commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

Bernanke and the Fed keep their juice…..

Do you remember when Congress was going to fry him alive?

Then Time magazine made him the Man of the Year?

Well it seems that with Obama standing in his corner and the Democrats cooling down….

The Federal Reserve and its Chairman has done Ok in the days, weeks and months after the financial meltdown…..

They had pushed back an attempt by congress to curtail their power of oversight and picked up a few new responsibilities…..

Instead of submitting to a chokehold by Congress, the Fed is walking away largely unscathed from fights with lawmakers from the left and right.

As Congress revamps Wall Street regulations, Democrats and Republicans have sharply criticized the Fed and its chairman, Ben Bernanke, for lapses in the run-up to the crisis. They have lashed out at the bank for committing trillions in taxpayer dollars to bail out Wall Street.

In January, Bernanke received the fewest votes in support of his confirmation of any Fed chairman.

But a bipartisan consensus is emerging to protect the Fed’s independence and shore up the private market’s confidence in the central bank.

The Senate approved two amendments this week that are victories for the Fed, and lawmakers are on the way to passing legislation that houses a new consumer protection regulator at the central bank.

“I think there is a broad recognition of the benefits of having an independent central bank,” said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) last week scaled back a popular amendment requiring new audits of the bank, amid warnings from the White House and Fed that it would compromise the independence of the bank and threaten monetary policy.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved, 96-4, the modified amendment, which would require a one-time audit of the central bank’s emergency lending during the crisis but not provide broader audit power of monetary policy. Shortly afterward, senators voted down, 37-62, a much tougher amendment from Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that mirrored legislation the House passed in Decemember……..


May 13, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Men, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates, Women | , | 1 Comment

Bernanke and the Fed are taking the Economy off life Support….

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke began Wednesday to outline how the central bank may tighten monetary policy and end programs used to prop up the economy during the financial crisis.

Bernanke said in written testimony released by the Fed that the economy continues to need “accommodative monetary policies,” but that at some point the central bank will need to tighten monetary policy.

Bernanke was scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee, but the hearing was postponed because of the heavy snowstorm hitting the Washington area.

The testimony begins to shed light on how the Fed will try to navigate the need to boost the economy while also fending off the potential for inflation.

Mr. Bernanke’s speech Wednesday was designed to outline the Fed\’s strategy for withdrawing its extraordinary support for the economy, which has brought the federal-funds rate near zero and led the Fed to buy more than $1 trillion worth of U.S. Treasury and mortgage-backed securities. He said the sequencing and tools the Fed would use to tighten policy would depend on how the economic recovery develops.

The Fed chairman said he didn’t currently anticipate that the Fed would sell any of its holdings of long-term U.S. Treasurys or mortgage-backed securities “in the near term,” and probably not “until after policy tightening has gotten under way and the economy is clearly in a sustainable recovery.” But over time, he said, “the Federal Reserve anticipates that its balance sheet will shrink toward more historically normal levels and that most or all of its security holdings will be Treasury securities.”

Bernanke was confirmed to his second term as chairman with the fewest votes in support of any Fed chairman. The Fed has come under heavy criticism from congressional lawmakers for its role in the run-up to the financial crisis and for the various steps taken by the Fed and other government offices to bail out financial firms.

Bernanke said that the Fed currently has $116 billion in credit extended stemming from the bailouts of Bear Stearns and American International Group (AIG), the crippled insurer. Bernanke said that the Federal Reserve Board “continues to anticipate that the Federal Reserve will ultimately incur no loss on these loans.”

Bernanke reiterated his support for a new regulatory system to allow for the resolution of failing firms that threaten the broad financial system.

The Dog hopes that this is the right timing…..Some Banks are experiencing slowdowns in mortgage s on home…while it is the slow season of the winter….Bnaks and Mortgage originators are worried that more stringent and higher thresholds for new home buyers may hurt the market…..But the Dog understands that with the FHA having problems with loans…they need to shore up their bottom line with sound strong loans….One hops that the spring brings more growth in the housing market which drove the country into its steep recession a year ago….

February 10, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Law, Media, Men, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Government is pulling back from providing help to the Mortgage markets….

For more than a year, the government pulled out the stops to revive home buying by driving down mortgage rates.

Now, whether the housing market is ready or not, the government is pulling out.

The wind-down of federal support for mortgage rates, set to end in two months, is a momentous test of whether the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve have succeeded in jump-starting the housing market and ensuring it can hold its own. The stakes for the economy are massive: If the market again falls into a tailspin, homeowners could face another wave of trouble, and it would deal a body blow to President Obama‘s efforts to get the economy on track.

Keeping the mortgage rates at historic lows, which required a commitment of more than $1 trillion, was viewed within the administration as a central plank of the economic strategy last year, senior officials said. Though the policy did not attract as much attention as rescue efforts to bail out banks, it helped revitalize home buying in some parts of the country and put money in the pockets of millions of homeowners who were able to refinance into lower monthly payments, the officials added.

The Dog noticed with alarm the fact that the FHA was going make things a bit harder for first time mortagage s……

Now another shoe is going to drop……

And Dog is afraid that moving in these ways may stop the slow recovery in its tracks and put the country into a second immediate down turn that would seriously hurt the country and certainly doom Obama to a one term and wreck any chance the Democrats have of keeping either houses in Congress……

Easy does it..might be the better course here…….

Update..…..Existing-home sales plunged in December, dropping lower than expected after three straight increases that were fed by a fat government tax credit.

Banks are making it difficult for some people to get loans. Joblessness in the U.S. is high, muting the economy’s recovery.

“The market is going through a period of swings driven by the tax credit,” NAR economist Lawrence Yun said. “We’ll likely have another surge in the spring as home buyers take advantage of the extended and expanded tax credit.”

Before the big drop last month, sales had gone up three straight times. Prices and borrowing costs are low. Plus, first-time buyers can get the $8,000 tax relief.

For all of 2009, there were 5.16 million home sales, up 4.9% from 4.91 million in 2008. It was the first annual sales gain since 2005.

November 2009 existing-home sales rose an unrevised 7.4%.

Realtors had expected a pullback in December. They see a sales surge in the spring. Whether sales keep recovering after the tax credit expires depends on employment in the U.S., Mr. Yun said. “The job market remains a concern and could dampen the housing recovery,” he said.

Question?…..will there be a uptic? …or will the governments gamble to save money…. and ween the financial markets off the government money, backfire and slow home sales?

January 25, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Home, Media, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates | , , , , | 6 Comments

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gets jostled on the Hill……

The Chairman gets no respect from some of the Congress’s members( Sen. Jim Bunning is long-winded, isn’t he?)….his approval for new term has been stalled…but he’s a lock for another term…..man he has a tough job…..and very few friends…..

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Government, Media, Politics, The Economy | , , , , | Leave a comment

Chair of the Federal Reserve forcasts moderate growth thru 2010…..

Ben Bernanke predicted today that the United States economy would continue its slow growth, thru the middle of next year.….his statment was an attempt to help the US dollar in financial markets……but he also acknowledged that employer’s are waiting to rehire help, trying to get as much productivity out of current workers as possible……

One must always remember that although the Fed has helped in the recession…they are always more sensitive to inflation fears…and once the economy starts to really come back they will be raising interest rates which will cool off the housing market and also affect the auto industry…tes, they’ve got quite a balancing act to perform……

November 16, 2009 Posted by | Government, Media, Politics, The Economy | , , , , , | 7 Comments

New Fed rules will require banks to ask you for your ok on overdrafy fee’s on ATM and debit cards…..

Starting  July 1st, 2010 banks will have to get your ok for charging fee’s on overdrafts for ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases……these rules WILL NOT cover checking accounts, or automatic bill paying services from your checking accounts…..The rule also requires banks to offer customers who do not sign up for overdraft protection the same accounts, features and services as those who do…..

These rules are the first many new rules coming from the Fed and Congress regulating up how banks deal with its customers…….

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Fed rules will require banks to ask you for your ok on overdrafy fee's on ATM and debit cards…..

Starting  July 1st, 2010 banks will have to get your ok for charging fee’s on overdrafts for ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases……these rules WILL NOT cover checking accounts, or automatic bill paying services from your checking accounts…..The rule also requires banks to offer customers who do not sign up for overdraft protection the same accounts, features and services as those who do…..

These rules are the first many new rules coming from the Fed and Congress regulating up how banks deal with its customers…….

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Banks are squeezing and cuting credit card holders…..

As Congress continues to look into the credit card business, and signals that it will be ready to fast track a new bill that that was supposed to take a few years to come into effect, the banks are cutting people out of their cards, raising interest rates and cutting credit availability….…

Since the economic down turn banks have been making deals for repayment and slashing the number of cards out in circulation….when the Fed asked banks..they replied that at least 50% of the banks where increasing interest rates and reducing credit lines….in addition, 40 percent reported they where imposing higher fee’s……

…..’A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, released late last month, concluded that the 12 largest banks, issuing more than 80 percent of the credit cards, were continuing to use practices that the Fed concluded were “unfair or deceptive” and that in many instances had been outlawed by Congress.’

The bill in Congress will give consumers more protection against interest rate increases, and more  timely notification on those changes…..

The banks are now sharply cutting back on their old habit of loose credit reeling in customers and then increasing credit lines and then charging fee’s when the customers stretch out repayments…..

Already in the lsat 12 months there has been a 72 million drop in Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover card accounts ( there are still a staggering 555 million credit card accounts out there! )….

One could say it’s about time the banks only offer cards to those who can pay the money back…..And that’s good….

But man there is still a half  BILLION cards out there…that sure is a lot of fee’s owed…..

November 9, 2009 Posted by | Law, Media, Politics, The Economy | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For Bankers…..the other shoe is dropping on compensation………

Remember how in the middle of everything going sideways, at the beginning of the year,  the banks got federal bail out loans?……Remember how the banks boards  played it’s CEO ‘s , and top dogs bonuses, even if the bank, or financial institution didn’t make money, and had the government bail them out?…With our money?

Well, the other shoe is about to drop in the form of a regulation due to come out by the nation\’s Federal Reserve Board …..The Fed regulates over 5,000 banks that are federally,  and state chartered, and has always had the ability to dictate things that would make sure that the banks its oversees are viable……and in July, the House Financial Services Committee gave the bank overseers more authority to stop,’impudently risky compensation practices”…..

The regulations will give the Fed the ability to reviewnot set….compensation packages and amend them as they see fit to discourage “harmful incentives’…….( what ever that means)

The regulations do not have to be voted on by the Congress…but , will get flack from the republicans, and others who believe that the government has no business meddling in the business of private business…..EXCEPT THAT ….they had to get your government’s approval to go into business, and a whole batch of them took our money to stay in business…….the regulation does not effect savings and loans or state banks covered by the FDIC…..

September 18, 2009 Posted by | Other Things, Politics, The Economy | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments