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    Dear Sen. Murray: Please don't feed the rats

    Here goes a rant about the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. Washington Sen. Patty Murray voted in favor, and this scribe is not pleased.
    Sen. Patty Murray

    Sen. Patty Murray

    I received a gracious note from U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the other day, explaining why taxpayers, acting through our elected representatives, had to "take action" to rescue the credit market. I presume it was the work of staffers, as I have been to her office and it is a fine, well-oiled machine with layers of well-informed insulation between the busy senator and her snorty but loyal constituency.

    Despite her antipathy toward the redneck small business owners who drive the "little" economies outside King County, I've been a fan of Sen. Murray. Her record of supporting veterans' issues alone is enough to earn my vote, but Congress crossed a line this week. The House reversed itself and approved the Wall Street bailout on Friday, Oct. 3, with the Senate — sadly, including Murray — leading the way with a yes vote on Wednesday.

    All over Capitol Hill, lobbyists had been jumping up and down on the desks of Congress, screaming about financial Armageddon. The chickens had come home to roost. Not the chickens slaughtered by the banking industry, but the implicit obligation your Congress owes to their employers — and that ain't you, Mr. and Ms. Everyman.

    Rather, Murray referenced the truly needy folk of Washington. Her rationale for voting in favor of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008: "Companies like Weyerhaeuser, Microsoft, and Avista have made it clear that something must be done."

    That tells you everything you need to know. Your senators were called by their biggest supporters to return the thousands of favors and contributions they've enjoyed over the years — and they lined up in close formation to heed that call.

    What we simpletons need to understand, as we watch this epochal check being written on our account, is that the wolf is at the door. Washington Mutual went up in smoke. What more proof could you need? Sen. Murray tells me that WaMu was "unable to withstand the crisis." Could that be because the bank refused to audit its own mortgage portfolios for honest valuations (stupid) and snatched up junk housing paper at the top of the market (and greedy)?

    Once upon a time, we were told that brick and mortar banks would be replaced with electronic digital enterprises. WaMu decided to build an edifice of playing cards, instead. It was a biggish house of cards, too: the sixth-largest bank in the U.S. on the day it cased its colors and was seized by regulators. Woo-hoo!

    Certain important taxpayers were unharmed. Alan Fishman, Washington Mutual's interim CEO, got a $7.5 million signing bonus for the eighteen 18 days he spent on the job shepherding a failing thrift into oblivion. Citizen Alan would have "withstood the crisis" just fine.

    Did anyone notice what actually happened to WaMu? The Federal Deposit INsurance Corp. protected its depositors, per plan, and WaMu's assets were brokered into the market at no cost to taxpayers.

    If that were the shape of the crisis to come, I would have taken the crisis. Juxtaposed against handing three-quarters of a trillion dollars to the Gang That Couldn't Bank Straight, riding out a liquidity cancer sounds less damaging than the clumsy chemotherapy of Congress. Please, Sen. Murray: First, do no harm.

    The best way to ride out the banking crisis would have been to adjourn Congress until the bankers realized they had to change their own soiled jockeys without a gentle, aloe-cooled wipe from Aunt Patty and friends. Citizen calls to Congress, running 300-1 against any form of bailout to the greedheads, thieves, and idiots who imploded the housing market, were drowned out by the buzzsaw whine of lobbyists sharpening their rodent teeth to gnaw into the granaries of our kingdom. I wanted my senator to poison those rats dead. Instead, in her sentimental way, she fed the fuzzy li'l guys.

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    Posted Sat, Oct 4, 10:12 a.m. Inappropriate

    Adding insult to injury: One of the "pork" items not mentioned in this, and most stories written about the propping up of the spoiled children of old money, is the temporary write-off of sales tax on federal returns. This is the tax-tax, federal tax on income that is taken as state tax.
    This is used as "sweetener", and as an election talking point (Cantwell used this a lot).
    This isn't pork, this it a double tax that should be eliminated perminently.
    But no, the politicos need this as leverage with each other, with the "voters", but if it impacted big business, I would not have to post this comment.

    Much is made of the arrows of pork, that they simply should not be. But I am not hearing, or reading above, about the abuse of the things that should not be.
    The "press" could do a better job as communicating more than the popular headlines that serve as little more than bitter talking points of the day.

    I have a bag full of sales recepts I have collected throughout the year, expecting Congress would do the right thing for the wrong reason.
    Mr Baker

    Posted Sat, Oct 4, 2:05 p.m. Inappropriate

    Patty Murray: Apparently there is a huge disconnect between the Congress, President, the Treasury Secretary, Wall Street and business interests verses us unwashed masses who don't understand what the heck happened.

    I wish somebody could tell me why the financial institutions refuse to get credit after years of "creative" lending instruments and sending credit apps to newborns and pets.

    What does $700 billion dollars mean? We have an unfunded liability of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars of $500 billion and counting. Medicare and Medicaid have huge unfunded costs which could dwarf both the bailout and wars. Our trade deficit is approaching $800 billion. However none of that seems to matter. We just keep printing more and more money and the politicians talk about more tax cuts and federal programs.

    When do we reach critical mass if $700 billion can almost lightly be passed in a week?

    Posted Sat, Oct 4, 2:52 p.m. Inappropriate

    One Suprise !: i still can't believe that Jim McDermott voted no, the second time around, must have been struck by lightning, or something !

    would like to thank every borrower, lender, appraiser and real estate agent who, collectively, brought this plague upon us. to the extent they all realized, on a 'bad' loan by loan basis that they were participating in FRAUD is testimony to the collapse of personal responsibility in this country. oh, and a tip of the hat to maxine watters !

    now, the rest of us get to clean up their mess !

    Posted Sun, Oct 5, 7:56 p.m. Inappropriate

    last straw: Goodbye Patty!


    Posted Mon, Oct 6, 4:34 a.m. Inappropriate

    Hiding Under A Rock: Every year that goes by Patty Murray has become more and more invisible. It's like her electorate is on automatic, just voting to vote (or is she being "helped" into office by the same King County bureaucrats who ballot stuff for Gregoire)?

    It's it time to sweep these do-nothings out of office?

    Posted Mon, Oct 6, 8:46 a.m. Inappropriate

    Murray is in office for two reasons: First, she believes it is her duty to bilk as much money from taxpayers as possible to reward her donors and supporters. And she has been proven right by being re-elected time and time again. She gets her marching orders from the ultra-leftwing radical kooks and never disappoints them.

    Secondly, she believes the only right guaranteed by the Constitution is the right of a woman to kill her children and the duty and responsibility of taxpayers to not only fund that right, but never, ever open your mouth against this barbaric holocaust of unimaginable consequence.

    Posted Mon, Oct 6, 1:37 p.m. Inappropriate

    A conspiracy? I don't think so.: It's true that a pork-laden rescue package is an embarrassment. But I'm not with those who think this entire mess is trumped up to bail out Wall Street fat cats or that swift action was unnecessary. To believe that theory, I'd have to explain today's developments in Europe, involving more than a dozen countries and an impressively large number of banks over there that are facing meltdown. A worldwide banking conspiracy? Please. Unless you believe in the Elders of Zion, that's pretty far fetched. What we are witnessing is mob psychology -- panic -- fed by some real fundamental problems caused by greed on the part of lenders, speculators and home buyers. It turns out, as Gordon Gekko said in "Wall Street," that greed isn't all that good, at least for working stiffs.


    Posted Mon, Oct 6, 7:43 p.m. Inappropriate

    Pianoboy: You said "What we are witnessing is mob psychology -- panic -- fed by some real fundamental problems caused by greed on the part of lenders, speculators and home buyers."

    The financial meltdown was caused by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Democrats such as Barney Frank and Chris Dodd who forced mortgage lenders to provide loans to less than credit worthy lenders through the Community Reinvestment Act (Carter) which Clinton expanded to demand even more riskier loans be approved.

    So the Democrats caused the financial meltdown, Frank, Dodd, and Obama benefitted from it handsomely through contributions to them from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and now they are going to bankrupt the nation to pay for their greed and corruption.

    Posted Tue, Oct 7, 10:46 a.m. Inappropriate

    RE: Pianoboy/Community Reinvestment Act: CRA was passed in 1977. Subprime loans doubled from 2001 to 2006, without any significant changes to the law. CRA has no mandates: banks are encouraged but not required to try and meet the needs of both individuals and small businesses. It's hard to believe that vigorous pursuit of the CRA goals by the Bush administration caused the subprime debacle. The subprime market ballooned because of refinancing, not new loans (only 10% of subprime borrowing). I'd suggest such factors as credit default swaps, a new form of derivative, and the lowering of reserve requirements for investment banks, approved by the SEC in 2004 (and requested by Henry Paulson, at that time head of Goldman Sacks) were key factors. When the people making the loans no longer assumed the risks and could sell them in a secondary market which somehow assumed that risky loans were made less risky by bundling and also by bogus "insurance" (credit default swaps), the outcome was already guaranteed--a giant bubble followed by collapse. The only conspiracy here is greed and the foolhardy belief that somehow the financial markets could regulate themselves. We obviously didn't learn much from 1929.


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