Monday, November 10, 2008

Is one Minnesota Congresswoman going too far to say Thank You ?

Following Tim Walz election victory in November, 2006, he launched a “Thank You” tour of cities – large and small -- throughout the First District. The New Ulm Journal wrote : “The common-sense, pragmatic people of southern Minnesota are ones you should look to on what they’re going to do so I’m honored to be your representative there,” Walz told a gathering of about 60 in the Grand Hotel. “We won, and for that I’m incredibly proud. So, it was a great day the other night. Electoral politics still works in America. This is still the best democracy in the world. It doesn’t matter what you were up against. The people here in this country decided they wanted to see a change, and each and every one of you did everything possible to make that change. It wasn’t for yourselves; it was for those future generations.”

That tour wasn’t the last time that voters would see Congressman Walz … sure he was there when there was a natural disaster … but he was also there at Hy-Vee groceries stores throughout the District – talking with citizens regardless if they voted for him. He also held hearings in the District on the Farm Bill, legislation for seniors and legislation for Veterans. That’s why Walz was overwhelmingly re-elected winning every county and taking 678 out of 749 precincts.

There is another member of Congress who is about to go on her own “Thank You” tour.
The Star-Tribune reports : Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, the trip will be what a Bachmann staffer referred to as “just your basic educational Israel trip.” The excursion will last for all of next week, but she isn’t expected to meet with any VIPs while there.
So, why is Congresswoman Bachmann taking another trip to Israel ?

Could it be to make a formal “Thank You” to her contributors … which have earned Bachmann a slot in the Top Ten of PAC Contributions in 2008.

Taking junkets to Israel to develop some future business for Minnesota firms is cited by Governor Tim Pawlenty as his reason for taking a Jewish Community Relations Council trip. Considering Israel and America have been active trading partners, it may not be an earth shattering event … as would be a Pawlenty mission to Cuba (which Govenor Ventura did and considering a new Obama Administration, it is more likely to develop new Minnesota businesses opportunties first.)

But Bachmann’s reasoning - “just your basic educational Israel trip” - just doesn’t make sense … . In August of 2007 Bachmann went on a privately funded trip sponsored by the America Israel Education Federation (AIEF) to Israel. On that trip, she met with foreign leaders.
How many trips does the Congresswoman need to take to get “just your basic education”?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she hopes Congress can return this month to approve spending measures to stimulate the depressed economy. The election campaign may be an excuse for Congresswoman Bachman to miss Congressional hearings regarding the roll of Congress in the failure to regulate credit default swaps. But there is no excuse for not being there after the election. Of course, if Bachmann had attended the hearing, she may have learned that her misguided blaming of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) as being the driving force for the credit crisis with her allegation that "loans started being made on the basis of race, and often on little else" was refuted. There are three reasons to exonerate the Community Reinvestment Act in the mortgage meltdown:
• The CRA applies to banks. Most subprime mortgages came from lenders that were not banks -- so the CRA did not cover them.
• The nonbank lenders made more reckless lending decisions than banks did.
• Regulations didn't drive the subprime lending boom. The pursuit of profits did.
But then again, we don’t know what “Thank You" tour, Congresswoman Bachmann has for her contributors from the Banking Industries.

When voters went to the polls last week, the message was loud and clear --- we want action … and Bachmann is enjoying junkets.

1 comment:

Jim Durbin said...

About the CRA - it's a bit more complicated. Relaxed lending standards from the Clinton era led to the erosion of all lending standards. After all, if the government said it was okay to do no money down, low interest ARM's for one group, how can the bank not give them to all groups.

Speculators jumped all over these, and with Fannie/Freddie buying up the loans from places like Countrywide (who gave sweetheart deals with Democratic Senators) as they reaped in profits and diversity awards, the states with restrictive land zoning saw huge spikes in prices.

So to say that CRA loans caused the problem is untrue. To say that CRA lending practices urged by the government and backed with the full faith and credit of the US Treasury is responsible is a lot closer to the truth.

The banks that survived did so because of the deregulation in banking, and the CDS market is so incredibly complex, no one really knew how to regulate it - which is why Greenspan said it was a good thing.

Okay. Did everyone get all that?