Once this year’s budget battle is settled, Congress will move on to potentially bigger fights over whether to raise the national debt limit and how to rein in the costs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Wouldn’t it be nice if, when their own Nobel Prize-winning columnist writes about Social Security, they actually paid attention? THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH SOCIAL SECURITY!!!
I wonder if this is true, and I wonder who’s leaking it — and why. Keep in mind, of course, that The Daily is a Rupert Murdoch property:
At the tail end of her mission to bolster the Libyan opposition, which has suffered days of losses to Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, Clinton announced that she’s done with Obama after 2012 — even if he wins again.
“Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up,” a Clinton insider told The Daily. “She’s exhausted, tired.”
Well, yes. So this does have the ring of truth, unfortunately. If there’s anything I could say about Obama, it’s that he’s a ditherer. And believe it or not, it is sometimes more useful to make the wrong decision quickly than to drag things out as if it were a graduate seminar.
I wouldn’t agree with Clinton, either; it sounds as if she’s pushing for war with Libya. So we’re screwed either way.
Remember when I wrote last month about that Philadelphia music promoter who sued Wells Fargo — and won the right to auction off their property?
I couldn’t figure out why Wells Fargo was forcing this replacement-value insurance policy on the guy:
Rodgers made all his mortgage payments on time, but Wells decided out of the blue that he had to carry insurance for the full replacement value of his home — $1 million — and started to charge him an extra $500 a month in premiums. When Rodgers sent a formal letter to the lender questioning this, they did not answer in good time, so a court awarded him $1,000 in damages, which Wells wouldn’t pay. So the court is allowing him to sell the contents of the lender’s office to make good on the bill.
[...] “It’s a completely unreasonable demand,” says Irv Ackelsberg, a mortgage expert at the Philadelphia law firm Langer, Grogan & Diver. “Their interest is in protecting their mortgage, not ensuring that the house is rebuilt.”
Rodgers’ next step put him at some risk, he concedes now. He refused to renew the higher-cost policy. Instead, Wells Fargo bought him so-called forced-placement insurance – a policy that typically costs much more than ordinary coverage and only protects the mortgage-holder’s interests.
It took a couple of days after the Anonymous leak for the contents to sink in, but I finally connected the dots. Rodgers was more than a victim of bank abuse — this was systematic outright fraud throughout the mortgage and banking industry. It wasn’t just Wells Fargo.
Bank of America Corp. owns a force-placed insurance subsidiary, and most other major servicers receive commissions or reinsurance fees on the very same policies they purchase on investors’ and borrowers’ behalf.
Court documents show that a subsidiary of the country’s largest specialty insurer paid undisclosed “commissions” for the rights to a servicer’s force-placed business.
State court filings show alleged abuse in which banks charged borrowers for unnecessary insurance and backdated policies providing coverage retroactively. Often the insurance was acquired only after banks stopped advancing the premiums of delinquent borrowers’ escrowed policies, causing those cheaper and more comprehensive policies to expire. In response to questions from American Banker, federal and state officials said that some practices that industry trade groups defend may not be legal.
Foreclosure defense and legal aid attorneys say force-placed insurance is found on most of the severely delinquent loans in this country. If so, the cost to investors may well be in the billions of dollars.
With little regulatory oversight or even private investor awareness, force-placed insurance has helped make drawn-out foreclosures lucrative for servicers — far more so, in some cases, than helping a borrower return to performing status. As the intermediary between borrower and investor, servicers appear to be benefiting themselves at the expense of both.
I must say, with so much bad news in the world right now, I can always count on the Wisconsin labor movement to cheer me right up. Last night, Wisconsin’s Republican muckety-mucks were in D.C. for a lovely little fundraiser being thrown by Haley “Heck, I’m No Racist” Barbour’s high-powered Beltway lobbying firm.
Wisconsin Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald along with Assistant Leaders Rep. Scott Suder and Senator Glenn Grothman; and Joint Finance Co-Chairs Rep. Robin Vos and Senator Alberta Darling are all in DC this evening enjoying a quiet evening of fundraising with their hosts the Barbour Griffith & Rogers lobbying firm. Or maybe not.
A few hundred protesters sought to make the GOP Representatives feel like they were back in the occupied Capitol building by taking over the atrium of the Homer Building where BGR LLC is headquartered. Our friends at First-Draft report that after 13th Street began to overflow, the protesters began marching toward the White House. Here’s video of the march.
Oh, and so many protesters gathered on 13th Street that the police shut down the block — because they wouldn’t all fit on the sidewalk.