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Thread: The Wall Street Crisis

  1. #1

    Default The Wall Street Crisis

    Ok I know this forum is barely interested in Wall Street and Finance stuff, and much more interested in social issues (my last thread on Bear Stearn got like no interest), but as my work is heavily related to finance and investment, I'll sprout off anyway.

    Having seen McCain and Obama trying as they may to offer "plans" and "solutions", I have to say that neither of them know what they hell they are dealing with and talking about. This is way over their heads. McCain is just not a business-finance guy, and his saving grace, if elected, will be that he does have some solid people he can rely on, like Fiorina, Meg Whitman and Mitt Romney. (And before anyone jokes about Fiorina's latest gaffe, that's as bad as sneering at Obama's lipstick gaffe so let's all on both sides just cut it out. What she said, that none of the 4 White House resident-wannabes, qualify to run a Fortune 500 multinational corporation, is true. McCain and Obama both have in the last few days clearly showed by their pathetic attempts to talk about the Wall Street Crisis. And Biden, forget about it. Sarah Palin is probably the most capable of the 4 to deal with financials, but that isn't saying much either.) But of course, advisors are not as good as someone who actually knows the stuff himself. As for Obama, I actually think he's intelligent enough to learn and understand Wall Street and all its complexities, and his saving grace may be that he can try to figure things out. But his heart is clearly not in it, and now having to address financial woes, it's like watching a kid being fed spinach. A person can't be the best fixer of something that he lacks interest in.

    This is what an article in the WSJ has to say, and it's my sentiment exactly:

    The media is turning the news into a presidential video game. "Hurricane Ike" or "Wall Street Meltdown" appears onscreen, and the media boots up Barack Obama and John McCain to see how well they talk the problem. Mostly they are speaking gobbledygook about things they barely understand. Whatever a credit default swap is, I'm against it. The public is left to wonder if they are voting for a commentator in chief or commander in chief.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122169345090449893.html

    Warning: this is a pro-Palin article so no need for those who don't like her to read it. I just wanted to quote the above part to make a point.


    Which brings me back a full circle to Hillary Clinton. The Clintons LOVE this kind of stuff, all econ stats and numbers wonkish stuff. Hillary is more qualified and suitable by a mile (and more) to deal with the country's economic problems. And I don't care what anyone says, it would be great for Bill to be there too. I saw Bill being interviewed yesterday on CNBC about the financial crisis and the guy can talk about the issues in such depth and provide perspectives as if he's worked on Wall Street all his life. People say that want the president to fix the economy, but I'm sorry, people didn't vote like they did.
    Last edited by probativev; September 19th, 2008 at 12:13 AM.
    Alexa

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    Actually Alexa, I'm quite interested in what's going on on Wall Street. It seems to be the topic at the water cooler these days. Many people have lost a great deal of their money in stocks.

    Luckily we've avoided most deep politics and kept it fairly non-partisan - so I guess I'm more interested in the "what do you think is going to happen?" and "Do you think the government should have bailed out the companies" questions than the partisan type-current candidate issues.

    Anyway, I'm interested in what people think. I'll just ease out of the political forum, but this is a topic of interest for me - our current economy... and the California state budget, but that's a whole 'nother topic by itself...

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    I think that we have to know where we've been and how we got to here, before we formulate any plans to get us beyond here and into there. Or, how do we know where we're going if we don't know where we've been. Or we are doomed to keep making the same mistakes because we are too lazy to find out the how and the why of our mistakes.

    The following article “The Subprime Mess and Phil Gramm: Am Experiment in Deregulation” has been published on a number of blogs, special interest sites and in the comments section of other financial articles. The earliest publication I have been able to find is June 24, 2008 on the injuryboard.com site.
    http://losangeles.injuryboard.com/mi...oogleid=242468

    Note: I have included no quotes in this post because the articles are too long and jam packed with information and dog forbid, someone might just learn a little something. Or Not!

    The July/August publication of Mother Jones carried a similar article but focusing on the ramification of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. (Don't miss the Subprime 1-2-3 sidebar.)
    http://www.motherjones.com/news/feat...sure-phil.html

    As an accompaniment there is the "You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession" comment by Mccain economic advisor Phil Gramm. The Washington Times article below also includes the "nation of whiners" statement.
    http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/j...tal-recession/

    B Obama quickly followed up the "mental recession and nation of whiners" comments on July 10th in the following:
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2...5350099&page=1

    Understandably, Mr Gramm resigned from the McCain campaign several days later.

    I would not be surprised if Mr. Gramm still had McCain's ear. Although there is a new article in usatoday concerning this very subject:
    Advisers give clue to candidates on economy
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politic...conteams_N.htm
    Last edited by 4dogknight; September 19th, 2008 at 04:13 AM. Reason: grammar, always grammar with a soupcon of spelling.
    We have met the enemy and they is us.
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    Interesting that those who believe in "less government" are now suggesting that the government bail out these giant corporations. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but... Isn't it kind of ironic? I mean, if I get into money problems, I can't expect the government to bail me out.

    Luckily I stuck my retirement funds into the "safe" zone a couple of months ago so I haven't been affected by it, but I definitely feel for those who have. It's been rough.

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    Here's an interesting rundown of the events of the past week by Diamon and Kashyap and an idea of what happened/is happening:
    Diamond and Kashyap on the Recent Financial Upheavals
    http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.co...ial-upheavals/

  6. #6

    Default Truthiness Stages a Comeback


    Truthiness Stages a Comeback

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/op...prod=permalink

    "For better or worse, the candidacy of Barack Obama, a senator-come-lately, must be evaluated on his judgment, ideas and potential to lead. McCain, by contrast, has been chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, where he claims to have overseen “every part of our economy.” He didn’t, thank heavens, but he does have a long and relevant economic record that begins with the Keating Five scandal of 1989 and extends to this campaign, where his fiscal policies bear the fingerprints of Phil Gramm and Carly Fiorina. It’s not the résumé that a presidential candidate wants to advertise as America faces its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. [B]

    Oh, yeah, I remember the KEATING 5. Wasn't that the same type of low-life that ripped off the Savings and Loan Assn. because THEY COULD, and wasn't John McCain one of those under the gun (so to speak) in that debacle also? Kinda like the massive rip-off by Wall Street this past week - ad infintum?
    No problem, just have the taxpayers bail out the economic disaster with a $700 billion 'loan' from the taxpayers (anybody ask us?) whose figure now looms closer to a Trillion dollars (Tooo many '000000' to print here).

    Anybody know? Has the country gotten DUMB and DUMBER?
    _____

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    Quote Originally Posted by madison View Post
    [B]
    (Tooo many '000000' to print here).
    $700,000,000,000--at least that's what today's L.A. Times says. Divide that by 300,000,000 and you get $2333 apiece. Now, I don't know much about math but I don't see how lowering taxes fits in here.

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    And yet another reason to vote for the McCain / Palin team - NOT!

    McCain Campaign Can't...Won't...Rule Out Gramm As Treasury Secretary

    Words fail me at this time.......................
    We have met the enemy and they is us.
    Pogo (Walt Kelly)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4dogknight View Post
    And yet another reason to vote for the McCain / Palin team - NOT!

    McCain Campaign Can't...Won't...Rule Out Gramm As Treasury Secretary

    Words fail me at this time.......................

    "THE END". And we're not far from that right now. Even Sec. Paulson says he isn't 'sure' the $700 Billion dollar bail-out will work (FACE THE NATION - today), and they won't be certain until they get into some of the bad mortgage paper to see what's really there.

    QUESTION? Isn't THIS their job?
    Last edited by madison; September 22nd, 2008 at 11:44 AM. Reason: correct MTP statement

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4dogknight View Post
    I think that we have to know where we've been and how we got to here, before we formulate any plans to get us beyond here and into there. Or, how do we know where we're going if we don't know where we've been. Or we are doomed to keep making the same mistakes because we are too lazy to find out the how and the why of our mistakes.
    I absolutely agree with this. Unfortunately, both campaigns are short on time and they are trying to provide quick sound bites and mish-mashed "plans" to get votes, rather than providing real solutions. I would ignore both campaigns at this point, and look to the market, current working advisors and the Feds currently operating to provide short term solutions, and then hopefully to provide some blueprints for what the next administration should do.

    Personally I don't think this is about regulations or de-regulations. This mess is a result of a lot of things. To sum it all up, it's a result of:

    (1) Alan Greenspan and the government trying to maintain an up economy, setting prime rates articifically low, which in the end did not solve economic problems, as much as postponed them. I wonder if it might have been better if the rates weren't set so low all along.

    (2) Wall Street Greed --the traders and financial market pros knew exactly what was going on, they were trading worthless mortgage backed securities. I get really pissed off when these experts now express such "shock", and talk about how they didn't see this coming. Bull crap is what that is. They knew. But so long as they can profit, they didn't care. Leave the mess for someone else to clean up tomorrow. Reap and hoard profits now.

    (3) Social Idealism -- The idea of owning your own home is an American sucess story. So combined with the above 2, banks went about selling the dream to people who hadn't achieve that dream. I'm sorry but not everyone can afford to buy a house. Owning your home is not an entitlement and it takes a lot more savings and money. Much as we want everyone to feel they're successful, it is just not that easy. And this is where the economic conservative/libertarian in me want to scream out. People set the bar way too low for owning a home, the subprime loans should NEVER have existed.

    So what we got is a big gigantic nation-wide fantasy, with the Fed creating a fake housing boom through low interest rate, Wall Street selling junk bank loans to each other like they were all emperors with no clothes, and the rest of the people being deceived into believing that they have joined the home-owning middle class when they did not make enough to be that. It was fun while it lasted, but the end is arguably worse than it would have been if everyone lived in reality.

    So what is the purpose of more regulations? I argue that there's none. There are already regulations for everything that needs to be regulated. There are thousands pieces of rules and regulations by the SEC that required warning to bank investors. I've read them. The banks were already required to disclose the risks of their assets to investors and buyers. But the problem is that you cannot regulate greed. The bank investors and loans buyers (which are other banks, funds an investors) read the risks and went ahead trading the mortgaged backed securities anyway, driving their listing prices up and giving their banks false valuations.

    There are only 2 things that going forward I see to be crucial, one is no more artificially low Fed set prime rates, and prohibition of subprime loans, (and while we're at it they should outlaw the Pay-Day loans). Beyond that, both McCain and Obama plus Congress can talk and promise and enact all regulations they want, and voters who don't know more will/may feel better because they think that something was done, but more regulations will do squat, just like Sarbanes Oxley did squat--except to run up corporate legal and accounting fees. People need to take responsibilities. The Wall Street brilliant minds need to restrain themselves. And people who are not of Wall Street need to stop kidding themselves about their financial capabilities, and be realistic in managing their personal savings, and not buy a dream because bankers and others are trying to sell you one. This whole mess could've been prevented by the PEOPLE, whereas the government has only limited power and can only do so much if the people all decide to jump into the ocean.

    I have another annecdotal comment about the SEC. This is the thing about regulators--they are just like us. They get caught up in the moment too. Just because you have regulations on the books doesn't mean that it will be toughly enforced, and it's not always because of politics. On the functional levels (as opposed to the leadership level) it's most likely not about politics. Back during the rolling 90s I interviewed for a job with the SEC. The interviewer was of the SEC's Corporate Finance Division. Well back then I was more naive and idealistic (probably would've been an Obama supporter in that time-space dimension-continuum). I was all about enforcement. During the interview I talked up my interest in enforcement, market regulations and protecting the small investors. Well after a while, she said to me, that her division's position is that the SEC should not be in the way of businesses and be the obstacles to growth of businesses. This was during the Clinton administration, when there was no direct governmental pressure to de-regulate on philosophical or ideological grounds (although there was a lot of pressure from Wall Street for SEC to de-regulate). My impression then was that even the regulators were in tune with the mood of the market and general public, and they will regulate and interpret regulations based on the mood of the time. So in the end, passing regulations is not the answer, unless regulations don't already exist. It's how we as a society behave. Until we change our collective mindset, no regulation will make a difference.
    Alexa

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by probativev View Post
    Which brings me back a full circle to Hillary Clinton. The Clintons LOVE this kind of stuff, all econ stats and numbers wonkish stuff. Hillary is more qualified and suitable by a mile (and more) to deal with the country's economic problems. And I don't care what anyone says, it would be great for Bill to be there too. I saw Bill being interviewed yesterday on CNBC about the financial crisis and the guy can talk about the issues in such depth and provide perspectives as if he's worked on Wall Street all his life. People say that want the president to fix the economy, but I'm sorry, people didn't vote like they did.
    Alexa-I so agree with you and the WSJ's assessment. I posted this in the Hillary supporter's thread:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QUrbrE51ME

  12. #12

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    So today Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs too bit the dust.

    Here's the question of the day: should global companies be allowed to become so big that anything they do might doom the national--even global--economy? Maybe we ought to have laws to stop companies from becoming this big?

    I'm really uncomfortable with the Fed backing investment banks. It could lead to more reckless investment behaviors.

    As for the bailouts, ok I can see that the Fed is backed into a corner and we need to save ordinary people from being seriously hit by the fall of these big institutions. But is there really no other way? Could the Fed have buy out all the falling institutions' other valuable assets, break them all apart and sell them, and take the returns to issue a tax rebate to everyone, for spending on something else? Of course, the problem is where are you going to find buyers in these economically troubled times?

    Freddie and Fannie should be terminated. They should have been completely privatized long ago, but now they've become giant governmental organs. For anyone who flip out about nationalized health care, it's a wonder that they're not turning red with smoke coming out of their ears right now. This is nationalized home ownership. But finance is always too boring for most people so people can't be bothered.

    Speaking of which, I've always have a huge problem with high schools not making personal finance required education for juniors and seniors. Funny how we all go berserk when it comes to the question of sex educaton. Personally I think personal finance education would be government money well spent to teach young people the basics of using credit cards, running up personal debts, and ABCs of investing.
    Alexa

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    Alexa, I teach a short session on personal finance in my College Success class for freshmen. I talk about budgeting, credit, etc. I know that it's common for students to get into a financial bind early on that forces them to work more hours, thus affecting their ability to finish school. I think it's vital and I agree--it should be taught in high schools, as mandatory as English and math.

    As far as the housing thing, I saw it coming 2 years ago. I had a student assistant working in my office who was earning maybe $200 a week, and she was told that because of her good credit she could get a mortgage on a house. She was going to go out looking at 4-bedroom homes--in Southern California, mind you--for her, her parents, and her brothers and sisters (8 in all).

    I told her she couldn't possibly *afford* a house payment like that, even if she "qualified." I know I qualified for a huge house payment back then but didn't buy because I felt the prices were inflated. Luckily she didn't go through with it, but a lot of people did, and simple math would have told them that these loans were bogus. So once again, the need for the personal finance class. A lot of these problems could be avoided with plain, simple education.

  14. #14

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    Hey, remember when Phil Gramm aka McCain's top financial advisor said that the economic recession was "mental" and America was "a nation of whiners"? Well, Wall Street needs to quit whining and pull themselves up mentally. Pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, if you will.

  15. #15

    Thumbsup Warren Buffet - GOOD Democrat.

    Just heard that Warren Buffet bought into Goldman Sachs to the tune of $5 billion dollars.
    Gotta check Berkshire Hathaway's stock prices tomorrow.

  16. #16

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    Back to the two candidates running, I think both know that this bailout is a band-aid that may stem this crisis, but not the eventual bottoming out of the market. This bailout gives Americans the quick solution that they want. I think the market will just have to correct itself (maybe with a bit of cushioning by Congress) and we need to go about things in a smarter way next time. But that's just the simplistic answer from a non-expert. It's unfortunate that everyone will have to suffer for the irresponsible decisions of some.

  17. #17

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    You guys pointing fingers at Obama/Dems or McCain/GOP are all missing the point IMO about this crisis.

    First of all, McCain did not single handedly bring down the economy, and people pointing out this or that or his campaign staff are merely pointing out like, a chip in a cup board of a falling house. Same for people pointing fingers at the Dems. And Obama wasn't in the Senate long enough, nor was he on any related Senate Committees, to do anything to forestall it. Yes they all took money from Wall Street firms, some more than another, but again that is hardly the cause or relevant to the crisis.

    Secondly, while we can all have a good laugh about both candidates' inability to speak of solutions to the crisis, truth is that neither can do much about it right now. Neither are at this point the POTUS. Much as it bother many of us we're going to have to live with the fact that the buffoon is still in the WH and he is the one with the power to do anything, but as we all see now he's MIA, AWOL on this crisis. So back to Obama and McCain, they are right now nothing more than Senators, and have no power to do anything, or execute any plan. And it will be another 4 months before the winning candidate is sworn in, and another 2 months before he can get his cabinet confirmed. So as I said in earlier posts in this thread, we can stop looking to either campaign to be the knight in shining armor to save Wall Street, even had either been competent enough. It aint happening and the campaigns and the candidates are totally irrelevant to this problem right now. The most powerful person in the US right now is Hank Paulsen. We're gonna have to live with that.

    And if you truly care about the Wall Street crisis, it is Hank Paulsen's actions that you should pay close attentions too. I'm really really uncomfortable with the bailout, and how it's being structured. In any event, by the time the new POTUS comes into office, all the events would be set, the crisis mode will pass, and people who can't be bothered with Wall Street or finance issues will happily move back to complaining or supporting guns and abortion and healthcare or whatnot, while the new POTUS will be stuck with all the decisions made by Treasury in the next 4 months. There is nothing that the POTUS can do then to revert anything. It'll be a done deal.

    And really, blaming the government and pointing fingers at politicians you don't like about the financial crisis is like hiding the head in the sand. No they didn't help but this is not a governmental problem. It is a problem created by we the people. We really ought to do some soul searching ourselves for how we run up our credit card debts and buy houses beyond our means, and how we invest looking only for short term gains for stock prices for the next quarter rather than for long term gains. The government didn't force us to do that, and we shouldn't look to legislations to save us from ourselves.

    We must now pray that the bailout will be a success (much as I have issues with it). If it doesn't, then the fed will not only be stuck with the toxic mortgage debts, it may have to buy up all the toxic credit card debts and other bad loans, so on and so forth. That means our tax dollars will go back to bailing out all our own bad financial decisions. And we cannot look to the campaigns to save us, because the market cannot wait another 4-5 months to stablize. We either stabilize it now or we are really screwed.

    On a side note, if you have the financial means, it is a good time to buy. Not only will you be able to profit, but you also will help stabilize the market for a bit.
    Last edited by probativev; September 23rd, 2008 at 10:45 PM.
    Alexa

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by RA5CViggie View Post
    Hey, remember when Phil Gramm aka McCain's top financial advisor said that the economic recession was "mental" and America was "a nation of whiners"? Well, Wall Street needs to quit whining and pull themselves up mentally. Pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, if you will.

    Well the economic recession is real not mental, but I do think that sometimes, and this time especially, many people from many sectors are being whiners. I first and foremost can't stand any Wall Street people who say that they didn't, couldn't have seen this coming.

    I also think we're not helping by whining about the government. The US economy right now desperately need to hold onto and maintain investment and consumer confidence. Every economy in the world looks to the US for global economic stability. We shouldn't let our politics intensify the problem. The more we point fingers at the government for what this or that politician failed to do, the more we peel away whatever market confidence that's left. Our financial market has crumbled, and now we are saying our government cannot be trusted to support the market and the economy. Well that's just great. What else is left? Why would anyone want to invest in the US economy anymore?

    It's easy to laugh at McCain for saying the US economy is sound at its basics, but we need all the governmental leaders to say that right now, and send a global message. If someone like McCain or Obama goes around saying that the US economy is in the pits (for no other reason but to show that they're "in touch" with common people's problems), it only serves to erode investor confidence. We need foreign investments to keep going, over in foreign lands and here. That's what Paulsen is trying to do, to reassure the world about the US investment and financial market and hopefully the market will operate normally again. We need to acknowledge and point out problems, but at the same time we need to have voices saying that the US economy's basics are in fact sound, and that it's resilient and will soon recover.

    If investment and consumer confidence erode any further, the US economy will be stalled for a long long time to come and people (yes all us little people outside of Wall Street) will finally feel the effect. There will be massive job loss and long term unemployment.

    That's also why it's no good to laugh at Wall Street either, or to say yeah you go and clean up your own mess. The middle-class cannot separate itself from the financial market. We are all joined at the hip like Siamese twins and if Wall Street tanks, the American middle-class goes down with it.

    Bottom line is that it now serves no good to look backward for blames. Look backward only to see what went wrong, and focus on what ought to be done going forward.
    Last edited by probativev; September 24th, 2008 at 12:51 AM.
    Alexa

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    Alexa, lamb, I agree with both of you. This is not a partisan issue. This is a government, we the people issue. However, I'm not sure if I agree with this bailout. On one hand, I understand why we may need it, on the other hand, I'm not sure if it will be sufficient and whether or not it will work. I am worried that the US will go down the same path as Japan, and our dollar will continue to devalue as the government continues to print up money we don't have. World's confidence of our dollar is low already. I dunno, there is only one word I can think of for this entire mess and how to get out of it: complicated.

    Here is a good article about how we got here -- without pointing fingers.
    http://www.kypost.com/content/wcposh...6-b3cf58a19377

  20. #20

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    In 2005, McCain was a sponsor of a bill to regulate Fannie and Freddie. But Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and the Democrats including Mr. Obama blocked it so Fannie and Freddie could continue to give mortgages to people who bought homes they couldn't afford-which started during the Clinton administration. They knew the government would back up their risk meanwhile government politicians recieved campaign donations. Government messes everything up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lightsout View Post
    In 2005, McCain was a sponsor of a bill to regulate Fannie and Freddie. But Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and the Democrats including Mr. Obama blocked it so Fannie and Freddie could continue to give mortgages to people who bought homes they couldn't afford-which started during the Clinton administration. They knew the government would back up their risk meanwhile government politicians recieved campaign donations. Government messes everything up.
    Lightsout, please cite your sources. Thankseversomuch.
    We have met the enemy and they is us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightsout View Post
    In 2005, McCain was a sponsor of a bill to regulate Fannie and Freddie. But Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and the Democrats including Mr. Obama blocked it so Fannie and Freddie could continue to give mortgages to people who bought homes they couldn't afford-which started during the Clinton administration. They knew the government would back up their risk meanwhile government politicians recieved campaign donations. Government messes everything up.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/24/us...SAJjKZzVcgYMjQ

    WASHINGTON — One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.


    The disclosure undercuts a remark by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years.

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    That doesn't change the facts they reported in that article. I agree that they're more supportive of Obama, but that automatically doesn't discount everything they print. Some things are not opinion, but merely reported as they are. Nice way to attempt to dismiss it all though

  24. #24

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    I'm not saying it's isn't true but if we are going to quote the NYtimes I'm going to start posting things from Rush Limbaugh.

    I hate the way the paper writes from sources. I don't know how any one can read that paper-similar politics or not.
    Last edited by tarotx; September 24th, 2008 at 11:20 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tarotx View Post
    I'm not saying it's not true but if we are going to quote the NYtimes I'm going to start posting things from Rush Limbaugh.
    As long as it contains numbers and facts, I personally don't see a problem with it.

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