the abuses.

FYI, in 1964, I lived in San Bernardino. I remember the home we lived in and thousands other being taken under ED for a freeway to be built. Probably Fair Market Value was paid. The new freeway did serve a great benefit to the city and economic conditions. Yet today, it would be fought to the bitter end.

 on: August 28, 2015, 12:03:08 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
OTOH "Trust me, I'm rich, I know how to get things done" is not too different from "Hope and Change".

Looks like he is beginning to flesh things out.

 on: August 28, 2015, 11:01:25 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ppulatie

Here is one thing to consider about Trump revealing full details of programs.

If you are fighting against an opponent, are you going to reveal what moves you will make in detail so that your opponent can be prepared to counter?

If you are Eisenhower and prepping for D-Day, are you going to reveal that you are using Patton as a deception so that you can attack elsewhere?

You only provide enough details to win the nominee. Too reveal too much opens you to more aggressive attacks.

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