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Washington, Banks, and Struggling Homeowners

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) about campaign finance reform and the prospects of Congress passing legislation to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Against intense opposition from banks and credit unions, Durbin has been working to pass a bill that would empower bankruptcy judges to reduce homeowners’ mortgage debt and help them to stay in their homes. Last week, 12 Democrats joined Senate Republicans to defeat the legislation.

Durbin said that banks caused the current recession and are now working against government policy that would help solve the economic crisis:

“It was clear to me that even though the mortgage foreclosure crisis is getting progressively worse in this country and is, I think, at the heart of our economic weakness, that the banks were unwilling to step in and really participate in finding a solution... Here we are in a recession brought on by these financial institutions [with] some very bad decisions that they’d made causing great pain and suffering for a lot of workers and businesses and homeowners across America. And yet when you sit down and talk about some fundamental reform of these financial institutions, so that people have a fighting chance when it comes to their credit cards, so that folks facing mortgage foreclosure have a final chance to maybe save their homes, basically the banks are gonna have the last word. It’s counterintuitive – the people who brought this crisis to us are the ones that are dictating policy.”

Some argue that well-intentioned but misguided government policies are partly to blame for the mortgage crisis and that further federal intervention in the housing market could make things worse. Steven Malanga of CITY JOURNAL wrote:

“Nearly a century of Washington’s efforts to promote homeownership has produced one calamity after another... As Washington grapples with the current mortgage crisis, advocates from both parties are already warning the feds not to relax their commitment to expanding homeownership – even if that means reviving the very kinds of programs and institutions that got us into trouble... Our praiseworthy initial efforts – to eliminate housing discrimination and provide all Americans an equal opportunity to buy a home – were eventually turned on their heads by advocates and politicians, who instead tried to ensure equality of outcomes... Political meddling in this vast marketplace has wreaked havoc time and again, and will continue to do so – if we let it.”

What do you think?

  • What do you think of Durbin’s bill that would allow bankruptcy judges to reduce struggling homeowners’ mortgage debt?

  • Can the federal government institute policies to help today’s struggling homeowners without contributing to further economic problems in the future? Why or why not?


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    Comments

    Everything in the "science" of economics is called a "theory" and the way a theory is tested by each new generation of psychos is referred to as a "game".

    What is the IQ of people who refer to the fact of their own existence as a "theory"?

    Now the yaddayadda is all about the "deficit" without any mention of the fact that maybe an exponential increase in billionaires is the CAUSE of the enormous "deficit". Like, duh.

    In a REAL "economy", there would not be a need for all activity that is life-maintenance to be dependent on "charity" from billionaires.

    But they sure cooked the numbers, again, to prove to themselves that with 7 billion people on the planet, "war" is still the quickest way FOR THEM to get rich.

    Thought for you. The banking industry seems to have a bought and paid for government to dictate favorable policy for them, but eventually the millions of consumers are going to get upset. And an easy way for a consumer to show a business that they are upset is to stop doing business with them. What would happen if just 10% of the 138 million taxpayers decided to take their money and their savings out of the banking system. Think they might be a little worried. Maybe if Votes and public representatives wont work, a little economic convincing is in order. Lets face it, if big business continues to behave as "business as usual", the American economy is going to be in trouble along time. Their lack of judgment got us in this predicament in the first place. America would be remiss to let their lack of judgment keep us here, especially when our tax dollars are keeping the banking industry solvent.

    Just my two cent(of course by the time you read this, it will only be worth one cent.)

    PFSPq, addko, thanks.

    ConsevaDems can not only pass a lame ass credit card bill, they can also allow NeoCons to slip in a gun regulation. This sounds like the same old bullshit we can believe in.
    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/jstreet/437306/shotguns_ak_47_s_and_your_national_parks

    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss
    ...
    We just got fooled again

    ~ The Who (modified version)

    These measures are at best like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. Jobs are disappearing and will continue to disappear. Debt will increase. The banks and corporations will take even more power. The economic and political system we have now guarantees poverty for the many. If significant changes aren't made, it's over.

    The Federal Reserve must be abolished. There's no way around this. And don't replace it with something worse. Richard C Cook has the best solution that I've seen.

    Iraq and Afghanistan wars must end immediately, and all troops must be brought home. Significantly reduce military budget, ideally by 90% or more.

    End the War on Drugs. And no, I don't mean change the name. This is supposedly a free country. People can drink, smoke, or inject whatever they like. The War on Drugs has devastated America.

    What's the most important aspect to the recovery of our economy?
    JOBS!!!

    Do you want to know why I think Obama hasn't done anything meaningful to increase the number of jobs in America?
    We haven't heard the Chinese government whinning yet.

    Once we hear this indicator, we'll know our President has started creating change we can believe in.

    Good message, but I have my doubts about the messenger. Senator Durbin’s been the beneficiary of lobbyists and now, possibly because they cost him legislation that would help his constituency, he’s discovered they’re a bad thing. Was he as outraged when they helped him bring home the pork. My guess is Durbin is best at doing what those in congress do best – stay in office. But I suppose a foxhole conversion is better than no conversion.

    However, let’s not make things so black and white. Durbin gave an awfully one-side view of the mortgage renegotiation legislation. I wouldn’t so easily let judges throw out contractual agreements, no matter how worthy the cause. Allow this to go too far and see how few mortgages get sold to many who need them. Also, there may be a slippery slope here. What about allowing judges to renegotiate employment or retirement contracts – all in the interest of fairness.

    But I do like campaign finance change. I just don’t think it’ll go anywhere until it helps people like Senator Durbin keep his job – and I can’t see how that will happen.

    Something just ain't right:

    Bankers are kicking people out of homes when they could collect rent and reduce or eliminate their losses-taxpayers are coming!

    Financial people that are so smart normal Nobel economist can't understand how to run their operations, but they had no collateral for their investors-tax payers are coming!

    Congress had no idea that removing usuary laws would result in unconsciousable acts by their contributors to their RE-election campaigns-are the voters comming Nov. 2010?

    Billy Bob, Florida where the Democrats don't care if voters show up or not

    WHEN ARE EDUCATED PEOPLE GOING TO REALIZE THAT this is not the problem. the problem is YOU! yes, it's us. it's our intrinsic nature to do WRONG and our societal conditioned brainwashed desire for GREED! that's the problem. if we don't change our attitudes with ourselves, with our forests, on the freeway, on our education, on our wives, etc etc...it will always continue to happen! NEVERMIND THE ECONOMIC CRISIS. there are HUMANE CRISES happening all the time!! fix that, and we won't have to keep pushing our internal defecit!

    Mozilo/CountryWide: Were they like Madoff's Feeder-funds? The SEC is looking into it now. And if so, Feeder-funds to whom? Maybe Durbin should ask his Capitol Hill associates.

    536,000 jobs lost last month is a “silver lining”, but whose silver and whose lining? If Durbin is our best hope in Congress we are doomed. Now the odds of losing your job are several thousand times higher than winning the lottery. Twenty-six weeks of vacation would make a great consolation prize. Besides the late release of the “stress test” of our 19 largest financial institutions this Thursday, four other significant events occurred to me. (1) CBS and NPR reported that the Veterans Administration is contacting thousands of patients who may have been exposed to AIDS as well as hepatitis B and C during colonoscopies, and even ear, nose and throat exams by the use of contaminated equipment. Some confirmed infections prompted the secretive alert. These procedural crimes may not be isolated to the VA. (2) Foreign policy in Afghanistan/Pakistan seemed to have reached a crisis as Taliban activity intensified, more innocent civilians were reported killed by US air strikes, as Karzai and Zaderi both visited to meet with Obama. (3) Joshua Cooper Ramo, “Beijing Consensus” theorist and managing director of Kissinger and Associates discussed his book The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It with Diane Rehm, Charlie Rose and others. (4) My boss ordered a large cup of coffee with 3 creams and 4 sugars at a McDonald’s drive-thru , with me in the Lexus, and I subsequently got quite a laugh.

    The “stress tests” are a bluff and a fraud. The recommendation to shift preferred stock assets to common stock accomplishes nearly nothing and the conditions tested will surely be exceeded in the coming dismal year. My employer was one of the “lucky nine” requiring no further reserves be heaped up, and my crew had a good laugh at that also. We swallowed the poison pill Smith Barney to help save our pal CitiBank and haven’t even sorted that one out yet. The entire financial sphere is executing a poker bluff and expects taxpayers to underwrite their toxics sell-off. You realize that the stock exchanges are little more than punch boards and that the up-tick will provide another dead-cat bounce for elite profit-taking. We are already speculating in crude oil futures down at the shop, ready to pop $65 a barrel next week, what with the Paki-nukes so close to Talibanization.

    The United States is in a cascade failure, as any observant person can deduce from daily activities. The fact that our medical marketers push colonoscopies while dopey personnel fail to clean hoses and scopes is a pretty good indicator. How apropos that you get deadly illnesses from your doc with a hose up the butt. You don’t even have a chance in your twilight anesthesia to ask him if he’s “healthy enough for sex” as the commercial recommends. Obama wants to send all the unemployed to nursing school. Never mind that the unfilled jobs are mostly for “experienced nurses with advanced degrees.” Anyway, overproduction of graduates will drive down medical wages. That’s where we’re going, to the subsistence bottom. With a surplus of unemployed engineers and computer geeks, we continue to import the low waged alternatives.

    The more we bomb; the more “unfriends” we make. Forty three countries now have programs to produce remote and robotic weapons systems. We spend about 18 times what China or Russia do on defense, and where does that get us? I’m looking up all the time now because Wells Fargo or B of A may want to collect some life insurance on significant debtors, and may use a drone. Hurry up and build those nuclear plants so the Transformers can defend the containment vessels! Zadari and Karzai are the products of cookie cutter elections, completely half-baked when it comes to accountability. They will take their nest eggs to Switzerland before too long.

    Let’s take a break for an invigorating cup of joe before we discuss Kissinger’s boy wonder Ramo. Doozy (my securities analyst boss) felt utterly defrauded when she lit into that cup and found only hot water where the coffee should have been. I expect most of you have recently had similar experiences in your daily rounds. (I carry a thermos of chilled carrot juice. Former FDA commissioner Dr. David Kessler says processors and vendors have a plan to addict us :Here and Now, Friday broadcast.)

    The problem with Joshua Cooper Ramo, just like any Chicago School golden boy, is that he is out to make us nostalgic for a free market capitalism that never was. Watch out- he’ll be getting a big award from some corporate financed think tank for the current sack of crap. First he tells us China is the center of the universe, and then he says all large states share the same problems. It pretty much jibes with Malcolm Gladwell’s new roach bait for simple minds: Outliers. It’s pretty much the old “do or die” thing, that cheaters and terrorists (so innovative) win out in the end. One worships success no matter how rotten the method and attributes great abilities to chance winners and celebrities. Both of these guys are hot for the children of the rich and famous despite their suggestion of a revolutionary world in flux. If Gladwell is the Seinfeld of pop psychology then Ramos serves a similar role in finance and diplomacy. For a long time Jeremy Rifkin got away with such superficial predicting, but now the audience has become jaded. Smart-ass retorts were always the province of Mexican patrons and fraternity bullies anyway (remember Dub?). I do have to give Ramo credit for agreeing with humanitarians everywhere that corporate capitalism and world policing are not affordable or sane. He just boards the train too late with an alternate destination in mind. The “World Disorder” book even postures at giving investment advice in a milieux where the dollar could easily collapse or disappear. These types of frivolous observations tend to saw off their own sitting limbs. Such recreational reading will serve no good purpose now.

    I, and many others, observed that corporate capitalism was being negated several years before these guys graduated, and that state terrorism had lost offensive efficacy. (It retains repressive power, especially domestically.) Smart people suspected the parade was ending in 1989 when cascade failure enveloped the Soviet Union. Jack Martin tried to crack a contortionist joke this week, that the Obama gang are masters of limbo when it comes to elite needs. It was funny to imagine Geithner, head between inseams, licking his own loafer tops, but that was lame comedy. The United States is under implosion and will soon consist of a salvage pile. Peristroika and glasnost have come too late. Obama, in case you hadn’t suspected, is our Gorbachev. Don’t blame him for trying to save Humpty Dumpty.

    Captcha:wrathing Ungar

    THESE SENATORS VOTED AGAINST YOU by
    voting against Durbin's bill. VOTE AGAINST THEM. The U.S. now faces 8 MILLION foreclosures.
    Alexander (R-TN), Barrasso (R-WY), Baucus (D-MT), Bennet -CO) Bennett (R-UT), Bond (R-MO), Brownback (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), Burr (R-NC), Byrd (D-WV), Carper (D-DE), Chambliss (R-GA), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Collins (R-ME), Corker (R-TN),
    Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Dorgan (D-ND), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA)- Gregg (R-NH), Hatch (R-UT), Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johanns (R-NE), Johnson (D-SD), Kyl (R-AZ), Landrieu (D-LA), Lincoln (D-AR), Lugar (R-IN), Martinez (R-FL), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Murkowski (R-AK), Nelson (D-NE), Pryor (D-AR), Risch (R-ID)- Roberts (R-KS), Shelby (R-AL), Snowe (R-ME), Specter (D-PA), Tester (D-MT), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA), Voinovich, (R-OH), Wicker (R-MS)

    The real issue at hand is the multiple "band aid" fixes that are being presented to a bigger problem.

    I think the fact remains that sometimes the minor "fixes" end up doing WAY more harm than good in the long run. What needs to happen is that the government should step back, watch a little bit longer, then make a more prudent move.

    Wall Street's One Hundred Men


    One hundred men
    Of Wall Street
    Control ten trillion dollars.

    They didn’t dig the well,
    But they surely drink its waters.

    Citizen soldiers,
    Few of them
    Have ever been.

    Our great grandfathers
    Fought for nationhood
    In the civil war,
    Not for economic win.

    Your Elephant Party
    Cuts your taxes,
    Making others pay for war.

    Your lobbyists,
    Saddle Uncle Sam with debt
    Still, you juggle and shake
    The piggy bank for more.

    Your daughters marry well,
    Sons, have the best deal around
    Their hands are soft and clean
    And the banners of Ivy League, abound.

    Americans believe their patriots
    Rejoice for fair shake, fair play,
    But they run hungry on empty
    When you take most all the pie away.

    So think about these issues, sir
    When the money bell rings
    At the close of your day,

    For we all love
    A strong America
    And Lady Liberty’s bills
    Are running high,
    But parity and ability to pay
    Should be, the Yankee Doodle way.

    Your cards and candies
    Sent to Congress
    Have given you full sway.
    You have great influence -
    The rules are written your way.

    You know whom to call
    And what to say,
    But sir, it is a point of honor
    To raise and to tell,

    That the Robber Barons
    Of the Roaring Eighties
    Who cleaned the cupboard bare,
    Learned that government
    Is not theirs to sell,

    And discovered
    That wealth without ethics,
    Is not a Bull
    Nor a Bear,

    And good citizenship
    Is not freedom without a care

    For the Little Man,
    Once, your father’s neighbor,
    Is now, not anywhere,

    And yet his son
    Is over there
    To save your oil,

    While you labor away
    In silk shirts
    And soft shoes,
    Makin’ a million bucks,

    The poor man
    Sings the blues,
    The soldier,
    Has much to lose.

    And certainly, you say
    It was his to choose.

    Wake up, Mister
    And lend a hand!

    You’re kicking our dreams,
    Down the street,
    Like an old tin can.

    For those who wish to learn more about Durbin's campaign financing reform, his Senate bill (the "Fair Elections Now Act") is S. 752 (and S. 751, which would provide the financing of the system):

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-752

    The House companion bill, introduced the same day (3/31) is H.R. 1826.

    When speaking to your federal Representative or Senators (or at least their office filters), be sure to ask whether they support this reform, and if not, why not. Both bills have been referred to multiple committees of jurisdiction for study and amendment, and this is the time to make improvements and changes to the legislation.

    By rights, it is also time for what remains of America's free press to be asking Reid and Pelosi whether they support bringing these bills to the floor for action as soon as possible.

    Something Senator Durbin said in this Moyers interview - repeating something he's said on the Senate floor - continues to bother me. His comments reveal a mindset that is so unspeakably corrosive to democracy, and to self-government, that it's hard to fathom, and other commenters here have obviously picked up on the gist of it.

    This, from Durbin...:

    "Some won't even sit at the table. The American Bankers Association walked away. The Community Bankers walked away. Some credit unions would take no part in this conversation. They wouldn't even discuss the possibility of what we could do to deal with this mortgage foreclosure crisis.

    Others participated initially, and when the time came, turned and walked away as well. I was left standing, having basically accepted many of their changes."

    ...Amounts to this, in reality:

    "Our corporate campaign paymasters run the Congress, and we go to them, with hat in hand, to ask and plead with them for favors and legislative action, which they may or may not see fit to grant us. If they turn our requests down, 'oh well' - better luck next time..."

    When are the American people - those not bearing campaign gifts of cash - invited to "sit at the table" with powerful Senators behind closed doors, to essentially dictate legislative priorities?? It seems that citizens who have been thoroughly stymied in their efforts to be heard by our federal representatives have failed to understand that our federal representatives have ceded the power they hold, on our behalf, to corporate entities to whom our representatives defer. Corporate entities who similarly ignore at will, without consequence, the pleas they hear from bought-off incumbent legislators.

    Even Durbin, who intellectually knows the process in Congress is hopelessly corrupted, seems not to viscerally understand how insidiously undemocratic is this process of wheedling with the very subjects of reform-minded legislation - of secretly asking the regulated entities for permission to regulate them in the public interest - such that when their (predictable) refusal to acquiesce is encountered, powerful Congressional leaders simply shrug their shoulders and meekly abandon the initiatives before they ever even see the light of day.

    The obvious aversion to conflict - whether public or private - in what's supposed to be a vigorous, principled, democratic forum of debate, good-faith compromise, and truth-telling is manifest, and manifestly contemptible, in what passes for America's Legislative Branch of government today.

    A quick search revealed that there are 138 million tax payers in our country.

    If we contributed $10 dollars from every tax payer from the taxes they are already paying, that would provide $1.38 billion a year for publicly funded election, which would more then cover all local, state and national election.

    No more lobbyists, no more special interests, no more time and resources used by politician and staff fund raising.

    Law makers will have more time to do their job, the people will own elections and politicians can vote their conscience not the will of big money donors.

    All of this for a mere $10 a year.


    S.Amdt. 1014 to S. 896 (Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009)

    NAYs ---51
    Alexander (R-TN)
    Barrasso (R-WY)
    Baucus (D-MT)
    Bennet (D-CO)
    Bennett (R-UT)
    Bond (R-MO)
    Brownback (R-KS)
    Bunning (R-KY)
    Burr (R-NC)
    Byrd (D-WV)
    Carper (D-DE)
    Chambliss (R-GA)
    Coburn (R-OK)
    Cochran (R-MS)
    Collins (R-ME)
    Corker (R-TN)
    Cornyn (R-TX)
    Crapo (R-ID)
    DeMint (R-SC)
    Dorgan (D-ND)
    Ensign (R-NV)
    Enzi (R-WY)
    Graham (R-SC)
    Grassley (R-IA)
    Gregg (R-NH)
    Hatch (R-UT)
    Hutchison (R-TX)
    Inhofe (R-OK)
    Isakson (R-GA)
    Johanns (R-NE)
    Johnson (D-SD)
    Kyl (R-AZ)
    Landrieu (D-LA)
    Lincoln (D-AR)
    Lugar (R-IN)
    Martinez (R-FL)
    McCain (R-AZ)
    McConnell (R-KY)
    Murkowski (R-AK)
    Nelson (D-NE)
    Pryor (D-AR)
    Risch (R-ID)
    Roberts (R-KS)
    Shelby (R-AL)
    Snowe (R-ME)
    Specter (D-PA)
    Tester (D-MT)
    Thune (R-SD)
    Vitter (R-LA)
    Voinovich (R-OH)
    Wicker (R-MS)

    Not Voting - 3
    Kennedy (D-MA), Sessions (R-AL), Rockefeller (D-WV)

    A more interesting list would be - who voted FOR the bank bailouts, but AGAINST the mortgage bankruptcy law. That is a ready-made platform on which to oust the prostitutes.

    "This country is owned by a few very rich folks, and they have a club, and you ain't in it. They own the politicians, who are there just to create the illusion that you have a choice. You don't have a choice"

    GC is right on the money, as always !


    Mr Moyers, could you please EXPOSE the names of the senators [rep & dem] who VOTED AGAINST the bakruptcy bill ?


    We the voters would like to kick them out of office ASAP, AND REMIND THEM THAT THEY GOT ELECTED STRICTLY ON THE BASIS OF OUR VOTES and hence, BEHOLDEN TO THE INTERESTS OF ONLY THE CITIZEN VOTERS - -


    Lobbying and lobbyists should be tightly regulated and restricted; they are the pimps who seduce our ''elected'' officials and undermine and destroy the democratic process !

    And let me simply add:

    Senator Durbin, and the other Senators and Congressmen, gave AN OATH -- not to lobbyists shelling out the most money, but to the Constitution of the United States.

    Am I simply NAIVE in still wanting to believe that Congress and all in government SHOULD keep their oath of office.

    Does the oath still mean anything. This should be a rhetorical question, but maybe not.

    Senator Durbin has a nice smile, a sweet and disarming smile. BEWARE!

    He fulfilled all of my expectations of a US Senator (Zeus be with us!)here in the Land of the Greed and the Home of the Knave, when he said:
    "If a lobbyist gives you more money than anyone else, to whom is a politician to give his ear -- OF COURSE, he goes with the lobbyist."

    Now, my expectations of a US Senator is just as low as anyone else's, but I was stunned that he would, or could, be so direct and so honest in his self-indictment.

    Honest? Yes.

    Venal? Selling out to the highest bidder? Well, yeah -- he said so himself.

    MORAL: Keep your friends close, and politicians like Senator Durbin even closer.

    Let me close by saying that I believe Senator Durbin to be one of our BETTER 'public servants'. Zeus, stay with us!

    Dear Mr Moyers:
    I discovered something I had wondered for a little while ever since I heard that paragon of American pop philosophy, George Carlin. If he was alive today he'd be commenting on Senator Durban's statement " they own the place". I recall George's routine almost verbatim:
    "This country is owned by a few very rich folks, and they have a club, and you ain't in it. They own the politicians, who are there just to create the illusion that you have a choice. You don't have a choice"

    All the Senators and Congressmen in the pockets of these lobbyists need to be voted out. They're vote of record against the public good is the platform for every one of their challengers.

    Too big or ...To be:

    1989 Collapse of Communism, 2009 Collapse of SuperCapitalism ?

    In regard to years of sociological and cultural shift to consumer goods, private property and general acquisitiveness during boom years, the present crisis can present opportunity, a springboard to rethinking what is of value: commodities,or the common good, what society and economy are for ?

    If the purpose of economic recovery is just regenerating enough wealth so that people can once again aspire to and attain cars,houses,fridges, stuff in the garage... then we will again end up in the same mess we're now in.

    Karl Polanyi argued that societies that pursue free market values are inherently unsustainable in the long term,leading to the unlinking of social relations from economic relations, so that "society" is viewed as being decoupled from the "economy". Hence that pervasive feeling of people's worth being judged by what they have, as opposed to who they are.
    Such values over- privilege one method of economic integration - that of market exchange - over two other important ones: redistribution and reciprocity.


    Another consequence of market collapse is popular resistance, which will prompt the emergence of various forms of state-based protection, thus reinvigorating the other important methods of economic integration,

    This is possible - by appeal to historical struggles against adversity or by appeal to shared philosophical ideals like justice, equality or fairness.The degree to which different forms of economic organisation enhance or undermine social cohesion must become a basic test of their fitness for purpose.

    excerpts
    E.Gaffney

    I ditto every blog post for today. Cramdown is the only way it will make the banks wake up and modify these mortgages. Banks are running our politicians. Chris Dodd should not have been allowed to vote since he has rec'd $Millions in bank contributions.

    Cramdown is the only way and I believe if banks can share in any gain after a cramdown would be only fair. Cramdown needs to be tweaked but it has to happen.
    Banks are NOT modifying mortgages with our TARP funds. They aren't lending - they are not doing anything they are supposed to do with OUR money.

    Stop bank lobbyists and stop all lobbyists. I thought Obama was going to do something about lobbying? I can't remember what he promised but I don't believe it is happening whatever he promised.

    Obama bailed out on cramdown which was very obvious. Obama was bought too I guess.

    Our country is being run by banks and the lobbyists and it has to stop!

    Banks should be investigated for all of the bad loans. If criminal aspects are discovered the assets of those banks and their executives should be seized. Each of these white collar criminals should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The Ponzi scheme Madoff ran pales to the one bankers, appraisers and real estate agents have perpetrated on America. Congress and the Senate best remember who they work for and reform lobby regulations or the voters will clean house in the next election. Any bank or industry too big to fail must be broken apart and regulated just like a monopoly. That especially includes the industries who organize together like banks so they become the most powerful lobby group in Washington. Break these greedy organizations apart or the real American Dream will be history and most Americans will simply be slaves to the wealthy. The only thing left will be another Civil War with the poor against the rich. White collar crime has become rampant. Expose it and prosecute everyone of these upper class crooks discovered. This is the time for democrats to reverse the Bush administration's blind eye toward white collar crime. Hang the albatross around the republican majority's neck or the Dem's will end up owning the most expensive governmental disaster in the history of the world. Clean up Washington and the Dem's can win the American voters' hearts by a landslide...

    What do you think of Durbin’s bill that would allow bankruptcy judges to reduce struggling homeowners’ mortgage debt?

    I think it would be a given that our system of justice would provide a means to rectify the damage done by the careless and lawless assault on the welfare of the people of this nation by the money brokers.
    All of the people responsible for the present economic disaster should be in jail awaiting trial. The Justices and Lawmakers should be busy getting the money back into the national treasury and repairing the damage to people's savings and investments not handing out more plunder. This is not a depression, it is an intentional fraud by unscupulous people to line their pockets and thereby undermine the stability of our nation.

    I want to thank Senator Durbin for his recent efforts on campaign finance reform as explained in the recent Bill Moyers Journal episode. I strongly support what he is trying to do. As a registered Republican I also support Senator John McCain's efforts to limit the power of wealthy contributors to influence elections.

    I have always thought that in our democracy free speech equated to the equal right for a person to stand up and be able to express their views without fear of persecution. Somehow that definition of free speech was corrupted to include contributing money, and specifically the giving of money to people running for office. By making the giving of money equivalent to free speech there has been a change in the balance of power within our democracy. Under our law each person only has one vote, so theoretically all citizens were to have an equal ability to influence the direction of our government. However, with allowing the giving of money to equal free speech, the wealthy (both persons and corporations) can use their wealth to gain more influence and access to elected officials. This fundamentally changes our governance contract as described in the United States Constitution.

    In America today I truly believe that "we the people" have lost control of our government to a very small minority of "we the rich people". Until we are able to remove the ability of a few to have this high influence through their money, we the people will never have a government representing all the people.

    Senator Durbin please continue your efforts and know that even though I cannot vote for you from Michigan - I am free to tell you that I appreciate your efforts.

    Very sad to learn that the experiment Jefferson and others started has come to this: "Power to the Money" or "Power to those with the money!"
    Not freedom to vote but Freedom to Buy People, and to think the Founding Fathers thought Slavery to be good. Now, we see that the problem of slavery is not what you do with a few but what you do to the many people that deserve the consequence of their actions, they should have chosen a better lineage,
    a better family. Um, back to slavery...

    Here is the good news:
    This too, shall pass!
    The bankers will torture the home owners in greater numbers and harsher ways until we all say, not "Uncle" but strike back in the ballot box.
    We need to get mad and, like the movie said to do, shout back "I wont take it any more!"
    But, what if nothing happens? Then we suffer more, the pain will grow and more will join the cry and we will fight again and again and again.
    The more they make us suffer, the greater our numbers will be. Absolutely certain.
    In time, we will win.
    There is no doubt about that, and banks will be required to make better loans at better rates or they shall do no more business in the U.S. of A.

    And they say they are too big to fail, we will make them fail! In time, all those making, not earning, a million a month will be out of work with nothing to do and nobody to torture, like working for the Inquisition or Abu Grav in Iraq but with nobody to torture. Dreadful!
    You may not believe this but they will suffer so much more than the poorest that they may not survive.
    Yep, they may not live long. Without the ability to rape the nation, they will have nothing to live for. They are THE PEOPLE WITHOUT PURPOSE, except to rape and kill. Ghangis Khan was wiser than them.
    They will be done and then Thy will be done.
    How sad for their families, can you imagine "Your father did what Hitler, Stalin and ben Laden could not do destroy the USA"
    I rather be poor and sleep well without sedatives.

    Dear Bill...

    Durbin is right that perhaps the only way to free our Prisoners of Congress from their thralldom to big gamblers, big money, big business ... is to remove the money from the equation.

    But "publicly financed elections" will barely get the key into the padlock on the cell door.

    Here's what I think it's going to take:

    1). Remove the biggest campaign expense item, TV advertising, by requiring the FCC to set aside, and the licensed broadcasters to equip, staff and run, six or seven channels for FREE campaign advertising. All ads, all day, all year.

    2). Create a Return On Political Investment (ROPI) Windfall Profits Tax (ROPI-WIPT). The reason the payments continue, the bribes, donations, call them what you wish, is because the ROPI is so INCREDIBLY HIGH!

    Lobbyists donate $2 million, let's say, but get back an economic benefit of $200 BILLION. Aside from the fact that Congress & other elected officials are selling out WAAAAY too cheaply, these returns, in the thousands of per cents, are just obscene.

    A ROPI-WIPT could be set at a generous 18% return on political investment. Any return/profit over that 18% would be subject to the ROPI-WIPT tax. I would have a graduated tax scale, that is, once the profits "graduate" to more than 18%, the tax rate is 100%. We just take it and put it right back into what we're calling "The Treasury" these days.

    3). We need to be mindful of the First Amendment in "protecting political speech" (I say that with some irony, inasmuch as the 4th Amendment, against illegal searches and seizures, was repealed, de facto, about five years ago, because the National "Security" Administration (Big Brother II), has put fiber-optic cable splitters on virtually every single telecommunications cable, Common Backbone, trunk line in the US and abroad (I think only Canada has resisted the NSA onslaught--see James Bamford's The Shadow Factory-- and has been copying it, analyzing it, trying to voice-print it, identifying and locating every computer, cell phone, GPS device so that they and their users (and family, neighbors, neighborhood...oooops!) can be "taken out with extreme prejudice" by a kid with a video-game controller connected to a robot airplane--The Predator--another Technion triumph, by the way-- carrying bombs or air-to-ground missiles. Oh--Bamford makes the point that Israeli companies (Verint, Narus, Comverse Infosys) have access--remote access--to virtually every piece of eavesdropped information NSA is collecting. So we would definitely need to make sure that AIPAC gets registered. But I digress)).

    So I would remove all barriers to campaign contributions. From foreigners, criminals, extraterrestrials, anyone, anything, everything goes. Complete freedom of political speech.

    4). However, as a concomitant, we must have 100% transparency, in four ways:

    a). Anyone/everyone who so much as writes a letter, postcard, makes a call, sends an email to one of our employees (these "public servants" of ours) must register as a lobbyist and keep a public account website. The big lobbying firms would have to make all salaries, expenses, other "things of economic benefit--call girls, special job for the candidate's Aunt Sadie--would also have to be posted--overnight of the day on which the transfer was made.

    b). The recipients would have a matching public account, which would show the same transaction, updated overnight.

    c). Every piece of legislation, regulation, even judicial decisions, must have a comprehensive "Statement of Economic Benefit" as a kind of "head-note" for the governmental action. The statement would list the name of every person involved in promoting the legislation, the amounts they received from the interested parties, who'd also be listed by name. Again, posted overnight on the day of submission of the bill, regulation, decision.

    d). And most importantly, the Economic Benefit the interested parties stand to gain from the passage of this law, rule, regulation, decision, by name, affiliation and amount. These amounts must also be posted overnight of the day of any change. I'm thinking, too, that it might not be a bad idea to have a statement of Electoral or Campaign Benefit, by number of estimated votes the legislators have determined they'll get because of this action. I mean, let's get really transparent here after 220 years of fiddling around.

    5). Sanctions. There must be strong incentives provided for honest, complete and timely posting of these essential accounts. That is, incentives to make the sleaziness of the benefits conferred seem but motes of dust. I would propose that officials who fail to comply with the laws:

    a). Lose their job with government and be barred from holding any other government job, lose their pensions and any and all other perquisites (free health care, perhaps).

    b). Be sentenced to a prison term of not less than twice the length of time they have served in government, (fail to post contributions to a 32-year incumbent and the prison term is 64 years--not too shabby, eh?!-- and

    c). Be fined not less than 1,000 times the amount of the anticipated economic benefit they were willing to confer on their contributors. (This amount, too, would mount up quickly--maybe even pay off the national debt--say the bennies were to have been around $25 Billion; then the fine would be 1,000 times that, or $25 TRILLION.)

    For the contributors, similarly:

    d). Any contractual or other relationship with the government be terminated, and they'd be barred any further dealings with the government,

    e). Prison term of not less than twice the length of service of the person to whom they were making the recipient of economic or other benefit, and

    f). A fine of not less than 1,000 times the amount of the economic benefit they were seeking by making the contribution, bribe, etc.

    Certainly a prison term of "life without parole" and that putative $25 TRILLION fine for failing to post timely, accurately, a $25 million donation ought to focus the mind of even the most venal, antisocial lobbyist.

    I'm convinced that the Return on Political Investment is where reform must first be focused, as the returns are SOOO obscene as to be almost completely irresistible; compared to ROPIs in the thousands of per cents, the contribution amounts are truly are chump-change. But let's make the campaign advertising free, anyway. The airwaves are OUR airwaves; let us have them really serve the needs of WE the People.

    Seems to me you could actually do a very nice Journal edition on this topic. Until recently, with the trillion-dollar bailouts, people generally had NO idea that Congress was selling the country off to the highest bidder for thousandths-of-a-penny on the dollar.

    A nice special investigation into this aspect of the debasement, or de-bargain-basement, of our political process might help inoculate our solons with sufficient enlightened self-interest to serve the citizens, their "boss," for once.

    What is going on has been going on for the past twenty years. This recent economic bubble followed another bubble prior to this one with the saving and loan scandal. I am certain another economic bubble will follow because we (the citizens) of this country for a host of reasons (fear being the common thread)greed being another thread cannot or will not make the changes that are necessary economically, spiritually,or transforming our way of life in order to re-invest in changes that will offer alternatives to what we have had for the past twenty years. Everyone including myself is not willing to change and perhaps one day we might have to come face to face with what our inability to change has created. Not wishing to leave on such a dismal note the only hope of the dramatic changes that are required might not come until the crisis has reached its zenith. I have no solution to offer with exception of this is still not enough of a rallying call.


    Instead of helping Americans who are suffering, these
    12 ConservaDems chose to side with the banks:

    Baucus (D-MT)
    Bennet (D-CO)
    Byrd (D-WV)
    Carper (D-DE)
    Dorgan (D-ND)
    Johnson (D-SD)
    Landrieu (D-LA)
    Lincoln (D-AR)
    Nelson (D-NE)
    Pryor (D-AR)
    Specter (D-PA)
    Tester (D-MT)

    Bribes, Blackmail and threats of Bodily harm is what creates a ConservaDem. This report shows how Congresswoman Harmon became one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyT6HGtv4S4

    Who are the Senators who voted with the lobbyists and against the U.S. citizen? That should make a VERY good starting place for the next round of election commercials.

    Another excellent interview, this time with Sen. Durbin. Bill Moyers asked the senator about what actions the banking lobbyists were taking to obstruct his bill. He responded that they just walked away from the table. Mr. Moyers pressed him again for specifics but received the same answer.

    This is, I'm sure, a naive question, but I'll ask anyway: What were the lobbyists doing at the table in the first place? Additionally, why should they be there? Why were they invited? And, why would their "walking away from the table" cause difficulties in getting the bill passed? It seems to me that their absence is exactly what is necessary, exactly what we need.

    Are there any answers to these questions?

    Bless you, Mr. Moyers

    You MUST look in to having Chris Martenson on. http://www.chrismartenson.com/
    I stumbled upon his site about a year ago, and have learned A-so much about economics and B- so much about what is wrong with our economy, and by extension, government & society. He completely avoids a political connection, which helps make the messages so much more understandable and credible. His "Crash Course" is brilliant, and his whole debunking of the government's abuse of statistics and numbers is crucial. BILL, CHECK HIM OUT! You won't be sorry.
    (And by the way, I have no connection to him other than subscribing to his site. I'm just another befuddled citizen, sliding toward retirement as everything crumbles around me!)

    GREAT SHOW! Durbin deserves a medal, and some HELP! I am so disgusted with the Congress, and so disappointed in Obama.

    What's happened to our financial system wasn't just the result of "greedy bankers". It was the product of a system in which Congress opened the door to let the thieves in and looked the other way.

    Until this system is replaced by a public funded model, on every major issue, the American people will continue to lose.

    The campaign model that Sen. Durbin credited to Barack Obama was actually created by Howard Dean's presidential run in 2004, and it is absolutely a way towards a system in which we have representatives in office who are no longer funded by corporate interests. We the people must make it happen.

    Bill,
    Thank you for announcing that both the Senate and House voted for a independent commission of ten citizens to investigate the economic meltdown. I hope you are one of the ten citizens who investigates this mess since you have a deep understanding of how dysfunctional our democracy is in Washington.

    Additionally, please continue to keep us informed about campaign finance reform at the federal level and possibly state level(s). It is my understanding that the Supreme Court has ruled that campaign donations can not be legally mandated due to our constitution.

    You have been vocal about the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and our lack of news media coverage, in particular television news. Americans want better news coverage and an active "Fourth Estate", especially since we are losing so many newspapers. What is happening with the FCC in changing regulations so that Americans can receive better news media coverage instead of news entertainment coverage?

    While I live in a state with a similar campaign finance scheme that Senator Durbin outlined, I would suggest a simpler and more effective reform would be to repeal the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This would result in state legislators electing Senators again resulting in a greater diversity of experienced legislators in Washington, DC.

    In keeping with the principal of K.I.S.S ,here's my point. The idea that an elected person cannot vote his conscience when money has changed hands tells me we have zero people in office with integrity.

    In keeping with the principal of K.I.S.S ,here's my point. The idea that an elected person cannot vote his conscience when money has changed hands tells me we have zero people in office with integrity.

    Is Durbin saying there is no way to get reform through the congress of change?

    It will take patience
    but an Obama campaign finance strategy could work as a template to enable the average citizen(s) to leverage their voting power; just like corporations leverage their influence with their money.
    I too, find it interesting that money has a louder voice than the people.
    Why?
    They spent years contributing to campaigns, candidates favorite charities and a lot of lobbying.

    Finding candidates to support who can resist big money and lobbies would be crucial. Funding them, even ones out of your state would be necessary for success.

    We would need to think the way the banks did. They didn't do this overnight. They spent 20 plus years and over $200 million in just campaign contributions - not counting lobbying fees - to once again have laissez faire banking and they aren't bashful about using their regulation free standing! You can bet they darn sure well aren't going to give it up even if they have to use our tax dollars to fight us!

    We will need to look for the candidates that, like Senators Durbin, Webb and Specter, are wanting to change things and want to make a positive contribution to the lives of us as fellow citizens not, as A.C. so aptly discribes the corporate view of us, "consumption units".

    We need to pool information, ideas and discuss candidates worth helping get in office.

    Mr. Moyer's,your journal seems to be doing that and I appreciate it. Thank you.

    It's sad to see another reasonable attempt to help the middle class be defeated by corporate lobbyists. I think that it's time to look at more radical solutions. Let's forbid for-profit corporations from donating any money to any political campaign. By tradition, corporations are treated as human beings with the first amendment right of free speech. This right is not specified in the Constitution and could be overturned by an act of congress.

    Much political lobbying by corporations is an attempt to gain an advantage over competitors by using the political system. Let's require corporations compete by building better products or business systems, let's keep them out of the political system where there battles with other companies, threatens to overwhelm our democracy by drowning out the voice of the public.

    Ironically, corporate lobbying often produces outcomes that hurt business as a whole. For example, the banking industry successfully fought against reasonable regulations of complicated derivative markets. The result? A near melt-down of the entire industry and a threat to the rest of the economy.

    Again an A+ show Bill....but it frustrates me,and cememnts the feelings that America will NEVER be what it's supposed to be...for the American people. If I could, at this point in my 48yrs - I'd move the hell out of this country...and lean towards Canada,or Netherlands....America seems to be about GREED,GREED,GREED.....nothing more.....Our Nation is falling to peices,and as usual - it everyone for themselves...the haves,and the have mores....and the rest of us poor slobs. I have Hopes for Obama...but he can't do it all especially when the system seems sooo broken!

    It would be helpful to highlight the efforts of the organizations that are promoting campaign finance reform, such as common Cause, Public Citizen, League of Women Voters, Democracy Matters, etc. Perhaps explore how these groups could be organized to be more effective in communicating with supporters and mobilizing them to persuade their legislators.

    Fundamentalism And The Mortgage Crisis

    Fundamentalism is returning America to its colonial state before the revolution in 1776. Discrimination and disenfranchisement were the way of life then. First discrimination was against Native Americans and then African Americans, taking their property, not allowing them to own property, and putting them and their children in perpetual debt. The system was enforced by means of torture in the form of chains, whips, hanging, starvation, deportation, and killing. Like any form of abuse, the purpose of torture is to control both those abused and those witnessing the abuse, in other words the general public.

    Discrimination by definition creates a privileged class. In a monarchy it is based on birth. In America it was first based on race and religion, then age, gender, and sexual orientation. The new discrimination is based on wealth, and it is ever much as heinous as discrimination based on race.

    Banks only have to have 10% in reserve of what they lend on a mortgage. The other 90% is imaginary money. Subprime loans forced reselling of houses and created the bubble. The packaging, selling and reselling multiple times of the mortgages was MORTGAGE LAUNDRYING. The bubble was deliberately popped when the Federal Reserve cut the interest rate. The bailout turned the 90% of imaginary money into real money. Banks were guaranteed the bailout because, as Durbin said, they owned Congress.

    The mortgage crisis is the same model as the crash in 1929. The difference is that instead of investors bidding the price of stocks up, banks bid the price of houses up by making loans that had to be resold or go into foreclosure. Of course banks will not renegotiate these loans. They made back their original 10% in fifteen months and have now converted into real cash the other 90%. The objective of fundamentalism is to roll back the American revolution and put private companies in control of the government.

    I've pretty much given up hope. Its become quite clear that the democratic party is no more supportive of the average person than the republican party; they've both thrown us under the bus more than once now. The republican party, in particular, has been irrelevant and useless for the average american for more than 20 years now.

    I expect to be boycotting democrats and republicans by voting for any and all independents that I can find other than libertarians at the next election.

    The fundamental issue is this: are we citizens or are we consumption units? As citizens, we allocate resources and power to people basic on fundamental human rights and civic responsibilities. As economic units, we allocate resources and power to people based on money and prices. The economic perspective has risen above all others to be the lens through which the people of the U.S. view the world, and all of the functions of the major American institutions reflect this worldview.

    Thus political power, health care, education, and social status are allocated based on the amount of money one possesses. In such a world, limiting private campaign contributions does not make sense, and neither does single payer health care or free education. The unfettered flow of money becomes of paramount importance, and those that possess it become the societal elite.

    The cure is not more laws, the cure is to change our perceptions of ourselves as citizens and human beings, and usurp the primary position economics holds in our worldviews. It is a question of how to change self-concept on a mass scale. A nation of citizens structures its institutions in very different ways from a nation of consumption units. Joseph Campbell pointed this out, and showed us the need for new stories. Now that the economic worldview has proven itself bankrupt, we need those stories more than ever.

    It is good that Senator Durbin is trying to to fix the Mortgage mess. But about the campaign finance reform you should ask him would he put his money where his mouth is and go into that system. As it is now he is a major recipient of money from the Pharma industry. He is always trying to shove thru bills that would kill people's choice and the supplement industry.

    It is good that Senator Durbin is trying to fix the Mortgage mess. But about the campaign finance reform you should ask him would he put his money where his mouth is and go into that system. As it is now he is a major recipient of money from the Pharma industry. He is always trying to shove thru bills that would kill people's choice and the supplement industry.

    Durbin - Another revealing show on how congress is broken. Why is it that you and everyone else talks about congress but NO ONE does anything? No One takes any actions.

    Politician sell themselves and the country to the Wall Street criminals for change.

    There is not any democracy, there is not any freedom in USA, unless you are thieves from the usury class sucking working people blood dry.

    The program on campaign funding reform with Senator Durbin's input matches my thoughts regarding the lack of progress in the funding of health care reform. The power of the finances of the health insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry and their lobbiests seems to have stopped progress. I discussed this last week with another physician dealing with the political interface. He said that any efforts to control and equalize the financial support of a campaign for any political office would be rejected by the U. S. Supreme Court as against the freeedom of speech statements in the Constitution. I'm fascinated by the equation of speech and dollars in this perspective. My Webster's dictionary does not mention 'dollars' in the definition of 'speech', or the other way around! Our emphasis on the decisions of politicians should be on the basis of our vote, not our available dollars!

    Click and read the article by Steven Malanga of CITY JOURNAL. It's good and interesting. It shows the government and banks developing roles in this national calamity.

    As far as congress is concerned, the way campaign funding works, they end up voting as agents of the contributors not representatives of the people.

    It seems to me that with the dozen or so organizations pushing for campaign finance reform it should be a little easier than it is. Actually, I feel that to expect any politician to participate in kiling the goose that laid the golden egg, is especting too much. We need a neutral blue ribbon to do the job.

    Dear Mr. Moyers:

    Once again, your program is just the best!!! I loved your piece/interview with Senator Durbin!!! I greatly appreciated his candidness, honesty, concern and therefore his work in this area!!!! PLEASE keep it up!!! The interview illuminated just how awful the rich, powerful and the influential can act-most always in their favor. In terms of the benefits of his bill...on the surface it seems to be a no-brainer, an "of course" this is the best solution. However, unless I were to read the Bill in its entirety and probably with the aid of an attorney, it is hard to say whether I would support it. I was certainly NOT in favor of TARP or of the STIM packages. In principle, my heart was cheering as I heard Durbin's voice speak up and out. I would support his bill if it were not marred by all kinds of kickbacks, provisions, exceptions, limitations, special privilege entitlements, etc. I find the fact that there even had to be a debate for the Bill, so disgusting and revolting. I still can't understand how those same business men, bankers and capitalists who have screamed for a "free market system" for years and until they were blue in the face, can actually hoard tax payers funds while simultaneously refusing to rewrite the very bad mortgages for which they are responsible and for which they in part wrapped, sold, resold, swapped and gambled upon! How can we show our face to the world as a democracy, as a champion of the free world, as the government of, for and by the people when our government is completely owned by money?? It is not just a paradox, irony, blindness, hypocrisy; it is the result of a small brain and small heart syndrome that our current human evolutionary status obviously entails . SAAADDDD!

    Bill, this quote by Steven Malanga of CITY JOURNAL

    “Nearly a century of Washington’s efforts to promote homeownership has produced one calamity after another... As Washington grapples with the current mortgage crisis, advocates from both parties are already warning the feds not to relax their commitment to expanding homeownership – even if that means reviving the very kinds of programs and institutions that got us into trouble... Our praiseworthy initial efforts – to eliminate housing discrimination and provide all Americans an equal opportunity to buy a home – were eventually turned on their heads by advocates and politicians, who instead tried to ensure equality of outcomes... Political meddling in this vast marketplace has wreaked havoc time and again, and will continue to do so – if we let it.”

    is a red herring. I commend you for including this, which shows your fairness.

    But the simple fact is that no law forced mortgage companies to write loans that had a low, or no, probability of being paid back. As so many analyses have shown this was just fraud on the part of mortgage companies. Of course, if the rating agencies had been doing their jobs it could not have gone on for long. But those in a position to know what was happening, since about 2001, did know what was happening and let it happen. Oh, what tangled webs we weave!

    Dear Bill,

    Thanks for having Senator Dick Durbin on your program.

    Senator Durbin for President! Maybe Durbin and Obama can switch places!

    That being said, I am an Obama supporter, if for no other reason than the two-party system gave me almost no other choice. Yes, homeowners MUST be allowed to include their primary residence in a bankruptcy court. Simple fact is that many people, maybe most, are looking at bankruptcy BECAUSE of the actions of the financial corporations as a whole, whether that be fraudulent mortgages or CDSs. There is a double standard - moral hazard for homeowners who are about to loose their homes, but no moral hazard for banks being bailed out.

    The federal government can help people stay in their homes without causing future problems. This can be done by taking each potential foreclosure one at a time, each case decided on it merits. This of course would be expensive, but what better way to help the economy than putting people to work resolving these foreclosure/bankruptcy issues.

    And finally, Senator Durbin has it right. It is time for public funding of political campaigns. In addition to getting the banks and other corporate liars and cheats out of the congressional process, it would certainly shorten the campaigns and very probably curtail much of the negative campaigning.

    As I have stated before to my senators, representative, and President Obama, I believe we are in the midst of something much bigger than an economic/financial crisis. We are in fact in a crisis of representative democracy, and have been in this crisis for at least twenty years, if not longer. It is a crisis, but a crisis which our government can handle. Our form of government is a self-correcting government. All Congress need do is recognize that Congress is at this time broken and set about the task of fixing Congress.

    Senator Durbin for President!

    What I would mildly qualify as obscene, this foreclosure exercise by US banks must be somehow stopped. It not only prejudices and damages a US economy but also that of the world.
    The bill introduced makes perfect sense - it could have gone even further as to prohibit the dismantling of these buildings... an absolute crime not even considering the reality of the homeless, whatever the reason behind it may be.

    Of course banks are not expected to be become non-profit, but after they have been "unmasked" they must make amends as part of a society/community that they damaged and depends on them.

    I wonder how many of us has had the opportunity to view a short doc. entitled "Money as Debt", which served as a cold bucket in my face regarding to "where some money really comes from"

    As an outside observer, I can't begin to understand the following...
    - Why are homes build from timber, paper and highly combustible petroleum products?
    - Why the insistence to rebuild in a highly unstable areas such as in hurricane paths, flood zones and fire traps?

    Just a few quick thoughts brought forth by the defeated bill.
    How sad and unconscionable.
    Sincelery
    Alicia

    I can't STAND this any longer: the Blatant RAPING of the American people!!! Let me see: We pay the govt through OUR taxes, to give OUR money to the banks, so They won't fail, BUT they won't give an inch to save American people's homes. A problem THEY created, we pay for, they profit and we loose!! This is an oxy-moron situation! I can't believe "WE the People" are falling for all this.
    Guess what : If the banks , that own our mortagages fail---who do we have to repay? They have "bam-boozeled" us!
    I am ENRAGED by all of this! And those politicians are NO LONGER SERVING the American people. They are padding their own accounts and securing their Re-election campaign funding--by selling out the American public! And we have fallen for all this. They have used fear to manipulate us--again. WAKE UP AMERICA! Believe me! The Politicians, Bankers, CEO's, CFO's. lobbiest WONT be pitching tents at the end of this, as We will be doing. They take care of Themselves, but not U.S.!!!!
    It does give me some comfort to hear that a RARE few in Washington such as Senator Durbin are exposing the truth and working for U.S.

    What I would mildly qualify as obscene, this foreclosure exercise by US banks must be somehow stopped. It not only prejudices and damages a US economy but also that of the world.
    The bill introduced makes perfect sense - it could have gone even further as to prohibit the dismantling of these buildings... an absolute crime not even considering the reality of the homeless, whatever the reason behind it may be.

    Of course banks are not expected to be become non-profit, but after they have been "unmasked" they must make amends as part of a society/community that they damaged and depends on them.

    I wonder how many of us has had the opportunity to view a short doc. entitled "Money as Debt", which served as a cold bucket in my face regarding to "where some money really comes from"

    As an outside observer, I can't begin to understand the following...
    - Why are homes build from timber, paper and highly combustible petroleum products?
    - Why the insistence to rebuild in a highly unstable areas such as in hurricane paths, flood zones and fire traps?

    Just a few quick thoughts brought forth by the defeated bill.
    How sad and unconscionable.
    Sincelery
    Alicia

    dick durbin is the best the american people can rely on? after taking 1.3 million from the banking industry and now decrying them, he's the one that's going to save us? It reminds me of the bankruptcy "reform" of a couple of years ago. People are stuck, corporations shed debt now. the more i see the less i like of the 535 congress members. Jane Harmon(?) indignant response to her being wiretapped is a classic case, do as I say, not as I do.

    The interesting thing is that the banks don't know their own interest.

    Right now under current law mortgage debt is senior to all other debt; so going into bankruptcy court instead of foreclosure would effectively put banks possibly behind other debtors ( Adam Leviton at Georgetown has done studies seeming to indicate that this is not much of an effect - see www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/levitin/documents/LevitinSenateJudiciaryTestimony.pdf
    ).

    However the bigger issue is that foreclosure proceedings are backed up right now; bankruptcy court would give banks the ability to recover some of their money. Also the threat of bringing a person into bankruptcy might possibly get people who can to pay their mortgages to do so and not just walk away. And this is the main thing that we should remember in all these bank bailout bills : until now none of the bailouts have made toxic assets any less toxic - all they have done ( through loans, guarantees etc. ) is shift the losses to the taxpayer. The threat of bankruptcy ( remember bankruptcy courts are open and foreclosure courts are booked ) might get more people who can pay to pay and also gives us another way to begin to value these toxic assets at realistic prices ( right now there is a side debate going on as to whether toxic assets should be valued at spot market prices [ arguably too low ] or at hope-for-the-best book value ). Valuing these assets can also begin to produce a Real Stress Test that tells us how much capital these banks need.

    Thanks again Bill.
    Where is our fearless leader in this? Why is the Pres not engaged in moving forward to reform the banks??? Banks should be intelligent stewards and financial guiders. Banks should not be the smart Mafia-like monkeys whose only goal is to grab all the bananas.

    Sad to report this but Durbin's solution appears to be just another band-aid remedy to a much more complex economic problem.
    Peace,
    Cosmic

    No doubt that the Band-Aid fix has become a staple in the world of political correctness. A cop out for politicians who want their special interest money while glossing over their constituent's problems at the same time.

    I finally got around to watching the movie, "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" recently. Yet another Frank Capra masterpiece with the late Jimmy Stewart. This movie was made 70 years ago this year and the depiction of the Senate was astonishing, this story line could have come from yesterday. Our society's ingenuity and creativity has led to so many marvelous advances that have made people's lives better over the past 70 years, it's sad that our government is still stuck in the past with no real relevance to todays problems.

    I applaud people like Bill Moyer and Senator Durbin who manage to see beyond the financial theories and moralizing to the fact that foreclosures represent people being thrown out on the street, losing their homes. At such a time, Moralizers and financial theorists should be branded as the Ebenezer Scrooge characters that they are and we should act immediately to help people in need stay in their homes. Senator Durbin, please do not give up the fight!

    Yes please, if you could use a central website with the contact information of these lobbysts, we, the average people, can take care of lobbying them to stop.

    Publish all the banking lobbyists phone numbers, address, office contact info, and let the American people handle this, since the Absolute corruption has stunned the brains of elected officials. Lets hassle them until they leave this country.

    Is it possible to publish info. on the banks who lobbied so hard after receiving bailout funds? Campaign finance reform will either come, or we will watch our once great Republic sold on the auction block to the highest bidders.

    I sympathize with Sen Durbin on both counts, that helping homeowners should not take a backseat to saving banks, and that we need election reform, but I disagree entirely with his program. The best thing for the country, banks and homeowners alike, is to simply liquidate all bad positions as fast as possible. We cannot afford to sustain them, and holding out that prospect is delaying recovery, just as it did in the Depression. That will speed new production, and investment, now diverted to wasteful consumption, will be made available to fund it. The best election reform may be to eliminate campaign financing and campaigns altogether and let parties or people nominate those they think deserving, while concentrating on eliminating the general corruption in our social and economic system through decisive monetary and fiscal reform. A 100% fractional reserve requirement and a balanced budget amendment would go a long way towards doing that. Too, with the Internet there's little to restrain opinion, and ppl not needing to make money by scratching one anothers' backs are under no compunction to softsoap others' hypocrisy.

    Thank you, Bill Moyers, for your conscience, a conscience exercised all these years. More than any other journalist on the national scene, you see through the baloney and cut through the spin to reveal the often painful truth. You have opened our eyes -- and our hearts-- more than any other scribe or broadcaster on the national scene. Bless you and may you continue to contribute to the public dialogue.

    I am so angry about what has happened I don't know where to start. I opened the NY Times this morning to read that FEMA is kicking out the the people who are living in them to only scrap or sell the trailers for a fraction of their value. This when we have homeless people all over this country, FEMA is going to scrap the trailers. This is a symptom of the whole inability of the government to address the current problems.

    I"m not sure I'm going to watch this program or other programs on the economic turmoil we're in. Why? Because the media never seems to follow up on what the guests say, no matter how significant or controversial their comments are.
    It's not only Moyers progam but all the PBS TV and radio programs. I feel like I'm in two different worlds: the world of PBS and the world of the general media. The content on one is mssing from the content of the other.
    I'm a senior and as much as I admire Bill Moyers--the best journalist around, I don't need this extra heartburn.

    Sad to report this but Durbin's solution appears to be just another band-aid remedy to a much more complex economic problem.

    Not surprising though as Washington bureaucrats haven't had either the ingenuity or imagination to tackle these types of puzzlers in a long time.

    It's death by slow blows to American democracy as Washington has been bought off by "special interests".

    The two-party American political system has expired. Does anyone think it's credible still ?

    Peace,
    Cosmic

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