Coffee and the Papers: Ethics, Ethics, and Ethics

## Those who bemoan the lack of ethics in government and harp on “waste, fraud, and abuse,” in Nevada’s operations don’t get to have it both ways: Either you support adequate  funding for the Nevada Ethics Commission or you don’t.  [full story LV Sun] Nor, do such advocates get to minimally fund the Commission and then complain that government oversight doesn’t work because the agency is backlogged and can’t do its job.

## We’d have to wonder, if gold were discovered under St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC would we be discussing how to “quantify” the impact of the mining operations?  (A question lost on the Not-Native-Americans discussing the impact of mining at Mt. Tenabo)  [More Nevada Appeal]

##One in every 118 homes in the state of Nevada received a foreclosure filing in September, according to the foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac.”    The Republicans responded: “They got everything they wanted from Congress the first two years. Their policies are in place. And they are demonstrably not working,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Sunday.” [RGJ]    Not quite everything.

On August 30, 2009 the Senate of the United States voted down an amendment to S. 1014 which would have allowed judicial resolutions of mortgage problems, on a 45-51 vote.  [roll call 174]  Opponents of the measure cried it would reward the irresponsible and have bank customers paying for the “neighbor’s mortgage for the house with the extra bathroom.” [DWT] Bank supporters labeled the provision a “cram down.”

And so, it was left to the private sector to handle mortgage modifications, with less than admirable or effective results. The bankers won the “cram down” fight and now there’s an even greater need for “cram down” legislation:

Aside from propping up the country’s largest banks, there’s very little reason not to pass bankruptcy reform. In contrast to the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, under which the taxpayer is partially footing the bill, court ordered mortgage cram-downs would cost the federal government nothing. Indeed, cram-down legislation requires no government bailouts or financial incentives for lenders or for borrowers. The 2009 CBO cost estimate of the proposed cram-down legislation shows that the federal government actually would have made money on the bill through the increase in bankruptcy filing fees.”  [Nation] (emphasis added)

Now, the President is about to announce plans to make it easier for homeowners to refinance mortgages.  [RGJ] The banks are still being “propped up.”



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