SWAT team calls on Clement F. Platelet, president and CEO,
Shrinkage Home Mortgage Co., Bank Run, Virginia
"Obama steps up pressure on mortgage lenders," says the headline in the LA Times.
Officials unveiled requirements Monday that would step up government scrutiny and threaten fines on banks and other mortgage lenders should they lag in converting temporary mortgage modifications into permanent changes in loan terms and conditions by the end of the year. …Shame them? That has a nice moral ring to it. Except it has nothing to do with shaming; it's coercion. "Servicers that don't meet their obligations under the program are going to suffer the consequences," Assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr warned.
The effort also involves sending what Treasury Department officials described as three-person "SWAT teams" to the offices of those firms starting Wednesday to help them obtain the necessary documents from borrowers and trouble-shoot problems. The hope is to shame mortgage servicing companies into doing a better job of making 90-day trial modifications permanent by highlighting those firms that are not performing well and threatening penalties or other sanctions against laggards based on the agreements they signed to participate in the program.
That's what kind of country we are being made into, courtesy of the federal government's apparatchiks.
First, some years ago, Jorge W. Bush and his ruling junta "encouraged" (in the sense that a mugger encourages you with a pistol to hand over your wallet) banks and mortgage companies to service "diverse" clients by giving them mortgages on houses they couldn't possibly afford. Then the country's financial regulators went out for a long lunch while garbage loans were packaged and sold to various pin stripe–suited rubes. Then insurance on the garbage loans became securities to be bought and sold. It was a sand castle constructed of fantasies, which collapsed when the big wave came in.
So what have we learned from the debacle? Nothing, it seems. Now, Barack Hussein Obama and his ruling Politburo are threatening the very companies his predecessor threatened into making bad loans. They'll "suffer the consequences," Komissar Barr says, if the rulers' ukaz isn't obeyed.
I don't have a warm spot in my heart for bankers and lenders of any stripe, you understand. Insofar as they actually deceived or misled their mortgage customers, they should go under the lash. But the great majority of their customers who took out mortgages they couldn't manage did so willingly. Why not? It was raining McMansions, courtesy of two administrations who never met a minority they didn't like, other than heterosexual white males.
None of this should have happened if we were still a constitutional republic instead of playing one on TV. Where is it written in the Constitution that the government is to decide who should get home mortgages, or what kind of revised terms are forced on the lenders after the fact?
But this is how it is and shall be, in things great and small, until citizens decide against signing away their independence in exchange for favoritism and social engineering. The economy should come with an imprinted warning: "This is not a toy. Keep it out of the hands of politicians and other children."