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"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election; the people who COUNT the votes do." -- Joseph Stalin

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Barack Obama's Weekly Address: 12/13/09

Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama
Radio Address on the Economy
Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good morning.

Earlier this week, we learned that the number of Americans filing their first claim for unemployment insurance rose to a nearly 30-year high. This news reflects the pain that’s been rippling across our entire economy. Jobs are being cut. Wages are being slashed. Credit is tight and people can’t get loans. In cities and towns all across this country, families enter a holiday season with unease and uncertainty.

To end this economic crisis, we must end the mortgage crisis where it began. This all started when Americans took out mortgages they couldn’t afford. Some were reckless, aware of the risks they were accepting, but many were innocent, tricked by lenders out to make a quick buck. With banks creating securities they could not value, and regulators looking the other way, the problem began infecting the whole economy, leading to the crisis we’re now facing.

One in ten families who owns a home is now in some form of distress, the most ever recorded. This is deeply troubling. It not only shakes the foundation of our economy, but the foundation of the American Dream. There is nothing more fundamental than having a home to call your own. It’s not just a place to live or raise your children or return after a hard day’s work -- it’s the cornerstone of a family’s financial security.

To stem the rising tide of foreclosures and strengthen our economy, I’ve asked my economic team to develop a bold plan that will dramatically increase the number of families who can stay in their homes. But this plan will only work with a comprehensive, coordinated federal effort to make it a reality. We need every part of our government working together -- from the Treasury Department to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the agency that protects the money you’ve put in the bank. And few will be more essential to this effort than the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

From providing shelter to those displaced by Katrina to giving help to those facing the loss of a home to revitalizing our cities and communities, HUD’s role has never been more important. Since its founding, HUD has been dedicated to tearing down barriers in access to affordable housing -- in an effort to make America more equal and more just. Too often, these efforts have had mixed results.

That is why we cannot keep doing things the old Washington way. We cannot keep throwing money at the problem, hoping for a different result. We need to approach the old challenge of affordable housing with new energy, new ideas, and a new, efficient style of leadership. We need to understand that the old ways of looking at our cities just won’t do. That means promoting cities as the backbone of regional growth by not only solving the problems in our cities, but seizing the opportunities in our growing suburbs, exurbs, and metropolitan areas. No one knows this better than the outstanding public servant I am announcing today as our next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development -- Shaun Donovan.

As Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development in New York City, Shaun has led the effort to create the largest housing plan in the nation, helping hundreds of thousands of our citizens buy or rent their homes. Prior to joining Mayor Bloomberg’s administration, Shaun worked both in business, where he was responsible for affordable housing investments, and at one of our nation’s top universities, where he researched and wrote about housing issues. This appointment represents something of a homecoming for Shaun, who worked at HUD in the Clinton administration, leading an effort to help make housing affordable for nearly two million Americans. Trained as an architect, Shaun understands housing down to how homes are designed, built, and wired.

With experience that stretches from the public sector to the private sector to academia, Shaun will bring to this important post fresh thinking, unencumbered by old ideology and outdated ideas. He understands that we need to move past the stale arguments that say low-income Americans shouldn’t even try to own a home or that our mortgage crisis is due solely to a few greedy lenders. He knows that we can put the dream of owning a home within reach for more families, so long as we’re making loans in the right way, and so long as those who buy a home are prepared for the responsibilities of homeownership.

In the end, expanding access to affordable housing isn’t just about caring for the least fortunate among us and strengthening our middle class -- it’s about ending our housing mess, climbing out of our financial crisis, and putting our economy on the path to long-term growth and prosperity. And that is what Shaun and I will work to do together when I am President of the United States.

Thank you.

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  1. Yeah, but isn't it part of Marx/Lenin/Socialist teachings that no one should own property to begin with? What a better way to start then getting many of the lower classes kicked out of those homes to be reclaimed by partially govt owned banks! ;) LOL!

    That aside I hope he has a plan for the ARM & ARM2 (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) defaults that will be happening within the next 6-8 months. As well as a plan to handle the Credit Card and Auto credit waves after them!

  2. This post skips the fact that the Bush decimation of the economy was intentional and designed to drive this country to become just another third world nation of the rich and the working class -- no middle class. Veiled references to Obama as a Marxist are symptomatic of a man who is frustrated at seeing Obama gain the presidency. Live with it.

  3. Actually Mr. Clinton signed in the bill that 'decimated' the economy that was backed by him and the Fed chairman. Along with Chase designed the funding scheme that allowed every party involved to go 'wild'. A bill that was finally 'fixed' in June '08.

    It was also Mr. Clinton that allowed Enron to happen.

    Which is something I believe was a 'test-run' for energy de-regulation to see if it would work or not on a large scale. It's also interesting that it happened in a heavily Green state as well.

  4. Frank,

    You are desperately fact-challenged. Your Enron post is a fantasy. Here are the facts:

    Shortly after taking office, President Bush waged a battle against the imposition of federal price controls in California that allowed Enron to price-gouge consumers by extending the energy crisis in California, costing the state billions of dollars. Enron reported increased revenues of almost $70 billion from the previous year.

    Bush also resisted attempts to crack down on Enron's utilization of its 847 offshore subsidiaries in countries with lax banking-regulation laws. The consumer-rights watchdog organization Public Citizen alleges that some of these offshore havens helped Enron defraud its stockholders.

    Moreover, while Sen. Gramm was working the Congress to pass legislation favorable to Enron (and collecting nearly $260,000 in campaign contributions from the company), his wife Wendy Gramm first was chairperson of a regulatory committee overseeing Enron's business activities and later a paid member of that company's board of directors. Enron paid her between $915,000 and $1.85 million, according Public Citizen. Sen. Gramm has announced his decision not to seek reelection for another term in the senate.

    Enron, whose stock price plummeted from almost $85 per share to $0.25 per share within one year, forced its employees to invest their retirement plans in the company stock while corporate executives were free to make out like bandits by selling their stock when it was near its peak before anyone caught wind of the company's impending collapse. Jeffrey K. Skilling, who resigned his position as Enron's chief executive in August, sold more than $30 million worth of his stock in the company this year. Lay, who was Skilling's predecessor, was able to unload about $23 million worth of his Enron stock.

    Meanwhile, employees, who invested in Enron stock through their company's 401(k) plan, were prohibited in diversifying into other securities. They lost their shirts while 500 of the company's top executives divided up $55 million worth of bonuses.

    George W. Bush lied when he said that he first got to know Ken Lay in 1994, and that Ken Lay was a supporter of his opponent, Ann Richards. Actually, Lay first started contributing to GW's career
    back in 1978, and in fact gave GW three times as much money in 1994 as he did Ann Richards.

    Dick Cheney met six times with Enron executives while writing up this nation's energy policy which benefited Enron 17 ways, and then refused to tell Congress anything about those meetings. Cheney also met with Ken Lay during the California energy crisis.
    The day after the meeting, Cheney said the Bush administration would not support price caps on energy in California, a move that cost Californians and made Enron billions.

    Enron was a large campaign contributor to Texas Senator Phil Gramm. In 1992, his wife, Wendy, was the chair of the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission. She moved to exempt Enron's energy-swap operation from government oversight, then days later resigned and took a job with Enron on its audit committee.

    Karl Rove, Bush's Political Adviser, held up to $250,000 worth of Enron stock.

    Frank, stay in school . . .


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