Thursday, February 25, 2010

Posts to Facebook re Michigan's Budget Crisis

Tax hike won't solve budget woes Governor's proposal courts failure by avoiding more long-term ref Feb. 24, 2010

It is not my nature to be confrontational, but any cost cutting measures at the state level that do not address the excessively high cost of public employee wages and benefits will not be a long-term solution. They must be brought down to private sector equivalents.
School, Government Employee Unions Drain Their Host
By Jack McHugh, The Mackinac Center for Public Policy Feb. 23, 2010

The union's choice of retaining high salary and benefit levels instead of retaining service levels for Wayne County residents is not a viable long-term solution. It's time for public sector unions to wake up and smell the coffee brewing in Michigan. Feb. 23, 2010

The Governor's Proposed Budget includes a tax increase without sufficient savings from salaries and benefits from state and public school employees. The Legislature must do better. Editorial: Balance Michigan budget with labor cost savings Feb. 14, 2010

Unions bleed taxpayers to help Democrats, Feb. 9, 2010

For more, go to my Facebook page at!/olson48176?ref=profile

Cheers! Rick


  1. Predatory Lending is a major contributor to the economic turmoil we are currently experiencing.

    Here is an example of what I am talking about:
    Scott Veerkamp / Predatory Lending (Franklin Township School Board Member.)

    Please review this information from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley regarding deceptive lending practices:
    "Steering payments were made to brokers who enticed unsuspecting homeowners into deceptive and expensive mortgages. These secret bonus payments, often called Yield Spread Premiums, turned home mortgages into a SCAM."

    The Center for Responsible Lending says YSP "steals equity from struggling families."
    1. Scott collected nearly $10,000 on two separate mortgages using YSP and junk fees. 2. This is an average of $5,000 per loan. 3. The median value of the properties was $135,000. 4. Clearly, this type of lending represents a major ripoff for consumers.

  2. Many people are to blame for the housing crisis:

    1. The Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to look more favorably on some neighborhoods than prudent loan underwriting would have warranted.

    2. Freddie Mac and Fannie May were pushed to be more aggressive in its backing of mortgage loans.

    3. Wall Street firms packaging financial instruments sold investments the buyers had no idea what they were purchasing (and now, apparently with Goldman Sachs intentionally withholding critical info).

    4. Credit rating agencies were being influenced by their clients to rate the investments as low risk, with clear conflicts of interest.

    5. Mortgage brokers, with nothing at risk once the loan was placed, had no incentive to carefully underwrite the loans, and every reason to make as much commission as possible. There is nothing inherently wrong with Yield Spread Premiums (YSP) as that is the pay the mortgage brokers get, but it would be wrong if those YSP's were not fully disclosed so consumers could make fully informed decisions. Lenders took huge risks with "income and asset stated" loans, with no confirmation of ability to repay the loans.

    6. Appraisers in many cases colluded with the brokers to estimate market values to facilitate the sales and mortgages.

    7. Some realtors colluded with the appraisers to sell homes at unrealistic prices to increase their commissions based on a percentage of the selling price.

    8. Greedy buyers, risking other people's money, took out loans they could not afford, with the only hope of the loan working out if the already inflated real estate values continued to rise (and that then they could make money "flipping" the home. Many misrepresented their financial position to obtain loans.

    There was (and is) plenty of blame to spread around. What amazes me is that there have not been more prosecutions and law suits for fraud brought against the many wrongdoers at all levels.

  3. Oh, and let's not forget the Federal Reserve Board for keeping interest rates lower than they should have for too long, making mortgage money cheap, equivalent to continuing to pour gasoline onto a fire.

    Of course, all of the politicians likes all of this, for maintaining "good times" during their tenure made their reelection more likely.