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The Department of Common Sense (DCS)

Updated on May 19, 2015

My revelation

Over the course of the last several days, I have had a revelation on how I think this country should handle the current mess it has gotten itself into. I believe the time has come that we be more open minded and somewhat progressive. I believe perhaps we need expand our government with a new agency. This agency is designed to restore, revitalize, and to return this land back into the nation our forefathers once believed it would/should be. More importantly, its main focus will be to restore Common Sense back into the daily functions of this country.

That is why I am suggesting we start the Department of Common Sense (DCS). This would oversee ALL of the cabinet positions. It would be led by the Secretary of Common Sense.

Mission Statement

To advance logical thinking by utilizing common sense to develop and procure the freedoms and liberties for the American people. Providing common sense in an official, timely and accurate manner to apply to all government related organizations, functions and operations. To create policies, to promote logic and to eliminate the poorly informed, ill-mannered, unlawful, the unintelligent and obtusely elected officials from furthering the destruction of this Nation.


The Mission

The main mission of this job would be:

  • Turn over as many of the current federal responsibilities back to the State and Local governments to run.
  • Reallocate as many federal jobs back over to the private industry.
  • Reduce the fraudulent acts, the abuse and the waste that is currently swallowing us up alive.
  • Allocate the new Secretary to utilize their God given sense of reasoning to do what is best for the Country….and report back to the White House with their newly found goals and ideas.

As the founding “dude” of this new entity, I would like to nominate Will Starr and Old Poolman to be the first Co-Secretaries of the Department of Common Sense to head off this mission. I can think of several wonderful folks from hubpages that would be fantastic, but these two constantly have displayed Common Sense on a regular basis since I have been a member.

I suggest that they be free to hire a staff to fulfill these obligations, and give them a per-Diem for meals and board, plus any expenses they deem appropriate. After all, they are entrusted as our forefathers were, to utilize the brain God gave them for the betterment of this Nation.

Even though it may appear I write this in jest, I think there could be much to this thought process, and honestly would love nothing more than a return of Common Sense in America.

If you have suggestions of members to add to this department or ideas to add, please feel free to do so.


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    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 4 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      "so many to choose from" Yeah he can just pick any of the minions from the department of HHS, DOJ, the IRS or the State Department who should be fired but are waiting for their reward - promotion!

      "The man in the Oval Office"? Enter "The Department of common CENTS"

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

      I appreciate the vote of confidence but the "man in the Oval Office" does not hold me in such high esteem. I suspect he would pick a good marxist for such a position...he has so many to choose from it seems these days.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      I would just like to be a fly on the wall with the three of you sitting around a table, implementing policies to straighten this country up!

      and without being a tad bit sarcastic, I truly believe that YOU guys are exactly the kind of folks that CAN do this.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      And I believe the author of this Hub should have a seat at the table.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      I'll cast my vote for Wayne and WillStarr.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      And I'd be honored!

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      SEE!!

      Btw Will, I still think YOU would be a great person to sit next to Wayne.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I'll second that nomination.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      I think it would be easy to find some ex military, ex CEO's, ex Farmers who would LOVE to server their country once again and utilize plain old fashion common sense....

      Folks like your self Wayne! You are exactly the kind of person I have in mind.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

      Who would run it? ~ WB

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Hello tsadjatko!

      The Dept of Common CENTS....lol! That is probably an accurate prediction!!

      Without a doubt, we would have to go someplace besides Washington to find anybody with a lick of common sense....but, there are some good folks out there that could do this job. We really do need it.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 4 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      "Department of Common Sense"? Sounds good but a Democrat President would probably change the name to "Department of Common Cents", dedicated to spreading the wealth...might be better to just create another Czar - The Common Sense Czar...wait a minute, would they be able to find anyone in Washington with enough common sense to fill the position? I doubt it.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Hello platinumOwl!

      This was one of the hubs that was partially written for fun, but yet about half serious.........we really do have a lack of common sense in this Nation...and somehow, we need to bring it back to our kids so this next generation may figure out, that it is not rocket science, but just common sense to restore this great country of ours.

      I appreciate you stopping by and your comments.

      Chris

    • platinumOwl4 profile image

      platinumOwl4 4 years ago

      CMeritt, I find you article extremely interesting. I am attempting to discover when did thecountry get so far away from common sense. The school system have completely destroyed some section of the countries children as to common sense. Their major concern is sexual advice not math science the subject of which we are failing dismally.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      poetvix,

      Boy do I ever agree with you on the no more than one single page proposing one single law in plain simple language that everyone can understand...That is just plain and simple common sense!

      Thanks for your comments!

      Chris

      :)

    • poetvix profile image

      poetvix 5 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      This will be the first governmental agency I have ever approved of 100%. I propose the following bill be passed:

      All legislation from this day forward shall be limited to no more than one single page proposing one single law in plain simple language that everyone can understand.

      I propose this because the devil is in the details as they say. The more pages the more evil it is.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thank you Allen! It was kind fun writing this one...I got lot of great comments.

    • Allen Williams profile image

      Allen Williams 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great job! Enough said, I voted up! I love it!

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @CMerritt, I will go part way toward your point, see how this works @Will, because there is no question the Conservatives changed the dynamics in Congress and they did a very good job of toeing-the-line spending-wise. Where I disagree with you, however, is that the plan was already in place in Clinton's first two years.

      One of the key ingredients, although I suspect you won't agree with this, but most economists do, is the tax hike on the wealthy, a follow-on to the one President Bush 1 put in place earlier; a move that cost him the support of the Conservatives. If Clinton had waited until the Conservatives were in power, that tax increase would never have happened and the recovery/debt reduction, while still occuring, would have been nowhere near as robust.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Chris,

      We angrily criticized Bush for having 'lost his veto pen' after the Democrats took over Congress in 2006, a fact that the left conveniently forgets.

      The point is, any criticism of Obama is immediately misdirected by the left by pointing to Bush:

      "Don't look at Obama! Let's talk about Bush instead! Pay no attention to the current, big-spending disaster behind the presidential curtain! Let's dwell in the past instead!"

      That's why I view the leftists as dishonest, disingenuous, and without honor.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      @ My Esoteric,

      your statement to:

      "1) why is it the only time between 1980 and 2009 we didn't have a sktrocketing debt was during the Clinton administration?"

      MY response would be easy as that was when we (the republicans) had control of the house AND the senate, and controlled the spending, along with the "contract with America" led by Newt and company. Clinton was smart enough and polished enough to go along with this and stradle the fence, so he came out smelling like a rose....

      Yes, the republicans ALSO deserve much blame under George W, because THEY acted NOT in behalf of their constituents and became very wreckless with spending.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "It is ad hominem, btw."

      True, but those of us who are constantly subjected to such attacks by angry liberals usually just abbreviate it to 'ad hom'.

      It saves time.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      My point exactly, lol. It is ad hominem, btw.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Oh, brother!

      Talk about ad hom attacks!

      I'm done. There's no point in debating a weasel.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I was going to ignore honorable and honest @Will, but thought, what the heck, I might as well do what he just accused me and all Democrats (I am a disaffected Republican (who is agast at what has happened to my Republican party) turned independent, btw, Will), and change the subject, sort of.

      @Will said, among many other things: "The people want the massive debt reduced, but the Democrat government keeps right on spending.

      I resposnded with a question, since presenting facts is apparently lost, or at least ignored by @Will, to wit: "1) why is it the only time between 1980 and 2009 we didn't have a sktrocketing debt was during the Clinton administration?"

      @Will is in a dilemma here, of course, because it is only during the Conservative Administrations where government kept spending and spending and it was only during the Democratic administration where spedning was actually brought under control thereby showing the falsehood of @Will's claim.

      @Will's answer is where I get off topic folks and comment about something entirely different, classic Right-wing Authoritarian (RWA) follower behavior. @Will's answer to my simple question was "Deny, misdirect, blame others, and change the subject. ... Do try to stay on topic"

      RWA behaviour (go ahead and Google it), which I have written on occasionally in other hubs, is a pyschological/ socialogical set of behaviour characterists that attempts to define the class of individuals who are prone, to one degree or another, to blindly follow authority figures. The study of this behavior type started after WW II when people tried to figure out why so many otherwise rationale people followed Hitler.

      Folks, what @Will displayed here and in much of his other responses to me, is a classic symptom of this type of RWA behavior, "maintaining your stance, without questioning it, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

      In this example, and I will change it slightly to make it more starke, @Will said that the Democrats always turn the Sun Blue, implying it is the Conservatives who keep it Yellow. I clearly show him where he was wrong and that in the last 29 years, the ONLY times the Sun was Blue was during a Conservative administration.

      @Will's response was a classic signal that you are dealing with an RWA in that I avoided answering his assertion, when it is obvious I had not, and instead had met it head on. He has to act this way, of course, or admit he is wrong and high-scoring RWA's cannot do this/ To question their authority figure causes too much internal conflict and threatens their entire belief system which is why RWAs fight so strongly to maintain their position regardless of the truth of it; to RWAs, facts and truths do not matter much, unless happen to actually support their point of view.

      So, folks, if you find you are arguing with a RWA, you might as well quit, because all your going to get is what I got which is a repritition of the RWA's playbook of soundbites and no substance.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I do know that you are trying to divert attention from my factual statements with your 'questions':

      "When Democrats are in charge, government becomes a power unto itself, and it no longer bends to the will of the people.

      The people desperately want to develop our energy resources, but the Democrat government refuses.

      The people opposed Obamacare all along and now want it repealed, but the Democrat government ignores the people.

      The people want the massive debt reduced, but the Democrat government keeps right on spending.

      The people want the borders controlled, but the Democrat government ignores them and stomps on any state that tries.

      What Lincoln meant was a government of the whole body of the people and not just the ruling elite, but what we now have (admittedly) is a government of the 'political class', who openly despise the whole body of the people.

      That's why Obama referred to them as small town and country hicks, 'clinging to their Bibles and guns'."

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      WIll, I am guessing then that you don't know the answers.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Deny, misdirect, blame others, and change the subject.

      This administration will not allow drilling for new energy in the US, will not stop deficit spending, will not secure the borders, and willfully ignores the people's hatred of Obamacare.

      Do try to stay on topic.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      OK CMerritt, your points have merit, pun intended. But, let's look at the fundementals. The "representative" form of government which is what, in my opinion, is meant by the "Of, By, and For" phrase means that the People elect representatives to the House and the Senate (after the 17th Amendment) and the President (after the 12th Amendment) to do their, the People's, will. If these representatives do not do the People's will, then they get, or are supposed to get, not re-elected. That is the bottom line and as I see it, there is no way the People can pass the buck to lobbiests, the Democrats, the Republicans or anybody else. The government is simply made of the folks the People put there.

      Theory would have it then, that whatever the government is doing, it is because the People want it to, otherwise, the People would vote somebody else in to do something different.

      For example, if the People don't want lobbiest effecting their politicians on the Hill and money in the campaigns, they would vote Progressives into the White House and enough of them into Congress such that enough liberal justices will be appointed to the Supreme Court to allow such rulings to take place.

      Now, you and I both know, that will never happen, not in our lifetimes anyway because, at this point in time, that is not what the People really want; progressives that is, I suspect they would like to see the demise of lobbiests, etc. Consequently, the lobbiest will keep on lobbying and the money will keep on flowing because a conservative court believes they have no right to stop it from happening regardless of the damage to the country.

      Don't be fooled either on this corruption thing. In my research, corruption was rampant at all levels of government from the get-go; there were many a good scandles in the War Department in every conflict we have been in. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have been in cahoots with lobbiests since John Adams was president.

      If you look back to the headlines throughout the 1800s, you will see the People crying about Big Government abusing our money; problem is, back then there were no liberals or progressives to point the finger at. Effectively they died with John Adams and didn't really revive in any meaningful way until 1905 with Teddy Roosevelt.

      @Will, expain to me a couple of things.

      1) why is it the only time between 1980 and 2009 we didn't have a sktrocketing debt was during the Clinton administration?

      2) who put the Democrats in power? Aliens or the American People?

      3) ok, three questions, if Conservatives want the border controlled so badly, why are they not letting Congress provide the funding to do it, or do you think it can be done for free? You do realize that Homeland Security is going to take big funding cuts along with everybody else, don't you, in the Conservatives drive to slash the budget with no revenue increases.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      When Democrats are in charge, government becomes a power unto itself, and it no longer bends to the will of the people.

      The people desperately want to develop our energy resources, but the Democrat government refuses.

      The people opposed Obamacare all along and now want it repealed, but the Democrat government ignores the people.

      The people want the massive debt reduced, but the Democrat government keeps right on spending.

      The people want the borders controlled, but the Democrat government ignores them and stomps on any state that tries.

      What Lincoln meant was a government of the whole body of the people and not just the ruling elite, but what we now have (admittedly) is a government of the 'political class', who openly despise the whole body of the people.

      That's why Obama referred to them as small town and country hicks, 'clinging to their Bibles and guns'.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Well my first thought is this.........during the time of Lincoln, politicians were not making a living at being politicians....the reasons for serving were much more noble than those of today. They DID server FOR, OF and BY the people....today, with the lobbyists and obvious corruption...they no longer hold those words by Lincoln, sacred....they have voted themselves raises and a lifestle that exceed their worth. Big Government is the problem. Thus enters the Tea Party....a true representitive of the American People. Those who are tired of Government abusing our money that WE have given to them to do the business of this nation.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Another thought foryou to munch on, CMerritt. A famous American, Abraham Lincoln, once said that government is "of the People, by the People, and for the People". If you assume Lincoln is correct and that "Government" equals "the People" (math even works for words, sometimes, lol) then look what happens to your statement when you substitute the words "the People" for the word government":

      "I can go on and on, but to me, it is simple and not all that complexed. It is what it is. Big government....a GREEDY "govenrnment."

      To me, you have a logic box here. Either you no longer believe America is what Lincoln said it was in the Gettysburg address and that our form (representative) of government has fundementally changed or you are saying it is the American People that is the problem.

      Food for thought, what say you?

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @CMerritt, and your comment displays a lot of that agreement; for example, your comments on GREED and the Unions ... I would have written the same thing although the object of the greed would be different). My argument regarding liberism/progressivism (we have never come close to socialism, either definition of it; look it up, by an old definition, you are a socialist, lol) it results, in my opinion, from the more fundemental disagreement we have, and that is how Corporate America has operated when given a free hand.

      My basic premis is this, if Corporate America had not abused its freedom in the 1800s, then we would not be having this liberalism/progressive fight in 2011. Teddy Roosevelt in 1904, that great Republican right behind Abraham Lincoln, is the originator of the modern Progressive movement in America with his anti-trust campaign. After that, it all rolled down-hill from there, as they say.

      Here, here to Common Sense.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      @ My Esoteric,

      First of all, you are right, this could have been in a hub all on it's own. Some very intereting comments to say the least.

      Second, I will be honest with you, you are on a much higher level of thought than I am on this issue, regarding F&F. I sometimes think that too many American simply over analyze some very obvious problems that we face today. Hence, the reason for this hub in the first place. A restoration of common sense.

      I'm am convinced, and you had much to do with me coming to this conclusion, that YES, there are many reason as to why we had a finanial melt down in this country.

      The bottom line to all of this is simple.....GREED.

      Which leads me to WHY I believe with all my heart that this "Progessive"/"Liberal" mentality is leading us (America) down the provebial drain. It is full of greed. They (the liberal media) has, in my opinion, has demonized Big Business and Corperate America as screwing the middle class and the poor. When common sense has clearly shown me that it was Big Government and the entitlement mentality that they created, that has stuck a huge knife into the back of the hard working, tax paying Ameicans.

      Corp America is taking the fall for this. Yes, Greed is rampart in this world too, I'm not saying it has not.

      But, once upon a time, it was Greed by these Corperations that inspired free enterprise to explode all across this land. Those corperations had real competion to be the best...and it was the best who got rewarded the most..(that is where the greed came to play)..those who worked hard at providing quality widgets, paid their employees well. Henry Ford proved this. He was the one who started the 40 hour week. He increased the pay to his emoployees so they too, can buy one of his cars.

      Then liberalism/socialism/progressivism took root. Government began to cross the line with it's powers. The unions, which at one time was a great thing, began to get political roots and ties. They became GREEDY. Especially the UAW. They changed America from a productive and happy nation to what it is today. Government spending billions and billions creating a "entitlement" nation....esentially "buying" votes from the poor....a poor that they created.

      I can go on and on, but to me, it is simple and not all that complexed. It is what it is. Big government....a GREEDY govenrnment.

      That is merely the way I see it.

      I do appreciate your responses and I have read them and some of them make some sense to me, not that I agree with them.

      Will as you know, I am a huge supporter and we line up pretty darn close with our ideologies on what this country needs to do, to restore Common Sense.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "I will keep this one short and simple..."

      Right.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I will keep this one short and simple for you, how is Fox having only 28% good things to say about Obama/Bidin and 39% good things to say about McCain/Palin not biased toward McCain/Palin? I bet you say the ABC result of 57% Obama, 46% McCain is biased toward Obama or does it work just one way for you, Will?

      Now, to these insults you so adroitly throw about, let me offer one of my own ... it concerns your apparent lack of intelligence regarding statistics and logic. You say "I provide a well known study by a reputable organization who ..." Yes you did Will, and I presented that same exact study back to you, did you recognize it, in my response, the difference is, it didn't have some conservative bloggers dribble trying to distort what the study said surrounding it and it presented the details of the study, which your blogger didn't bother to do. Now, you bank SO much on this study as your PROOF that it is ABC, NBC, and CBS who are so biased and it is Fox who is balanced.

      Well let's use our intelligence on that one a little bit, if you are able. Now follow me here, it really isn't that difficult, Will.

      1. First, I do need to retract my statement on the study size. While 34 hours isn't a whole lot of hours out of the hundreds of hours of airtime, the study did look at 975 stories over a two-month time-frame during the campaign. Without knowing anything else, 975 is a reasonable number of stories stratified over four networks to get a taste; I would like to see the margin of error though.

      2.If each of these news agencies were balanced, then each would report 50% positive and 50% negative things, plus or minus a percent or so. Let's look at the STUDY, ah yes, we see that none of them are balanced, including Fox, Fox IS biased to the Right while the rest are biased to the Left (which is statistically interesting in and of itself which I will get into later). What can we conclude from this, Fox is not balanced. The other thing you can conclude, which is what the study did, is that based on their 975 story look, ABC and Fox were the most balanced, just in opposite directions and not a lot.

      3. This next one is more difficult but just as logical. I hope you can follow this, Will, but I will understand if you can't. It has to do with the distribution of the number of opportunities for reporters to see positive and negative images to report on.

      It stands to reason, doesn't it Will, that if a candidate presents a lot of positive images, then reporters are more likely to report higher number of positives than negatives. It also stands to reason for the reverse, if a candidate offers up a lot of negative images ...

      Well consider what we have among the four candidates, Obama, Biden, McCain, and Palin. Both Obama and McCain are polished candidates and aren't prone to make too many negative images. Biden is also polished but well known for his occasional gaffes, a reason, the Study points out, why the NBC positive Dem rating was low, they had a lot of negative Biden reports.

      Then we have Palin. Whether you love her or hate her, she was a news lightening rod and by everybody's estimation, including the McCain staff and most other non-Tea Party conservatives, she was a pocket full of negative images for the McCain/Palin ticket. Her gaffes on the stump were newsworthy in and of themselves and were a godsend to Biden for they took the spotlight off of his. Palin was new to national politics and the rough and tumble of the game and was wide-open for a fall and ripe for mistakes and she made them. (as an aside, even though I think her politics stink, I am in awe of her political abilities, her fortitude, and her strength of character.) But my point is she skewed the number of opportunities for negative reports against the McCain/Palin ticket terribly.

      So, Will, I am pretty sure you disagree with that last assessment a steadfastly believe she only threw out positive images during those two months of the study, others know different, and because she skewed the distirbution, even truely unbiased reporting would have probably come up with at least ABC's results. That is simply the nature of statistics.

      To simplify it for you Will, of course, the Study came up with those results for ABC, NBC, and CBS; Palin almost single-handedly guaranteed it; maybe not to the degree of bias that NBC and CBS showed, but the skew simply has to be that way because of all of Palin's negatives.

      What probably made it worse, is once you are perceived as negative, negative begats negative; look what the LIBERAL media did to Michael Dukakis, the Democratic Presidential nominee way back when. This same study, back then Will, would have shown a distinct Right-wing bias, btw; funny how that works, isn't it.

      4. It is a given that most reporters are first amendment supporters and tend to lean left. For most good journalist, however, the job comes first and they try to be as unbiased as possible; I believe this to be true of most front-line reporters of ABC, NBC, and CBS. Go up one level, and the scene changes, at least it has today, not back in Walter Cronkites days, but in today's money driven world. Here politics does come into play more, I believe, mainly at the editors desk and yes, I believe a news orgainzations political bias works its way in at this point to some degree; and you see that in the Study results although it is somewhat masked by the Palin factor. I strongly suspect, although you can't prove it, that if McCain had picked a more seasoned runningmate, those McCain/somebody positives would have been a lot higher and the difference between Fox and the others more stark.

      Given the Palin factor I would think it reasonable to conclude that ABC's reporting was relatively unbiased; that they tried to report fairly the number of positive and negative images based on the distribution of positive and negatives between the candidates themselves. To think otherwise, one has to believe that Sarah Palin DID NOT significantly make more campaign errors, gaffes. faux paus and other negatives in those two months than Obama and/or Biden; that she wasn't the talk of the town and SNL because of it.

      For those of you who buy into that assumption, that ABC is unbiasid, then how do you explain Fox News results? Even if you accept that ABC is a little biased, how do you explain Fox News' outlier results being totally opposite by a large margin than the other three?

      To get those results, Fox News must go out of their way to get those results. If Fox News were simply slightly biase to the Right, then their results should logically be more like 50%/50% or 48%/52%, but they aren't; their results are 28% to 39%; even Fox wasn't immune to the Palin effect, it seems.

      I suspect most of this was way above your head, Will, but that is OK, because you will probably take solice in calling me a traitor or an idiot or some such thing as that appears to be the extent of your ability to reason.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Deny, deny, deny.

      You claim Fox is very biased, but provide no study evidence to back it up. I provide a well known study by a reputable organization who is cited over and over as evidence of left wing media bias (except for FOX), and you ignore it.

      I think we now know who we are dealing with, and it's obviously not someone of honor.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      In this case, you are right regarding how biased Fox is, it is an opinion as is yours of the other side, examples and analysis coming. And no, nobody has mentioned I use, and the word is, ad hominem logic in my argumentation; show me where I used the disparagement of someones character to prove their claims were wrong; I find that I don't need to.

      I looked at your source and found it interesting. Again, the initial source was a very conservative blog who was on a big rant, so I plunged further back to the source of the statistics you cited, CMPA. Here is what I came up with and will let the readers be the judge.

      First let me say, it was the considered opinion that for the 33 HOUR sample of airtime they took during the 2008 Presidential election they did find, overall, that Obama/Biden did receive more positive comments than negative comments amongst the 4 networks (CNN was not looked at) than McCain/Palin did; I am not being ad hominem when I observe that may be a function of Sarah Palin herself, she provided so many opportunities for negative comments.

      According to CMPA it broke down like this (the percentages are positive reports):

      CBS - Obama/Biden (73%), McCain/Palin (31%)

      NBC - Obama/Biden (56%), McCain/Palin (16%)

      ABC - Obama/Biden (57%), McCain/Palin (46%)

      Fox - Obama/Biden (28%), McCain/Palin (39%)

      I suspect if Sarah Palin had not been McCain's running mate, the McCain/? ticket would have scored much higher with all four networks, including Fox.

      The following are examples of the coverage of each that CMPA offered:

      Obama

      People in this community say Barack Obama's work inspires them to this day. – Kevin Tibbles, NBC, 10/2 [slightly positive]

      I think [Obama] brings a freshness to Washington. – Voter, CBS, 10/14 [slightly positive]

      Obama's dollar deluge is possible because he broke a promise to accept public funding. – John Berman, ABC, 10/19 [pretty negative ... broke a promise]

      Biden

      Joe Biden is experienced and talkative. Critics say too talkative. – Andrea Mitchell, CBS, 10/1 [Neutral]

      McCain

      McCain has shown that he can work on both sides of the table to help this country. – Voter, ABC, 10/10 [very positive]

      Even McCain's own focus group didn't buy [his tax policy]. – Andrea Mitchell, NBC, 10/16 [pretty negative]

      What worries people is how John McCain has reacted to this [financial] crisis. – Peter Hart, pollster, NBC, 10/6 [very negative]

      Palin

      Even come conservatives say that Palin is not ready for prime time. – Andrea Mitchell, NBC, 10/1 [very negative]

      Palin's carefully cultivated Joe Sixpack image is now bumping up against a six-figure wardrobe. – Nancy Cordes, CBS, 10/22 [slightly negative]

      This is the Sarah Palin that I think voters wanted to see… who is strong on policy, very compassionate, talking about issues that are not political but affect their families every day. – Blogger, FOX, 10/24 [extremely positive]

      The opinions in [] are mine. I am not sure why CMPA included these, there was nothing further in their article about them but I give them to you for completeness.

      This is why I listen to CNN.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Consider the source, Fox News is unquestionably the most biased of the five major news outlets going; ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News"

      Projecting your own, highly biased opinion as a fact again? You could not be more wrong. FOX is actually the least biased news source, according to a study by the non-partisan CMPA:

      http://www.aim.org/aim-column/media-are-big-losers...

      Hasn't anyone ever talked to you about your penchant for ad hom attacks? I'm certainly not impressed.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Just a thought, CMerritt, you might copy and paste all the relavant parts of this whole string of comments into a new hub; I think it would make wonderful reading.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      OK, Will, let's take your YouTubes, one at a time; but first a preamble. Consider the source, Fox News is unquestionably the most biased of the five major news outlets going; ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News (you notice I don't even consider MSNBC as being a major news outlet), second, in all my posts I have presented NUMBERS, not opinion, I have presented FACTS, not opinion, I have presented LOGIC, not opinion; of course, I have also present opinion as well. On your side, you presented Willason whose analysis, as I have shown, is rather faulty and full of holes.

      To the first YouTube - The first half of the commentary is quite correct, all agree F&F were getting way to big, I remember that being discussed and actually agree with it; I remember Greenspan saying them defaulting could have terrible consequencse on the economy ... all of that is true; as far as it goes. But then the piece moves off into smoke and mirrors and starts saying things that simply aren't true. For example, F&F didn't offer teaser rates, as the "news" man suggests; the loan originator did. F&F bought those loans, if and only if the borrorers met certain guidelines, even those dasterardly low-incomes. THE FACT IS, F&F required they have the ABILITY to pay back the loan; the problem is, they no longer needed to have as good an ability as they once needed. Even the commentator sort of neglected to mention it, on purpose, I suspect since this is Fox News, after all, is everything he said after "teaser rates" applied to the non-conventional PRIVATE-LABEL lenders who, starting in 2003, well after Alan Greenspan made his prediction regarding F&F, took over the subprime market and whose lending made F&F look like pikers.

      As to YouTube number 2 - I don't see your point. Senator Schummer is correct, the Conservatives wanted to shut the doors on F&F, they still do; he disagrees, he believes F&F needs fixing, not dissolution; you disagree with that?

      YouTube video number 3 - again, I don't see your point other than to show how biased Fox News reporting is. Alan Greenspan said that F&F were becoming too big and needed stronger regulation; who would disagree with that? Sen. Schummer said the F&F has done great things for this country; also very true and who would disagree with that? Now, the way that Fox News presented it makes it sound like Schummer is against more regulations, however, in the clip you presented just before that, Will, he said he is very much in favor of more regulation, hmmmm, how about that. What Schummer is against, and Greenspan IS NOT suggesting, but the Conservatives dearly want, is for F&F to simply disappear and let the US housing market simply fluctuate wildly as the market wanders to and fro and be subject to the vagaries of predatory unregulated financial institutions like they were in the 1800s where you had a major recession every 10 years or so and then again in 2003 - 2008.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      What a Hub, eh, CMeritt?

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      More:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVi_Jjxli1o

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxKkZVfQZuA&fea...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onINfnn30C8&fea...

      And on, and on! Democrats defended their 'housing for votes' scheme right up until it all collapsed, and some, like My Esoteric, still stubbornly defend the indefensible, even today!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I admire your grit in standing up for your liberal friends, My Esoteric, and I admire your ability to muddy the waters with your words, but in the end, you know very well that Democrat-sponsored government meddling caused the current recession.

      So too does an informed America. That video is very damning evidence, and you know it!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Your opinion is not 'data'. It's just your opinion, and it is a minority opinion at that.

      Most aware Americans now acknowledge that government meddling in the housing market is the root cause of the bubble, the inevitable collapse, and the current recession.

      They also realize that the likes of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Chuck Schummer sought to deceive Americans until it was too late to protect themselves.

      All three should be in prison, along with other complicit Democrat liars like Maxine Waters, Gregory Meeks, and Franklin Raines, all of whom resisted Republican attempts to properly regulate Fannie and Freddie:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      BTW, let me also point out, the GSEs, while having lowered their standards, still had standards; standards that requireed borrowers to show they had some capability to pay back the loan, just not as much a capability as they used to need. The private-label, because of deregulation, or, in the case of the shadow banking arena where that huge rise in sub-primes occured, NO regulation at all, they had NO STANDARDS other than the ability to breathe on the day of loan closing; a very big difference. That is why the private-label loan defaults were SO MUCH BIGGER than the GSEs.

      Yes, CMerritt, you are right, at least the part about Frank and Schummer supporting F&F. However, I think you missed the mark on Bush and the Conservatives position; they didn't want more oversight/regulation, they wanted the elimination of F&F entirely. That was what Frank and Schummer fought so bitterly to prevent. That said, I do agree with you F&F's standards were reduced in order to purchase/guarantee more loans from conventional loan originators and that more risky borrowers were guaranteed by the government. But, ALL of the data shows that this had little to do with what ultimately happened; did it contribute, of course it did, but I would argue that you could take F&F entirely out of the picture, meaning they never changed their standards and continued to require the same creditworthiness as they always did, and you would have had exactly the same thing happen, except F&F would be much healthier and I would be much richer (I owned stock in them, lol). Why? Because the private-label loan industry was now essentially unregulated and they had a huge market in which to peddle their wares.

      There is simply no logical connection, such as the one Willason suggests, between people wanting to refinance their house or purchase a new one from a glut of finished ones in an environment that didn't require them to be able to repay the loan and the Democrats desire for low-income people to be able to buy affordable housing (the CRA) or F&Fs lower standards which still required borrows to show an ability to repay the loan. This was the environment from 2003 to 2008, when private-label, non-conventional sub-prime market sky-rocketed.

      Show me that connection with data. Willason certain hasn't done it. WillStarr can't do it. What data do you have that refutes mine? I am not sure how opinion enters into it at this point for this particular issue, the numbers clearly tell the story. As to the "more and more people ..." statement, and this IS my opinion, I believe that is also reversed for once you step outside of the 20% of the people in America who are die-hard Conservatives, there isn't much doubt where to place the blame.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "This explains it in a nutshell."

      Exactly. My Esoteric is welcome to his opinion, but he's in the minority as more and more people realize what actually happened and who caused it.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      My Esoteric, I will compliment you on ability to explain your opinion on this somewhat confusing fiasco.

      But, it seems to me, that it was Bush and republicans that was claiming there needed to be more oversight and some regulations over Fannie & Freddie. Barney Frank and Schummer were the ones who repeatedly claimed that F&F were doing just fine and there were NO finanial issues to deal with.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMnSp4qEXNM

      This explains it in a nutshell.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @Will - As I said, while Willason's figures are accurate, his analysis and conclusions miss the mark. For example, in Point One above he says 1) " When the GSEs decided to ramp up their purchases of sub-prime and Alt-A loans ... they began to take market share from the private-label issuers ...", it is a minor point, but the REVERSE is actually true, by Willason's own admission earlier, in 1997 studies found the GSEs were falling behind and Congress (it was Conservative at this point in time) pushed a willing GSE to make more loans in the CRA market

      2) "First, it increased the competition for these loans with private-label issuers. Before 2004, private-label issuers--generally investment and commercial banks--specialized in subprime and Alt-A loans because GSEs’ financial advantages, ..." Here, Willason, purposefully didn't provide you the figures on which to make your own jugdgement, figures which contract him. Remember, he does say earlier that AS LATE AS 2003, sub-primes accounted for ONLY 10% of the market; keep that in mind for a moment.

      Now consider this of the GSEs(Freddie/Fannie), from 1990 to 2003, accounted for about 51-52% of all mortgage funding. Simple math tells you that private-labels accounted for 49-48%; granted the GSEs have a hefty sum. Now to Willason's first DECEPTION. He said the "private-labels specialized in sub-primes ..." because of the GSEs advantage; but, how can this be when sub-primes only made up 10% of the market. By Willason's own figures, if the privates had 100% of the sub-primes, which they didn't, that means they STILL accounted for 39% of all conventional mortgage funding, nothing to blink at.

      3) Willason also asserts that "because GSEs’ financial advantages, especially their access to cheaper financing, enabled them to box private-label competition out of the conventional market"; big DECEPTION number 2. The FACTS between 1990 and 2003, the private-label share of the market held CONSTATE at about 38-39%; it DID NOT dicline, as Willason tries to make you believe.

      What did happen? In 2003, because of a golden opportunity brought on by DEREGULATION and several other reasons, OTHER TYPE of private-label lenders entered the market. From 2003 to 2008, contrary to what Willason tries to decieve you about, here is what actually happened - GSE market share FELL from 51% to 40%, S&L market share fell from 10% to 5%, Commercial banks share held CONSTANT (yeah, they were really scared of the GSEs) at 30%, and these non-conventional private-label lenders share rose from 9% to 22%!!

      That is what REALLY happened folks, because of many other factors, led by deregulation, the GSEs are the ones who took it in the shorts along with the rest of the country while these non-conventional lenders and big-banks scored billions off of your backs and ultimately cost America 14 million jobs ... NOT Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or the CRA; how ludicrous.

      Willason is a smart man, no doubt, but he is a smart,Conservative man with an agenda, who like father Limbaugh, twists and turns and leaves out and misrepresents facts until he arrives at his preconceived notions.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      The rest of the story:

      Fannie and Freddie used their affordable housing mission to avoid additional regulation by Congress, especially restrictions on the accumulation of mortgage portfolios (today totaling approximately $1.6 trillion) that accounted for most of their profits. The GSEs argued that if Congress constrained the size of their mortgage portfolios, they could not afford to adequately subsidize affordable housing. By 1997, Fannie was offering a 97 percent loan-to-value mortgage. By 2001, it was offering mortgages with no down payment at all. By 2007, Fannie and Freddie were required to show that 55 percent of their mortgage purchases were LMI loans and, within that goal, 38 percent of all purchases were to come from underserved areas (usually inner cities) and 25 percent were to be loans to low-income and very-low-income borrowers. Meeting these goals almost certainly required Fannie and Freddie to purchase loans with low down payments and other deficiencies that would mark them as sub-prime or Alt-A.

      The decline in underwriting standards is clear in the financial disclosures of Fannie and Freddie. From 2005 to 2007, Fannie and Freddie bought approximately $1 trillion in sub-prime and Alt-A loans. This amounted to about 40 percent of their mortgage purchases during that period. Moreover, Freddie purchased an ever-increasing percentage of Alt-A and sub-prime loans for each year between 2004 and 2007. It is impossible to forecast the total losses the GSEs will realize from a $1.6 trillion portfolio of junk loans, but if default rates on these loans continue at the unprecedented levels they are showing today, the number will be staggering. The losses could make the $150 billion S&L bailout in the late 1980s and early 1990s look small by comparison.

      The GSEs’ purchases of sub-prime and Alt-A loans affected the rest of the market for these mortgages in two ways. First, it increased the competition for these loans with private-label issuers. Before 2004, private-label issuers--generally investment and commercial banks--specialized in subprime and Alt-A loans because GSEs’ financial advantages, especially their access to cheaper financing, enabled them to box private-label competition out of the conventional market. When the GSEs decided to ramp up their purchases of sub-prime and Alt-A loans to fulfill their affordable housing mission, they began to take market share from the private-label issuers while simultaneously creating greater demand for sub-prime and Alt-A loans among members of the originator community.

      Second, the increased demand from the GSEs and the competition with private-label issuers drove up the value of sub-prime and Alt-A mortgages, reducing the risk premium that had previously suppressed originations. As a result, many more marginally qualified or unqualified applicants for mortgages were accepted. From 2003 to late 2006, conventional loans (including jumbo loans) declined from 78.8 percent to 50.1 percent of all mortgages, while subprime and Alt-A loans increased from 10.1 percent to 32.7 percent. Because GSE purchases are not included in these numbers, in the years just before the collapse of home prices began, about half of all home loans being made in the United States were non-prime loans. Since these mortgages aggregate more than $2 trillion, this accounts for the weakness in bank assets that is the principal underlying cause of the current financial crisis.

      In a very real sense, the competition from Fannie and Freddie that began in late 2004 caused both the GSEs and the private-label issuers to scrape the bottom of the mortgage barrel. Fannie and Freddie did so in order to demonstrate to Congress their ability to increase support for affordable housing. The private-label issuers did so to maintain their market share against the GSEs’ increased demand for sub-prime and Alt-A products. Thus, the gradual decline in lending standards--beginning with the revised CRA regulations in 1993 and continuing with the GSEs’ attempts to show Congress that they were meeting their affordable housing mission--came to dominate mortgage lending in the United States.

      FEDERAL HOUSING INIATIVES are not the only culprits in the current mortgage mess--state-based residential finance laws give homeowners two free options that contributed substantially to the financial crisis. First, any homeowner may, without penalty, refinance a mortgage whenever interest rates fall or home prices rise to a point where there is significant equity in the home, enabling them to extract any equity that had accumulated between the original financing transaction and any subsequent refinancing. The result is so-called cash-out refinancing, in which homeowners treat their homes like savings accounts, drawing out funds to buy cars, boats, or second homes. By the end of 2006, 86 percent of all home mortgage refinancings were cash-outs, amounting to $327 billion that year. Unfortunately, this meant that when home prices fell, there was little equity in the home behind the mortgage and frequently little reason to continue making payments on the mortgage.

      The willingness of homeowners to walk away from their “underwater” mortgages was increased by the designation of mortgages as “without recourse” in most states. In essence, non-recourse mortgages mean that defaulting homeowners are not personally responsible for paying any difference between the value of the home and the principal amount of the mortgage obligation, or that the process for enforcing this obligation is so burdensome and time-consuming that lenders simply do not bother. The homeowner’s opportunity to walk away from a home that is no longer more valuable than the mortgage it carries exacerbates the effect of the cash-out refinancing.

      Tax laws further amplified the problems of the housing bubble and diminished levels of home equity, especially the deductibility of interest on home equity loans. Interest on consumer loans of all kinds--for cars, credit cards, or other purposes--is not deductible for federal tax purposes, but interest on home equity loans is deductible no matter how the funds are used. As a result, homeowners are encouraged to take out home equity loans to pay off their credit card or auto loans or to make the purchases that would ordinarily be made with other forms of debt. Consequently, homeowners are encouraged not only to borrow against their homes’ equity in preference to other forms of borrowing, but also to extract equity from their homes for personal and even business purposes. Again, the reduction in home equity has enhanced the likelihood that defaults and foreclosures will rise precipitously as the economy continues to contract.

      Bank regulatory policies should also shoulder some of the blame for the financial crisis. Basel I, a 1988 international protocol developed by bank regulators in most of the world’s developed countries, devised a system for ensuring that banks are adequately capitalized. Bank assets are assigned to different risk categories, and the amount of capital that a bank holds for each asset is pegged to the asset’s perceived riskiness. Under Basel I’s tiered risk-weighting system, AAA asset-backed securities are less than half as risky as residential mortgages, which are themselves half as risky as commercial loans. These rules provided an incentive for banks to hold mortgages in preference to commercial loans or to convert their portfolios of whole mortgages into an MBS portfolio rated AAA, because doing so would substantially reduce their capital requirements.

      Though the banks may have been adequately capitalized if the mortgages were of high quality or if the AAA rating correctly predicted the risk of default, the gradual decline in underwriting standards meant that the mortgages in any pool of prime mortgages often had high loan-to-value ratios, low FICO scores, or other indicators of low quality. In other words, the Basel bank capital standards, applicable throughout the world’s developed economies, encouraged commercial banks to hold only a small amount of capital against the risks associated with residential mortgages. As these risks increased b

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @Will, I am glad you presented that analysis from Wallison although it looks like some might have been cut off at the end of your post which ended "The GSE's argued that if Cong ..." anyway, you will probably find this surprising, there isn't much in what was presented by Willison that he put forward as fact, that I would disagree with, some of the conclusions he draws maybe, but not the facts themselves, they were all in the basic report. However, none of it point toward Fannie and Freddie as being the cause of all of our ills as you are trying to make us believe; nor does it really make a case that the CRA was sufficiently significant to bring the whole economy down.

      Up until your post cut-off, virtually all of the analysis had to do with the situation prior 1998. The only data presented during the period when all of the abuses started and continued is the one showing the decline of traditional mortgages in relation to sub-primes, 2001-2006.

      In the last full paragraph, Wallison seems to start to imply that it is the fault of the Democrat’s desire to improve the lives of the working poor via the CRA and Fannie/Freddie policy shifts that allowed predatory lending companies like Countrywide Financial got into business. The logic goes like this 1) IN 1992, AN AFFORDABLE housing mission was added to the charters of Fannie and Freddie, which--like the CRA--permitted Congress to subsidize LMI housing without appropriating any funds (sort of like the Bush No Child Left Behind or Medicare Prescription laws, isn’t it?), then 2) a 1997 Urban Institute report found that local and regional lenders seemed more willing than the GSEs to serve creditworthy low- to moderate-income and minority applicants. After this, Fannie and Freddie modified their automated underwriting systems to accept loans with characteristics that they had previously rejected. Both of these facts are very true. But, then we get this strange, unsupported conclusion: 3) this opened the way for large numbers of nontraditional and sub-prime mortgages.

      How Willason comes to this leap of logic is never explained in his analysis, it is just laid out there like it makes all of the sense in the world, which, of course, it does not. It is true of course, large numbers of nontraditional and sub-prime mortgage lenders did enter the market, but, it wasn’t due to Fannie/Freddie changing their policy nor the CRA policy itself which drove the changes; if it were, these lenders would have made CRA loans; they didn’t because the underwriting restrictions were too restrictive. Willason doesn’t tell you this, of course.

      The rest I will leave for a hub I am working on.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      (sigh)

      Ok, you forced my hand:

      The True Origins of This Financial Crisis

      By Peter J. Wallison from the February 2009 issue

      As opposed to a desperate liberal legend.

      Two narratives seem to be forming to describe the underlying causes of the financial crisis. One, as outlined in a New York Times front-page story on Sunday, December 21, is that President Bush excessively promoted growth in home ownership without sufficiently regulating the banks and other mortgage lenders that made the bad loans. The result was a banking system suffused with junk mortgages, the continuing losses on which are dragging down the banks and the economy. The other narrative is that government policy over many years--particularly the use of the Community Reinvestment Act and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to distort the housing credit system-- underlies the current crisis. The stakes in the competing narratives are high. The diagnosis determines the prescription. If the Times diagnosis prevails, the prescription is more regulation of the financial system; if instead government policy is to blame, the prescription is to terminate those government policies that distort mortgage lending.

      There really isn’t any question of which approach is factually correct: right on the front page of the Times edition of December 21 is a chart that shows the growth of home ownership in the United States since 1990. In 1993 it was 63 percent; by the end of the Clinton administration it was 68 percent. The growth in the Bush administration was about 1 percent. The Times itself reported in 1999 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were under pressure from the Clinton administration to increase lending to minorities and low-income home buyers--a policy that necessarily entailed higher risks. Can there really be a question, other than in the fevered imagination of the Times, where the push to reduce lending standards and boost home ownership came from?

      The fact is that neither political party, and no administration, is blameless; the honest answer, as outlined below, is that government policy over many years caused this problem. The regulators, in both the Clinton and Bush administrations, were the enforcers of the reduced lending standards that were essential to the growth in home ownership and the housing bubble.

      THERE ARE TWO KEY EXAMPLES of this misguided government policy. One is the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The other is the affordable housing “mission” that the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were charged with fulfilling.

      As originally enacted in 1977, the CRA vaguely mandated regulators to consider whether an insured bank was serving the needs of the “whole” community. For 16 years, the act was invoked rather infrequently, but 1993 marked a decisive turn in its enforcement. What changed?

      Substantial media and political attention was showered upon a 1992 Boston Federal Reserve Bank study of discrimination in home mortgage lending. This study concluded that, while there was no overt discrimination in banks’ allocation of mortgage funds, loan officers gave whites preferential treatment. The methodology of the study has since been questioned, but at the time it was highly influential with regulators and members of the incoming Clinton administration; in 1993, bank regulators initiated a major effort to reform the CRA regulations.

      In 1995, the regulators created new rules that sought to establish objective criteria for determining whether a bank was meeting CRA standards. Examiners no longer had the discretion they once had. For banks, simply proving that they were looking for qualified buyers wasn’t enough. Banks now had to show that they had actually made a requisite number of loans to low- and moderate-income (LMI) borrowers. The new regulations also required the use of “innovative or flexible” lending practices to address credit needs of LMI borrowers and neighborhoods. Thus, a law that was originally intended to encourage banks to use safe and sound practices in lending now required them to be “innovative” and “flexible.” In other words, it called for the relaxation of lending standards, and it was the bank regulators who were expected to enforce these relaxed standards.

      The effort to reduce mortgage lending standards was led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development through the 1994 National Homeownership Strategy, published at the request of President Clinton. Among other things, it called for “financing strategies, fueled by the creativity and resources of the private and public sectors, to help homeowners that lack cash to buy a home or to make the payments.” Once the standards were relaxed for low-income borrowers, it would seem impossible to deny these benefits to the prime market. Indeed, bank regulators, who were in charge of enforcing CRA standards, could hardly disapprove of similar loans made to better-qualified borrowers.

      Sure enough, according to data published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, from 2001 through 2006, the share of all mortgage originations that were made up of conventional mortgages (that is, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that had always been the mainstay of the U.S. mortgage market) fell from 57.1 percent in 2001 to 33.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006. Correspondingly, sub-prime loans (those made to borrowers with blemished credit) rose from 7.2 percent to 18.8 percent, and Alt-A loans (those made to speculative buyers or without the usual underwriting standards) rose from 2.5 percent to 13.9 percent. Although it is difficult to prove cause and effect, it is highly likely that the lower lending standards required by the CRA influenced what banks and other lenders were willing to offer to borrowers in prime markets. Needless to say, most borrowers would prefer a mortgage with a low down payment requirement, allowing them to buy a larger home for the same initial investment.

      The problem is summed up succinctly by Stan Liebowitz of the University of Texas at Dallas:

      From the current handwringing, you’d think that the banks came up with the idea of looser underwriting standards on their own, with regulators just asleep on the job. In fact, it was the regulators who relaxed these standards--at the behest of community groups and "progressive" political forces.… For years, rising house prices hid the default problems since quick refinances were possible. But now that house prices have stopped rising, we can clearly see the damage done by relaxed loan standards.

      The point here is not that low-income borrowers received mortgage loans that they could not afford. That is probably true to some extent but cannot account for the large number of sub-prime and Alt-A loans that currently pollute the banking system. It was the spreading of these looser standards to the prime loan market that vastly increased the availability of credit for mortgages, the speculation in housing, and ultimately the bubble in housing prices.

      IN 1992, AN AFFORDABLE housing mission was added to the charters of Fannie and Freddie, which--like the CRA--permitted Congress to subsidize LMI housing without appropriating any funds. A 1997 Urban Institute report found that local and regional lenders seemed more willing than the GSEs to serve creditworthy low- to moderate-income and minority applicants. After this, Fannie and Freddie modified their automated underwriting systems to accept loans with characteristics that they had previously rejected. This opened the way for large numbers of nontraditional and sub-prime mortgages. These did not necessarily come from traditional banks, lending under the CRA, but from lenders like Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest sub-prime and nontraditional mortgage lender and a firm that would become infamous for consistently pushing the envelope on acceptable underwriting standards.

      Fannie and Freddie used their affordable housing mission to avoid additional regulation by Congress, especially restrictions on the accumulation of mortgage portfolios (today totaling approximately $1.6 trillion) that accounted for most of their profits. The GSEs argued that if Cong

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I think what TT was trying to say was that if the People allow the Conservatives to have their way to it's logical conclusion, the Constitution will be replaced by the more acceptable, to them, Articles of Confederation which was the goal of the anti-federalists, and the United States as we know it today, would devolve down to 50 independent states held loosely and ineffectively together by a weak Constitution who, more than likely would end up going to war with each other.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      and that, Will, is where you have it wrong, so very wrong in your facts. First, a little edumacation -

      Freddie and Fannie's original purpose was to stimulate the mortgage industry back before sub-prime was even a concept in anybody's mind. The goal was to provide a ready market for lenders to sell their mortgages, fully backed mortgages with people of wonderful credit, in order to raise more capital to make more mortgages; with one caveat though; those lenders kept an interest in those mortgages; if they went south, it wasn't Freddie and Fannie left holding the bag, it was the original lender. Consequently, the original lender had every incentive in the world to make good, solid loans.

      With deregulation, all of that changed; but not relative to Freddie and Fannie, most of those rules stayed the same but were definitely relaxed. What did changed in a BIG way was that banks could become investment agencies, risking their borrowers money (with the repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act) and financial institutions could become banks and originators of loans.

      Here is the greatest kicker, Will. Conservative deregulation no longer required the originator of mortgages to keep a financial interest in the mortgages they made!!! THAT, Will, is why the disreputable banks (read that as the BIG banks) really didn't give a damn whether the borrow even had a job; the Conservative government no longer required them to check and they could bundle their mortgages away until they disappeared into thin air and have NO RISK if they defaulted.

      Now, back to these bundles. Yes, Fannie and Freddie bought some, a small percentage of those and because of the standards they still held, there record on defaults was BETTER (which I noticed you ignored earlier) than any of your vaunted private financial institutions; it still is better, whether you like it or not or want to believe it or not.

      So, if F & F didn't buy most of the bundles, who did? Why the private financial institutions did hoping to make quick profits by slicing-and-dicing them and selling all of these weird sounding derivitives that either bet the package of loans would be good or would be bad. Other people swapped credit on the assumption that housing prices would never fall. How much did these PRIVATE institutions buy? How about 70% of all sub-prime mortgages.

      You can huff and you can puff all you want to about Fannie and Freddie; all you are going to do is get faint and never see the truth of the matter.

    • CMerritt profile image
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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      @Twilliams

      I would like to follow up with Will Starr's rebuttal, with my own.....

      HUH?

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Huh?

    • profile image

      Twilliams 6 years ago

      Your thoughts are good and pure. But, sadly stuck in the 18th century. The US government does do things it should not, but that is just a matter of downsizing. If you turn everything back to the states, use move the corruption there too. We end up with a massive lack of coordination across the board. This the the United States of America, not the Aligned States of America. Look at the EU today, that is what would happen.

      Your goals are good, but outdated for the 21st century.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Freddie and Fannie were the brainchildren of Democrats, created to put those who could not afford a home into a home they could not afford. They then, vote for Democrats!

      When they eventually default, the taxpayer picks up the tab. Neat, huh?

      In the meantime, lenders made a fortune (until the whole thing collapsed!)

      http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4264060n

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I too read the report and formed my own conclusions. Of course the Democrats did not take responsibility for Freddie, Fannie, and the CRA! Did anyone really think they would?

      And BTW, perhaps you can explain to us why anyone, including so-called "predatory lenders' would loan their good money to those whom they knew could never pay it back! They only did it because they thought they could bundle all that toxic stuff and sell it to Freddie and Fannie. But then, both Freddie and Fannie went belly up when the housing bubble burst, and the banks were left holding the bag. That's why we had to bail them out!

      But you know all this. You just don't want to admit it.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @WillStarr, I actually, I didn't use the conclusions of the report, (can you give me the exact count of dissenting Conservatives, btw?) I just simply read the report AND the dissenting opinion, including Wallison's. THEN I formed my OWN conclusion based on the FACTS, ALL of the facts, presented; so what the Democrats or the Republicans, if there were any, or the Conservatives thought was not relevant.

      I must say, I did get some good giggles out of Wallison's arguments and "logic", which works, when you consider ONLY the facts he chose to analyze; he conviniently missed a few. The total data shows that Freddie and Fannie simply didn't have enough clout to cause what happened; they ended up being, what, 20 to 25% of all the subprime mortgages out there by 2008 (don't quote me on those numbers but I think they are close to being right) with them having the LOWEST default rate of those making subprime loans. You need to find the right boogy-man ... private, predatory sub-prime lenders, hedge-fund managers in for the quick buck, and unethical banks and financial institutions successfully ripping the government and the public off for billions.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Have you actually read the "The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report, Authorized Edition: Final Report of the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis in the United States"?

      The conclusion voiced by the 6 Democrats or the ones by the dissenting Republicans?

      Gee, the Dems exonerated themselves! Imagine that!

      "The fourth Republican-appointed commissioner, Peter Wallison, released his own dissenting opinion, blaming the crisis on the U.S. government's promotion of homeownership via quasi-governmental mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

      Wallison, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, criticized the panel's work as biased."

      http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/27/business/l...

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @WillStarr - Then explain to us why is it you, whom I presume to be on the Right, is the only one doing the defining??

      Have you actually read the "The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report, Authorized Edition: Final Report of the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis in the United States"? I have read a good bit of it and know of what I am talking including having access to all of the references they use, so, I am neither "ignorant" nor "dishonest" regarding these issues; do you have such an authority to back your claims? I suspect not, else you would have produced it by now instead of making wild accusations which is normally the tacked taken by one who has run out of facts and knows he isn't speaking the truth, but only repeating what he has been told to believe.

      As to being dishonest, I suggest you go back and read the string of comments very carefully to see who is defining what "general Welfare" is or is not; I certainly haven't, as you are CLEARLY aware. The only ones providing a definition are you and a few others by presuming that I mean "general Welfare" definitely includes, as you put it " 'confiscate earned wealth and redistribute it to those who did not earn it, in exchange for Democrat votes'." You, my friend, are the ones who are making those assumptions, not me. To me, "general Welfare" means whatever the courts finally determine it to mean within the context of the Constitution where, as I also pointed out doesn't define it either! The courts, both Conservative (which most in the history of the US have been) and Liberal, have done this on many occasions now, mostly going against your point of view.

      So, I will try to make it simpler for you; all the Constitution does is provides the means and Power for Congress to "promote the general Welfare". How Congress wishes to interpret that is up to them, the Supreme Court, and the People who elect the Representatives to Congress. Ultimately, if the People WANT it to mean 'confiscate earned wealth and redistribute it to those who did not earn it", then that is what it will mean, if the People DO NOT WANT it mean that, then it won't.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      The left always claims the exclusive right to define terms. Therefore, according to them, 'provide for the general welfare' becomes 'confiscate earned wealth and redistribute it to those who did not earn it, in exchange for Democrat votes'.

      The entire recession was initiated by the collapse of Democrat created, Freddie, Fannie, and the CRA, with their ludicrous mandates to banks to make risky, sub-prime loans to those who could not afford to repay the loan.

      Denying that is either appallingly ignorant or appallingly dishonest

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      My, my, go away for a day or two, and the comments doubled, see what happens when you are away, CMerritt, lol. Starting from the latest and working backwards.

      Generations of welfare recipients used to be the buzz-word and whipping boy of the Right, and rightly so, even though the number of them were miniscule when compared to the whole. However, I no longer think those anecdotes work anymore, not since the compromise between Clinton and the Conservatives on welfare reform in the late 1990s; the best I can tell such cases are now pretty rare.

      We always talk about government waste and corruption and it absolutely exists, it will in any large organization private or public; my own company has a lot of waste in it which I could get rid of if I had perfect managers and enough money to spend on oversight, but, I don't, so I have to tolerate waste and some corruption of my employees; btw my company is only 40 people big, not a few million. What I never hear from the Right is all of the corruption in the private world such as we experienced in the financial industry from 2005 - 2009, in Enron, in all of those companies who poisoned Lake Erie, in the tobacco industry who purposely lied to the government and the People which resulted in countless "you pick a very large number" of avoidable deaths, and my list goes on and on. How come the Right NEVER gets upset or complains about that?

      Can someone please point out the verbage in the Constitution where the government "shall be limited"! It simply doesn't do that, the writers of Constitution didn't want the government to have "limited" powers. It was a mantra of the anti-federalists, those colonialists who DID NOT WANT there to be a United States of America as envisioned by the framers of today's Constitution, in their campaign to defeat the ratification of the Constitution and it is the mantra of the Conservatives and the Tea Party today. Show me where James Madison, George Washington, John Adams, hell, even Thomas Jefferson proponents all of the Constitution, ever talked of "limited" government in the sense the Conservatives speak of it today.

      Fannie, Freddie, and the CRA and almost insignificant impact on the housing bubble and even less of an impact on the actual 2008 Bush recession. Just read the first 100 pages, it is an easy read, of "Financial Crisis Inquiry Report" (you can find it on my hub on recessions) and you will see that the finger points directly at a greedy and out of control PRIVATE financial sector and a Conservative Alan Greenspan not believing his beloved philosophy wasn't actually working and being blind to all of the red flags waving around him.

      I suppose it is possible that if foodstamps stopped as well as any other government intervention (Grover Cleveland would love you), not one person would actually starve to death, although I wouldn't bet my paycheck on it, the misery index in the country would definitely go skyhigh. And if you think the private sector would jump in and replace what was just lost, think again; they won't, they can't; if they had in the past, effectively, there wouldn't have been government programs in the first place. I know Conservatives would have rather left the people of Joplin, MO to fend for themselves and hope some private organization might stop by to help, but I can't accept that, even though in 1893, that is exactly what President Grover Cleveland believed as he let most of the Texas farmers wither away and go bankrupt by denying federal aid during the worst depression America has known until then while in the middle of one of the most devastating droughts Texas has seen.

      Sometime back, I heard the President and CEO of Enron bragging, not in so many words of course, about how much money he earned screwing investors and vendors and employess out of everything they had ... so what is your point @WillStarr?

      @CMerritt - government alone can never solve problems of those in need, it has never pretended that it could; it requires the active involvement of private individuals, such as you describe, social orgainzation, religious orgainzations, philanthrophists, corporations all across the nation; it is that huge of a problem. But likewise, all of those individuals and organizations can't do it alone either. Without government providing the backbone of the support system, there is no coordination, no continuity, no fairness, no nothing other than a multitude of good-hearted people and organizaions trying to do the right thing; often getting in each others way, being redundent here and leaving holes there. My point is, it doesn't work leaving it up to the private sector; it can't work because the problem is too huge.

      OK, Finally, back to where I left off, "general Welfare." CMerritt, respectfully, you are putting words in the framers mouths, so to speak (write?), when you try to define what they meant or didn't mean by the term "general Welfare." All the Constitution says regarding that is that the government must promote it. The rest of the Articles in the Constitution then define how they do that with Sections 1, 8, and 9 of Article I; and Article III are the parts that are pertanent; with Article III being the rules regarding the judiciary. Section 8, Article I is the most important and while it lays out a whole bunch of specifics, it ends with this statement "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper in carrying into Execution the forgoing Powers, AND ALL OTHER POWERS vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof. That doesn't sound like "limited" to me and we are still left with the Supreme Court having to decide what the framers meant by "general Welfare"; presumably they will take into account your interpretation as well as mine.

      Whew!

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      OP, as always your wisdom comes to the forefront. Nobody likes a bum, freeloader, regardless of from where they come. I really believe that if we tightened the belt on the abusers a great deal more of the profligate spending and appropriations for such spending would go away.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 6 years ago

      You know I have to throw my two cents in on this one. There is no single race or class of people who milk the system, but individuals from every race and class. Most government run programs are so large and unwieldy, that control of the system is lost at an early stage. Employees within the system even coach applicants on how to best answer the questions so they can be "entitled" to the maximum benefits. Why do they do this? Because this is their rice bowl so to speak. When people quit applying for welfare, they are out of a job.

      There are families who have been on welfare programs for so long, they even teach their children how to maximize their benefits rather than teaching them a good work ethic.

      But, this is no worse than those who live in Manhattan or other large cities who have figured out how to get farm subsidies. Almost every government run program is riddled with waste and corruption. It is just too darn big to control.

    • CMerritt profile image
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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Credence, it is a 100% typo by a person who is not an accomplished writer, but one who is prone to making too many typo's...I sometimes get in too big of hurry.

      That would make a good pun, but I did not do it with a pun intended...

      :)

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      C, As always I appreciate your considered responses and dialogue.

      "soul cuprits" nice pun or is it a just a typo?

    • CMerritt profile image
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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Cred, I am quite certain you do NOT want abuse either, but the ramifications of these Big Government programs are indeed, abuse and corruption. Our government was not designed to be a big business. It was designed to ba a limited government with limited powers.

      This goes for all government ran agencies, NOT just the entitlement programs.

      I also want to make it clear that I am not singling out black, inner city kids as the soul culprits...as I can point out probably MORE cases of white people who have "Milking the System" to an art.

      thank YOU cred2 for your continued input.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Greetings C.Merritt OK, quoting you: "I also say, that if 100% of foodstamps was to come to a grinding stop tomorrow.......not ONE person would starve to death, without government intervention".

      Really, I am not so confident of that

      I believe in social security and temporary social welfare as justified and warranted unless you want to return to a pre-New Deal America. Barack Obama did not invent all these things, it is odd to me that 75 years of policy as seen as negative by the right is put at his doorstep, very suspicious indeed.

      America's image of the problem with social programs is always focused on the inner city ghetto kid, that is not the big picture but the attitude does paint a picture for many of us on the left as to the true nature of this disaffection with Government from many on the other side.

      For heavens sake, C, I want no abuse in this area no more than I want it in defense expenditures, corporate tax breaks and everything else

      Thanks Cred2

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      The current crisis is the direct result of leftist Democrats meddling with the housing market, using Fannie, Freddie, and the CRA to create an inflated price bubble that finally collapsed. Bush, of course, took the blame, but it was actually leftist Democrats.

      Barack Obama declared that he was going to 'fundamentally transform' America, and he certainly did. We are now downgraded as a borrower, headed for third world status, and openly mocked by tyrannical regimes, all thanks to his socialistic methods and weak leadership.

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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Credence....this is NOT just about ONE inner city kid...and YOU know as well as I do, this problem is huge.

      I am not saying that all liberals are trying to capitalize off of the poor, but I am without doubt, sure, that the very ideology of this entitlement mentality that is strongly supported by many liberals is creating a negative atmosphere in many neighborhoods and household across this nation.

      There is NOTHING dishonest or disegenuous of those who want this mentality and form of corruption to go away. It is wrong to continue to pump taxpayers dollars into these systems.

      I also say, that if 100% of foodstamps was to come to a grinding stop tomorrow.......not ONE person would starve to death, without government intervention.

      I'm also not suggesting that is must be stopped, because it has and can be very detrimental to many, many needy folks....but it is HIGH time that some real measures be taken to end the abuse of some good things that are being done.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Contrary to the predominent opinion here, problems in this society of poverty and depravation are not created by the left and Democrats. In this vaunted free-enterprise, capitalist system, there are a lot of losers, particularly now. Charity alone is not going to address the multitude of problems. Where there is abuse in how the programs are administered is should be corrected promptly. So who is against that?

      The opinion of one inner city kid is not the rule for millions of other people on the dole at this time. It is dishonest and disegenuous to suggest otherwise.

      As a tax paying citizen who happens to be Black, I have plenty of reasons to vote against the GOP outside the fact of whether or not people are receiving hands out, you can trust me on that!

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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      I too, have heard of similar stories and have witnessed some obvious abuse. Will, it is stories like such that only makes me believe that Common Sense MUST be re-installed into our government. This whole hub was partial in jest, but a large part of me feels this is something that is long over due...and if we don't get a handle on it soon, it will be our demise.

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      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Chris,

      Sometime back, I watched a network piece on life in the ghetto. One young man of less than 21 years was bragging on how many children he had fathered. When asked how he could possibly support so many children, he looked at the interviewer in surprised amazement. He then said, "I don't support them! That's what government is for!"

      He was obviously very sincere in that belief, and that's why ghetto life is perpetual, from generation to generation.

      And they all vote for Democrats.

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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Will, I know for a fact that many close and personal friends of mine that are conservative are amazing supporters of those less fortunate...and I know some very liberal acquaintances of mine who are of the mind that charity is the governments role, not theirs.

      On a personal level, I have decided NOT to give money to those who approach me for food, but I have and will continue to buy them groceries or a sandwich if they ask me, and convince me they are honestly in need of food.

      With a family of my own, I have to be as frugal as possible, but I cannot turn down someone who IS hungry.

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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Rachel,

      I agree with you, I know there are so many out there that truly need help, but the bad apples have spoiled the cart. Liberals has found this a way to keep votes in their back pockets, by keeping people under their thumb.

      Thanks for your comments

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Could it be that voluntary forms of charity decline as redistribution of wealth is enforced?"

      That's exactly what has happened, but mostly among the left! Contrary to common belief, conservatives are far more generous than liberals in giving of their own money:

      http://dailycaller.com/2010/09/23/surprise-conserv...

      Liberals often cite government 'charity' as their reason for not giving.

    • rachellrobinson profile image

      rachellrobinson 6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      CMerritt, I don't mind helping out the poor, but a few years back this lady started bragging to me how she didn't have to get a job because she knew how to work the system, she got foodstamps, help out at the food banks, had the State helping her with her electric and phone... etc. and it made me mad. I have a harder time giving donations now to the food bank knowing that someone like her who doesn't need it because she is quiet capable of getting a job is taking advantage of a taxed system. Perhaps that is just me, and I am not a good charitable person, but I think if there was a way to monitor and keep the fraud out of even the food banks people would be more willing to donate.

      Rachel

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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      OP, I think it may very well be the case for many folks.

      I think the abuse by many of gov handout recipients has left a bad taste in many mouths of those who at one time was eager donors to helping the "least of these".

      And maybe it is just an excuse not to give, but the harsh reality is, many folks are tired of having a good portion of their paychecks given to the government with a sizeable chunk given to "entitlement" programs.

      I also think today's CHURCH has passed on it's main responsiblities in caring for the poor because of the governments intervention....many church's (in my opinion)have become MORE interested in building "country clubs" than tending to the "least of these" as commanded.

      just my observation of course.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 6 years ago

      In reading these comments, a question came to mind. Could it be that voluntary forms of charity decline as redistribution of wealth is enforced? Many who don't mind helping others would view this as paying twice?

    • CMerritt profile image
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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Peg,

      Thanks for your comments.....you gave some great examples of what this whole common sense thing is to be about..

      :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Whew! That was a long string of comments, but definitely worth the read. What a great country we have where we can all have our points of view and be able to freely debate the issues.

      The DoCS has long been overdue and definitely a department we need to have in place. Trouble has always been that common sense is all too uncommon. Your proposed candidates for office sound like reasonable citizens.

      What I think we need is more clarity and simplicity with the bills that are being passed. Too much pork is being hidden in the folds of legislation that may have orignally been a good thing until this one or that one added "their part" to a good thing and the scratching each other's back comes into play.

      I like what was said earlier about Ronnie Reagan who in his speaches at least gave us a ray of hope for a better world view, not just more mud slinging at the other party - as if a President should have a party. How can someone lead when it's always about Us against Them?

      What Monette said really brings it home about baby factories who expect the government to support their children when their own baby daddies won't. The principle stands: what gets rewarded gets done. If there is a reward for having another baby, then there is the incentive.

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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      @ My Esoteric,

      As you know, I have 100% respect for you, as you are always a gentleman, and offer your opinions as well written and researched...and I appreciate you stopping by to comment.

      But, I know it will not come as any surprise to you as I strongly support the logic given by Will Starr.

      The part in particular stating that our government will "promote the general welfare" does not ever remotely suggest that tax dollars should be given to anyone who does not have a job.

      The term "promote"...by it's meaning tells us to encourage and advance....."general" means a non-specific group...."welfare"..the well-being and health.

      It does not mean to redistribute money from one group or groups of Americans and give it to another group who may be less fortunate.

      That is charity, if that is what the forefathers intended, they would have stated so.

      Americans at one time were extremely charitable and it was an unwritten and accepted responsibility to take care of your neighbor...to take care of the "least of these".........we now have a group who should be called the "free for these".

      Part of this Dept of Common Sense would be to overlook who is receiving funds that are fraudulently abusing such monies.

      at least that is the way that I clearly see it.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      The liberals of Constitutional days are the conservatives of today.

      In any case, there's no historical evidence that the Founding Fathers supported the far-left nonsense of income redistribution, no matter how much you try to claim they did. They believed in just the opposite...private property rights.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Sorry, My Esoteric, could not help but to overhear. I wanted to step in and add a word or two, but it is obvious that you have everything under control!

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      BTW @WillStarr, you have it about 180 degrees backwards on this individual liberty thing; you will be hard pressed to find very many places in history where Conservatives, those that have their roots in the anti-Federalists of the 1790s, those that like to call themselves States-Rightists, actually are shown to favor individual freedoms. It is the freedom of the State from the Central government that is what concerns them most including to dictate what the state religion is going to be; that was a huge part of the fight between Federalists and anti-Federalists back in the day; the States-Rightists were very fearful those damned liberals like George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, et al. were going to take way their right to have a state Christian theocracy.

      Your forefathers believed in individual rights so much that you, if you were not a Christian in good standing, were not allowed to hold or be elected to a State office in 12 of the 13 colonies; there were many other such religious based restictions on freedom as well, depending on the state. The only individual right the Conservatives find sancrosanct is the right for an individual to bear arms; all other basic rights of Americans and humans have come under attack at one time or another by Conservatives including the right to a jury, a right to a defense council, the right to a free press, the right to raise your own child, and the list goes on.

      The Constitution, along with the Bill of Rights, was drawn up by the Liberals and Progressives of their time, not Conservatives. The Conservatives did their damndest to stop this country from ever being.

      Show me in history how, what I just said, is wrong. Try to prove to me the anti-federalist, to whom I can now trace back the Conservatives of today, are liberals and that John Adams and James Madison were individual freedom loving Conservatives.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @WillStarr - nope, I read "promote the general Welfare" for exactly what it says, no more, no less. What I am saying is, that, however Congress interprets that wonderous phrase (as it relates to the general meaning of welfare, meaning well-being, and not the particular meaning you give it of "hand-outs to the poor"), the Constitution, X Amendment and all, provides Congress with the power to act on that interpretation, so long as it doesn't violate any rights or powers granted speficically to the States or which the Supreme Court, which has done so on several occassions in the past, determines a particular issue falls within the perview of the States. I make no assumption as to what writers of the Constitution actually meant by "general Welfare".

      For my personal view, I don't believe it means "individual welfare, per se", as you put it; nor do I believe they are just throw-away or feel-good words the framers put in there for the hell of it as the Tea Party/Conservatives and what use to be called Bourbon Democrats (Grover Cleveland) appear, at least through their rhetoric, believe. My personal opinion is that it definitely allows for and, in fact, makes the federal government responsible for providing relief in times of great distress to the general populus, or significant segments of it, when that relief is for the good of the whole or is a moral necessity.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      BTW, claiming that 'promote the general welfare' means 'income redistribution', is what is so very wrong with liberalism.

      To liberals like My Esoteric, words mean whatever they want them to mean, and in their view, the Constitution is a rubber document to be twisted and contorted until they can claim whatever their agenda requires.

      Liberals sneer at at the notion of Constitutional restrictions on government and laugh at the individual freedoms and liberties the Constitution promises to protect. To the left, individual freedom is something to be suppressed, and complete government control is something to be admired.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      So now, words mean nothing?

      Where in ""promote the general Welfare", do you read 'grant individual welfare'?

      Where in the Constitution do you see a declaration that those who did not earn it have more right to it than those who did earn it?

      Again, either the Constitution means what it says, or we have moved into an age of leftist tyranny.

      (And you know what Jefferson said about tyrants.)

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      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @Old Poolman. I am not sure I am up to tackling that one but I am, slowing, working on a history of political parties ... now there is something that will make your eyes cross and head spin! I have lost count of how many political party names I would have belonged to since 1797 without having changed my political stance once, lol.

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      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @WillStarr, I figured you would bring up the X Amendment, a creation of that great liberal James Madison. Yes, you are very right, it said those words, it had to in order to appease the anti-federalists who would not have ratified the Constitution without a promise to pass a Bill of Rights which contained such a phrase.

      Having said all of that, the key phrase, and I started writing this in my original response, but decided to wait until this one, is "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution ...". It is that phrase which leads to all of the debate and controversy. In the view of most scholars and Supreme Court Justices, the writers of the Constitution intended to give the central government broad authority when it came to matters that crossed state boundaries. Why do you think the X Amendment wasn't part of the original document? In reading Article 1 of the Constitution, I don't see much that talks about LIMITED government at all and that is where much of the "delegated power" information is located; if it does, can you point it out to me?

      What the Constitution does do is direct (delegate?) the government to "promote the general Welfare" and, to me at least, it is an easy jump from that to Congress devising various forms of wealth redistribution (including tax breaks for special corporations) to do so, don't you see.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "@WillStarr - please point out to me where, in the U.S. Constitution that it prohibits, or even suggests, that wealth redistribution is not authorizied"

      Sure. It's in the Tenth Amendment:

      "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

      So where was the power to redistribute wealth delegated? (Don't bother to look, because it's not there!)

      The whole purpose of the Constitution was to grant the new federal government certain LIMITED powers, while still protecting the rights, liberties, and freedoms of the people. Since it did not grant government the power to redistribute wealth, government is violating the Constitutional rights of the people by doing so anyway.

      If government can freely violate the right of the people who have earned money by claiming that those who did not earn it have more right to it than the earners, what good is a Constitution? Where is this Constitutional preamble protection?:

      "We the People of the United States, in Order to....secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 6 years ago

      @My Esoteric - Thanks for coming back. It is getting increasingly more difficult to determine what is really being said with all the new buzz words. We now call government "spending" government "investing" and that makes it OK. I wish someone would write a hub with definitions for all the new words that replace the old words that are now viewed in a negative fashion. Tax is tax, spending is spending, welfare is welfare, and corruption is corruption. You are so correct, it is not just one party who is mastering this new use of the English Language, it is all of them.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @Old Poolman, I understand your point on semantics; clearly, the tax code doesn't call it what it is, but then, when has any politician, left or right, ever called anything by its proper name. I fall of my chair laughing at some of the disingenuous names the Democrats, Republicans, and Conservatives come up with for their bills.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @WillStarr - please point out to me where, in the U.S. Constitution that it prohibits, or even suggests, that wealth redistribution is not authorizied. Show me where that is even a topic of coversation in the Constitution. Remember, I can show you where, in the Constitution, Congress (the President doesn't really have a dog in this particular fight) is given broad latitude to do all those things necessary to 1) establish Justice, 2) provide for domestic Tranquility, 3) provide for the common defense, 4) promote the general Welfare, and 5) secure the Blessings of Liberty (the capitalization is correct, btw).

      If you can, then maybe we will have a basis for discussion.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Would you rather they not work so that they don't qualify for the credit?"

      I would rather that Congress and the president adhere to the delegated powers actually enumerated/granted by the Constitution, and wealth redistribution is not authorized.

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      Old Poolman 6 years ago

      My Esoteric - That is a darn good question. No, Of course I would not not prefer they don't work. I truly wish there was a good paying job available for all those who want to work for a living. My objection is only that this is called a refund, when the recipient receives more in return than he paid into the system. If it is welfare, call it welfare, not a tax refund or earned income credit. This falls right in with all those who claim that no corporation pays income tax when most of them do.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @Oldpoolman, you said "When individuals can get tax refunds when they never paid taxes, our system is broken." I have seen this comment many times before and thought I would take this opportunity to address it.

      The fact that exists doesn't mean our system is broken, it simply means that was one method Congress chose to provide welfare to the "working" poor with an emphasis on the "working".

      People who do not work, cannot receive this credit for they have to file an income tax form and show earned income to qualify. There is no question this is a form of welfare, but, it is a form of incentivized welfare that encourages people to work.

      Would you rather they not work so that they don't qualify for the credit?

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @Caltex - because FEDEX and UPS aren't required to deliver mail to towns on a daily basis that may have 100 people in them and are located 80 miles from a town that has 5000. The USPS is. If your FEDEX and UPS and the same requirements as the USPS did, they would be losing money as well; just not as much maybe. Either that, or you would be paying $1.50 to mail a first class letter.