Sunday, May 18, 2008

Barney Frank and the Miss America Pageant?

One of the things I look forward to in the Saturday Boston Globe is the political cartoons and quotes of the week on the Op-Ed page. I usually get a couple of good chuckles out of it and this week was no exception.

"People aren't good at doing things they dislike. Like asking me to judge the Miss America contest -- if your heart's not in it, you don't do a very good job."

Representative BARNEY FRANK of Massachusettes, on persuading Republicans to bail out the economy.

It's a funny quote considering that Rep. Frank is a well known homosexual.

But it's also disappointing that this is reality. It's amazing to me that the only time Republicans are behind a bailout is when the company is big enough to line their pockets for a re-election bid -- the Chrysler bailout under Reagan, tax breaks to oil companies and the Fed's recent actions for Bear Stearns. But when a bill is proposed to provide $500M in funds to keep people in their houses during the current mortgage credit collapse Republicans don't want to help. They don't want to "reward" banks for making bad credit decisions, sidestepping the fact that the real beneficiaries are the people who are currently living in those houses. What's worse is that the opponents of the bill suffer from amnesia when they make their arguments. The bill clearly states that the benefits only accrue to people who are already living in the houses, preventing others from literally cashing in on others' misfortunes for their own gain.

$1200 tax rebates are nice, but in a situation where we spend $4B a day to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, $500M during the course of a year to help keep people in their homes and steady a precipitously declining housing market seems like a more than reasonable way to spend our taxpayers' money. Perhaps the people who get the rebates will then use them to keep their mortgages current and fill up their gas tanks instead of blowing the money on rent and moving expenses.

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