yayyy freedom

You'll get used to it.SCALING BACK AMBITIONS, HEH: What the banks and mortgage giants killed in the House’s latest bullshit Financial Regulation bill was the “Cram-down” legislation, which would have let bankruptcy judges force lenders to accept not only lower, fixed interest rates on underwater home loans, but also give judges the power to reduce the principal to reflect current (dismal) market value.

So when the U.S. has another THIRTEEN FUCKING MILLION foreclosures in the next couple of years, thank the lenders for their awesome lobbying efforts, and please give some food scraps to the families living on your sidewalk. [Reuters]

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A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

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73 comments

  1. chascates

    I heard on NPR there’s a movement to have a special category of bankruptcy for ‘banks too big to fail.’ Individual Americans, however, had their bankruptcy options curtailed by Congress a while back.

  2. imissopus

    Hey, we all have to do our part to get through this Great Recession. If that means these selfish mortgage holders have to scrape a little more dough out of their massively depleted savings so that the poor hard-working bankers can keep the banks running and their kids in private schools, well that’s just too bad. We should not allow this financial crisis to divide our nation and tear us apart. Shame on you, Wonkette.

  3. ForTheTurnstiles

    When Democrats have affairs, they tend to be with consenting adults, and heterosexual. That’s the only difference I can see on this between the two parties.

    With that said I’d like to go back to making fun of Tabitha Hale (didn’t she play the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island?). This shit is just depressing.

  4. imissopus

    [re=476880]chascates[/re]: Back when Congress changed bankruptcy laws to screw individuals a few years back, I heard from a close relation who worked for the U.S. Trustees that the Trustees office or the DOJ polled bankruptcy judges across the country as to what they thought of the changes. A full ninety percent (nine-zero-fucking-%!!!!!!!!!!!!) thought it was a terrible bill, a high enough percentage that the government kept the polling to itself out of sheer embarrassment. And this was during the Bush years when shame was completely absent from any political dialogue.

  5. Snarkalicious

    Hell, just wait ’til this baby hits the Senate. I can’t wait to start paying federal fees on public transportation and WIC approved items so we can eliminate the capital gains tax.

  6. bureaucrap

    I’ve decided to turn my basement into a homeless shelter for my unemployed homeless friends. Max. Occup. 50. I should have it filled up by this weekend.

  7. ChernobylSoup v2

    What gets me is that Congressional Dems probably had to work harder to make this suck so bad. It would have been easy, given the current climate, to steamroll the bankers. Seriously, what’s easier to explain to a constituent: why I voted to hurt those homeowners in financial distress or why I voted to help them?

  8. SayItWithWookies

    Hey, we haven’t had a veto yet — and this piece of shit just squeaked through the House. C’mon, Mr. President — crush it like it was Tiger’s iPhone.

  9. Hooray For Anything

    I guess the good news is that the Senate will probably kill the bill so we won’t have to worry about this coming true. I do have a strange feeling, however, that Lieberman might be more motivated to pass this bill than, say, other non-important to bankers legislation.

  10. SmutBoffin

    I had a dream in which all these bankers, tired of the gub’mint a-tryin’ to regulate their profits and bonuses and whatnot, got up and went Galt. All of these people who were trying to squeeze the last dimes out of our bankrupt institutions just went off by themselves and engaged in derivatives trading with rocks and sticks and lizards out in the wilderness somewhere. This left everyone else to manage the nation’s financial apparatus for their own ends, rather than the ends of a buncha dumbfucks with MBAs.

    Then I woke up from my window-cleaner drunk and looked around my Tyvek shack…Hobo beans simmering on a hotplate…shoes patched with squirrel pelts…roving gangs of violent teenagers clamoring to get in…and remembered that I was in the USA, the Democrats were in charge, and all this never happened.

  11. AnnieGetYourFun

    [re=476880]chascates[/re]: Of course individual bankruptcy laws were curtailed! We can’t have (brown and/or poor) people acting irresponsibly with money!

  12. NJB

    [re=476912]Sharkey[/re]: Cool. Not only is it Friday afternoon, but I’ve got a Lou Reed reference on teh Wonkette!!1!

  13. martinette

    Say, here’s an idea:

    Step 1: Stop giving money to re-elect Blue Dog Dems.
    Step 2: They lose to crazy teabagger GOP candidates.
    Step 3: Newly elected teabaggers fuck up.
    Step 4: Give twice the money to elect actual decent candidates in 2012.
    Step 5: Profit!

  14. germansteel

    On the other hand, Mark “Appalachian Argentina” Sanford got something crammed down his gullet today.

  15. lawrenceofthedesert

    [re=476921]martinette[/re]: Step 3 is usually “teabaggers become total special interest slaves and serve for the next 25 years.” Gimme a blue dog any day!

  16. slappypaddy

    [re=476912]Sharkey[/re]:

    we’ll get some kind of warrant in our hand
    go up and bust the whole band

    roasted bankers stink to high heaven, and they’re inedible, but they’re so greasy with fat they make great torches. congress is just turds on toast, good for nothing but plowing under, enrich the soil.

  17. house of the blue lights

    [re=476880]chascates[/re]: There’s “too big too fail” and then there’s “too small for Congress to give a flying fuck.”

  18. martinette

    [re=476931]lawrenceofthedesert[/re]: “Step 3 is usually “teabaggers become total special interest slaves and serve for the next 25 years…”

    And that is different exactly how?

  19. lochnessmonster

    So are they going to bundle the forclosed homes and sell those on the derivatives markets? Who will buy when Dubai is bankrupt too?

  20. Binky

    I didn’t give you permission to use the photo of my family. :| Please send gin in payment, I need a bath. But while we’re on the subject of rank olfactories, I know one House that needs to be foreclosed on–the House of Reps. Put these bums on the street and see how they like it, just not in my tent.

  21. Hooray For Anything

    [re=476909]hockeymom[/re]: I recommend doing what I do which is to keep my expectations pretty low to begin with. I’m amazed Congress can even pass one of those special honorariums with either a filibuster or a hold put on it

    The US now is like one of those long running tv shows, like Friends, that was once really great but has been on too long and while you still like to watch because it’s comfortable and enjoyable, at best all you can hope for is a laugh or two and you know that as much as you like the show, it’s only a matter of time before NBC or CBS or China will cancel it.

  22. chascates

    [re=476921]martinette[/re]: I’m hoping something like this actually happens. Many of the blue dogs will be have the Obama taint and the Tea Hags will get elected. Then they’ll crash and people will reconsider. If anything is left.

  23. betterDeadThanRed

    So was Scrooge a lobbyist or a Congressman?

    “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.
    “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
    “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
    “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”
    “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.
    “Both very busy, sir.”
    “Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their
    useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

  24. flavorflav

    A contrary (Obama-loving) voice: Since when did cram-downs become such a good idea? If people can’t pay their mortgages — not even the principal! — then maybe they shouldn’t be in the house. If that means a bunch more foreclosures, then fine. All that many more affordable homes for the rest of us. I say this is as someone who has been renting for the past seven years waiting for prices to come down. We’re under contract to buy a foreclosure — to live in — for $71,000, which is about all we can afford on 1.4 incomes. Cramdowns are great for people living in more home than they can afford. They suck for the rest of us.

  25. AnnieGetYourFun

    [re=476995]flavorflav[/re]: SO TRUE. Also, people that bought their homes at the peak of the market with an adjustable ARM and then lost their jobs – they should never have bought homes, since they should have known that they would lose their jobs!

  26. leftcoaster

    [re=476995]flavorflav[/re]: I’m with you on this one. We knew what we were getting into when we bought our house. No one ever told us, “the value of your house will never go down.” If they had, we would have been greedy fools to believe them. Anyone who bought a house with an ARM or similarly-structured “too good to be true!” loan was counting on the value of their house to go up so significantly that they’d be able to refinance in a few years with the equity produced from the change in value.

  27. cattdance

    [re=477009]forgracie[/re]:
    Now, I didn’t mean to be nosy
    But I went into a bank
    To get some bail for Arab
    And all the boys back in the tank
    They asked me for some collateral
    And I pulled down my pants
    hey threw me in the alley
    When up comes this girl from France
    Who invited me to her house
    I went, but she had a friend
    Who knocked me out
    And robbed my boots
    And I was on the street again

  28. 102415

    Haha you hopeful renters the banks are not foreclosing so much any more. They don’t want the empty houses therefore they let them sit and do not pay taxes or care for them or put them on the market and the original owners owe all that shit forever and ever. I know this because it’s happening to my dead mothers place right this minute. It’s worth about $25,000 right now if someone could buy it which they can’t. That’s about an eighth of what she bought it for and less than her down payment. It’s more complicated than simple cram downs now baby.Don’t worry the zombie teabaggers will know what to do.

  29. Buttery1000

    Nothing to see here, America. Go back to bed … if you have a home. If not, get some credit and buy a home you can’t afford like everyone else does, dirtbag.

  30. Leftie Lucy

    [re=477008]leftcoaster[/re]: I’d be a terrible bankruptcy judge because I’d be inclined to modify a mortgage based on whether or not I thought the debtor was a dumbass.

  31. bitchincamaro

    I’m at the tail end of a week spent with my ancient mother on Detroit’s wild west side. “Grim” does not begin to describe the vibe in this city. Last year at this time her home was located in an oasis surrounded by weedy wasteland and vacant houses. Now the dereliction and desperation is at her door, literally. A hapless home invader got as far as her kitchen door last Sunday and the sound of a flushing toilet sent him scurrying after he broke the door down but before the cops arrived. No harm done, thank you Jeebus and American Standard, but next year at this time, my hopes won’t be so high. Fuck you very much, America.

  32. LowerdPeninsula

    Congress/Administration to the American People:

    “Let them eat Little Debbie® and/or Hostess® snack cakes.”

    Which, we’ll do anyway since we’re all insufferable fat-asses.

  33. donner_froh

    [re=477049]bitchincamaro[/re]: “Before the cops arrived”. In Detroit? If a squad car pulls up within 24 hours of a 911 home invasion call in Detroit it is unusual. It is a shame she can’t/won’t leave. I lived in Detroit until the mid 1980s and still work downtown as does my wife. I grew up on the south side of Chicago.

    Maybe the south Bronx years ago was as bad as Detroit is now but the big difference is in Detroit it is the whole damned city that is a depopulated urban wilderness controlled by armed criminals.

  34. donner_froh

    [re=476917]AnnieGetYourFun[/re]: Joe Biden was one of the key people behind gutting the bankrupcty laws of protection for the bankrupt.

  35. Mr Blifil

    [re=476982]betterDeadThanRed[/re]: Scrooge was the original teabagger, par excellence. Except if Glenn Beck had been visited by three spirits and then encountered the young lad on the street below, rather than asking him to buy the fattest turkey he can find, Glenn would have invited him up for a little PNP action.

  36. bitchincamaro

    [re=477092]donner_froh[/re]: I’m getting her a police scanner for xmas, so it’s not all bad news.

  37. HuddledMass

    [re=477109]bitchincamaro[/re]: Oh god, bitchincamaro, yer breaking my heart, here! Well, your grandmother is, poor lady. Hard times are upon us.

  38. Binky

    My wife and I could have easily “leveraged ourselves” into a bigger home, but what for? Do two people need twenty rooms? Is it a good thing to “escape to the suburbs”? Is the only goal in life to have more stuff? Anyone with good sense could see that a housing bubble was forming. Many people took loans that cost half or more of their family income every month, then took second mortgages out on them just to survive. What nonsense. “We deserve it,” doesn’t cut it, does it? Not for most people anyway, those of us who don’t view life as a lottery. My sympathy goes to those that have lost their jobs and haven’t been trying to get a free ride to fortune. But to all the charlatans who led people along by the noses into a life they can’t afford, include the former president and Congress? String them up on the lampposts.

  39. CanadianBacon

    All these changes are good for America. More foreclosures means more people living together so it is cheaper for them to live. More unemployment means less children going to college so more people available to work for less. Lowering taxes means less school teachers meaning more people without high school diplomas who are available to work for less. Less policemen means more people can become self-employed as thieves and drug delers. More border fences means less people escaping so more people are available to work for less. Soon all those empty shipping containers will be filled by cheap American made goods shipped to China because the wages in China will be too high to compete with America. I thank God every day that in Canada we elected a Prime Minister who wants to make Canada more like the US so we too can take jobs away from the third world by undercutting their wages.
    And another thing people were convinced to build huge homes so in the future 3 or 4 families could live under the same roof, so they can live for less. It is all good.

  40. knobwurst

    4 years ago we moved from Western Mass to the Chicago burbs for work. We had to downsize, considerably due to the differences in the housing market because we wanted our mortgage to stay the same. We were still laboring under the old “4 times your annual salary for your mortgage amount”. Our banker out here kept telling us “don’t worry about the mortgage, I’ll get you a loan”, and he actually laughed at us when we told him our limit. We bought a much smaller house than we had in Western Mass, we had to get rid of bunch of stuff we had, but I couldn’t tell you what it was now, we don’t miss anything, (other than the trees hills and rivers, but that is another post). Our home has lost a lot of value, but because we got a real mortgage, no arms or any of that crap, we can afford to make the payments. I hope that banker is homeless. I’m sure he talked a lot of people into homes that were more than they needed and more than they could afford. Our neighborhood is a made up of working class families, most are first time home buyers, who bought into the murican dream, and there are a lot of empty houses these days. Life can really suck for some people, I just wish it was the right people.

  41. Boojum

    P[re=477120]CanadianBacon[/re]: Fewer teachers means
    more people knowing less about the difference between “less” and “fewer.”

  42. ExecutorElassus

    [re=477130]Boojum[/re]: I see what you did there.

    I’m really torn on this. On the one side, people are being crushed by underwater mortgages. On the other, the only way the market will ever reach equilibrium again is for a lot of parties – banks, investment firms, etc., but also homeowners – to eat some big losses. So much of the value in the current housing market is imaginary value, the only way for it to come down is through a few years of really painful devaluation. I’m not really sure what the best (least painful for those that least deserve it) way is to achieve that.

    But then again, I fled to Europe a couple years ago to escape that.

  43. Jukesgrrl

    [re=477121]knobwurst[/re]: I am reminded daily of the genius “investment” group responsible for me losing my job. The company had been in business for 60 years employing several hundred, with steady profits for an owner who built considerable wealth for his family. In his old age he sold out to a group of youngish men who told us we were “undervalued” and they would “expand and grow” the company. They were filled with as much shit as your mortgage broker. In TWO YEARS they drove the company into bankruptcy, largely because they were so busy “expanding” they pissed off the customers we had. Those of us who maintained we should focus on our existing cutomer base were told to STFU because we had no “vision.” (Yep, there’s that Bushism again.) Of course the “investors” were working with borrowed money. Hey, why waste your own when you can borrow it from people who are “too big to fail”?! So those of us who are unemployed have no income, yet it’s our tax money being used to TARP-out the fools who lent money to the MBAs who disappeared our jobs. The Circle of Life circa 2009. All the best to you and yours and congrats for ignoring that idiot mortgage guy.

    [re=477130]Boojum[/re]: Shall we assume CanadianBacon learned economics from the same people who taught the language usage? I don’t know about you, but I have less sympathy for fewer people every day.

  44. CanadianBacon

    When we bought our last house our banker told us we were doing two things wrong, buying too small of a house and putting too large of a down payment. We were told to leverage to the max and invest as much as possible into mutual funds. I was too stupid to take the advice.
    The top 1% income bracket class of people live almost the same throughout the world. The people at the bottom income bracket are also almost the same throughout the world, only the middle class are different, for now.
    My language usage sucks because I am a tradesman (unionized) not an English Major and apparently I am not good at sarcasm either.

  45. Jukesgrrl

    [re=477154]CanadianBacon[/re]: I would NEVER criticize a person for not going to college. Some of the stupidest people I know have advanced degrees — including, as I mentioned above, the morons who put the company I worked for out of business. The smartest person I knew personally was my grandfather who quit school in fifth grade to help support his family by becoming a brick layer. Just for the record, English usage (such as the difference between less and fewer) is not a college subject — in most cases it is taught in free-to-the-people elementary school. If your teachers failed in their job, or your parents were too distracted to make sure you did your lessons, that’s certainly not your fault. And you should be proud of yourself for having a trade — I’d be better off if I did.

    I apologize since my criticism offended. I am sensitive to the fact that so many people who use their language improperly today seem to be PROUD of it. Just as you are no doubt sick of idiots like me who don’t get your snark, I am tired of the ever-more-typical accusation that people who value proper English usage are arugula-eating elitist snobs. In fact some of us are the children of bricklayers (my maternal grandfather), coal miners (my paternal grandfather), and unionized steelworkers (my daddy). I will petition President Obama to invite us over for a beer so I can shake your hand and we can commiserate about the terrible economy that has such a negative impact on us both.

  46. MOG

    Three houses in 10 years, similar protestations at the bank,”buy bigger, put down less, don’t worry, it’s all good, the market will just keep going up”. Call me a suspiciouse old broad (yes, I’m one of the oldz) but the party ALWAYS ends. Sometimes with a bang (my favorite ending) but more often with a low, moaning sob. Yes, I’m grateful that I had Depression Era parents, they pounded us endlessly about taking care of our money. Although we still overspend occasionally, the mortgage is manageable. Still have a job, a house and healthcare. That makes me one of the top 1%, right? And we are able to help my family members who haven’t been as lucky.

  47. Jim89048

    With my last waning flickers of productivity I decided to build my own house, using the proceeds from the sale of a resort condo I could no longer afford to keep. At less than 700 sqft it doesn’t impress anyone, but it doesn’t break me on utilities or taxes either. I saw it coming, but tried like hell to maintain the status quo. It eventually rolled me, but I survived in a downsized, devo sort of fashion. Who the hell needs a job, anyway…

  48. Satorist

    Congress “reformed” bankruptcy laws in 2005 to protect credit card debt (among other things) from bankruptcy adjudication. At the time incidents of bankruptcy were at or near record lows.

    This is further evidence, if more were needed, refuting the ludicrous assertion that “no one saw this coming”. Credit card companies and their congressional cronies saw it coming as early as 2005. Of course, the bankers buying default swaps on what they were selling is another…

    Now lets ask why our shiny new Democratic-controlled government hasn’t simply repealed the 2005 law.

  49. Stalkin'

    [re=476995]flavorflav[/re]: I agree! A mortgage is a contract between two parties and should remain between them. It gets a little messier when the mortgages have been securitized, but the massive losses resulting from millions of defaulted mortgages should be contained as most Mortgage Backed Securities are either issued by or have been purchased at their initial value by the US government –oh, crap.

  50. Servo

    [re=477141]Jukesgrrl[/re]:
    The long term business model is extinct and it took lifetime employment with it.

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