Federal housing policy, understandably, these last several years has focused on preventing mortgage foreclosures, not just on initiating them. Yet the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), despite efforts to stem the tide by the Obama administration, has grown into a fiscal black hole in the wake of the 2007-08 mortgage industry collapse and the subsequent tightening of credit standards for conventional loans. FHA-insured loans, according to a recent study, account for 30 percent of purchases of new homes and close to 20 percent of purchases of existing homes, far above historical norms. Many are at risk of foreclosure. An FHA “short sale” program designed to enable borrowers to avoid foreclosure has experienced substantial fraud. FHA, severely undercapitalized, faces a Treasury Department bailout that already may have begun.
Let’s put the issue in context. The housing market over the last several months has shown real improvement. In fact, it is now in … Read More ➡
President Obama called for a “new economic patriotism” during last night’s presidential debate. Well, hold on to your wallets as this new buzz phrase seems to be a euphemism for “wealth redistribution.” Just ask old General Motors bondholders or non-unionized Delphi retirees about how Obama’s so-called “shared sacrifices” are more about cronyism than patriotism.
President Obama is campaigning on a platform that constantly touts everyone “paying a fair share and having a fair shot.” Unfortunately for those that do not belong to a politically-favored class, the Obama Administration gets to determine what is fair. This was evidenced during the GM bankruptcy process where groups that were supposed to have equal legal standing saw that some are considered far more equal than others. GM bondholders were moved to the bottom of the list as the Obama-friendly UAW had its claims given precedence. And, in perhaps the clearest and most egregious example … Read More ➡
A former student at the University of North Carolina has come forward publicly to call attention to the disturbing experiments the Environmental Protection Agency has conducted – and is likely still performing – at its Human Studies Facility in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Meanwhile Sen. James Inhofe (pictured), ranking minority member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, has requested that Chairman Barbara Boxer conduct a hearing about EPA’s activities during the current lame-duck session.
The student, Landon Huffman, found out about the EPA program through an advertisement in The Daily Tar Heel, the university’s newspaper. The experiments exposed subjects to fine particulate matter (called “PM2.5”) at extremely elevated levels for up to two hours at a time. Researchers – at the direction of medical doctors – sought test subjects with health problems such as heart conditions, obesity or breathing difficulties. Huffman is an asthmatic and is a member-plaintiff in … Read More ➡
General Motors reported that it sold 2,851 Chevy Volts in September. The number is sure to be touted as a great success, even though the annualized rate of sale is still well below initial sales goals for the vehicle and nowhere near what conventionally-powered, mainstream cars sell. What is sure to be less publicized by the media is that the majority of the Volt “sales” were heavily subsidized leases that are costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
GM spokesman, Jim Cain, told me that a full two thirds of Volt sales were leases. Backing out leases and fleet sales, about 900 of September’s sales were to retail customers with about a 100 going to fleets. As previously reported, many of the leases are for two year terms that can cost lessees as little as $4,000 to $5,000 out of pocket as taxpayers are on the hook for the federal subsidy … Read More ➡
The U.S. military’s newspaper, Stars & Stripes, recently reported that the Pentagon is buying Chevy Volts in a 1,500 electric-vehicle purchase, as part of the Defense Department’s “green initiatives,” which seek to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy sources.
A recent Congressional Budget Office study challenged the assumption that electric vehicles have any impact on such dependence, prompting the question of why the government is spending money this way. Against the backdrop of the attack on our embassy in Benghazi, and looming embassy security cuts due to sequestration, it appears politics and ideology are trumping common sense.
A little poking around the web raises additional questions about government Volt purchases. A State Department contract from March of this year details the purchase of a Chevy Volt for $47,500 for use at a U.S. embassy in Norway. The sticker price for a 2013 model year is $39,145 (before the $7,500 tax credit … Read More ➡
Whether as heads of corporations or government agencies, white executives can be counted upon to grovel if they or their organizations stand accused of discrimination. Such especially is the case with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, whose capacity for fecklessness in the face of his accusers is almost limitless. And not for the first time, his timidity will cost taxpayers. On Monday, September 24, Vilsack announced that Hispanic and women farmers who believe they were unjustly denied grants or credit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can file claims over a six-month period, effective immediately, for cash awards and/or tax relief totaling at least $1.33 billion, plus up to $160 million in debt relief. This boodle was made possible by a consolidated settlement of two class-action lawsuits, each a copycat of the Pigford “black farmers” case.
Since early 2010, National Legal and Policy Center has published a series … Read More ➡
It’s been six months since the taxpayer-subsidized ($193 million) Fisker Karma broke down at the test facilities of Consumer Reports before the publication could even take it for a review spin, but now the researchers have finally been able to put the luxury electric car through its paces and their assessment is complete.
Why did it take so long for the car loved by Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber and Al Gore to get the full evaluation? Consumer Reports explains:
“With the Karma, much attention has been paid to our unfortunately routine problems, including an early failure on our track that left the car immobile and led to the battery being replaced, frequent instrument, window and radio glitches, and recurring warning lights. So far our Karma has made multiple trips back to the dealer (who, by the way, has provided excellent service, flat-bedding the car to and … Read More ➡
After accumulating evidence via the Freedom of Information Act that showed the Environmental Protection Agency conducted disturbing experiments that exposed humans to inhalable particulates the agency has said are deadly, sound science advocate Steven Milloy has sued the federal government.
The trials, which were carried out at EPA’s Human Studies Facility at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, exposed subjects to fine particulate matter (called “PM2.5”) at extremely elevated levels for up to two hours at a time. EPA’s Web site on particulate matter and its 2009 “Summary of PM2.5 Risk Estimates,” stated, “an examination of cause-specific risk estimates found that PM2.5 risk estimates for cardiovascular deaths are similar to those for all-cause deaths….” Also, in July 2011 EPA stated in the Federal Register announcement of its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that “a recent EPA analysis estimated that 2005 levels of PM2.5 and ozone were responsible for … Read More ➡
The failing British electric vehicle company that pretended to become an American one in order to save its U.K. investors has scrapped its planned initial public offering that it hoped would save it in Kansas City.
Smith Electric Vehicles, recipient of $32 million in taxpayer stimulus, had reportedly fantasized it would raise $76 million (down from $125 million) via an IPO by selling roughly 4 ½ million shares at $16 to $18 each. CEO Bryan Hansel bowed to reality Thursday night and rescinded those plans.
“We received significant interest from potential investors,” he said in a statement. “However, we were unable to complete a transaction at a valuation or size that would be in the best interests of our company and its existing shareholders.”
Hansel said that the company will pursue “private financing opportunities” instead, which is also likely a fantasy – at least one that will enable … Read More ➡
This photo was Tweeted by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) yesterday. Also in the photo is House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Along with the photo, Rangel Tweeted this:
My ears perking up to hear RepCantor saying taxes will go up under Pres Obama. It’s called “paying your fair share”!
In 2008 Rangel admitted not paying taxes on rental income from a Dominican Republic beach house after it was exposed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC). It was one of the counts in his 2010 Censure by the House.
Of course, Rangel used to be Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the tax laws. He resigned that post after being admonished by the House Ethics Committee for accepting corporate sponsorship of Caribbean junkets. We exposed that, too.
Many months after the Dominican revelation, Rangel amended his financial disclosure forms to show that he failed to … Read More ➡