John McCain has been pointing at Barack Obama in the last week, trying his best to attach the Democrat firmly to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I would describe that as the pot calling the kettle black, except that metaphor might not be the most tasteful one to use in this election.
My friend Gary Tigerman put it all very succinctly this morning , and I thought I’d share his quick, concise run-down of Obama’s efforts to deal with this crisis proactively:
- 2006. Obama saw widespread reports of irresponsible mortgage lending and introduced the Stop Fraud Act in Congress to halt the bad loan practices immediately. Obama sought bi-partisan support. McCain showed little interest. The bill died.
- 2007. Obama wrote letters to Treasury Secretary Paulson and current Fed Chair Bernanke challenging them call an immediate Home Ownership Summit meeting to help prevent millions of us from losing our homes. McCain ignored the idea. The Bush Administration declined.
- 2008. In March, 8 months ago, Obama went to Wall Street and warned of the looming crisis of confidence in the capital markets and proposed urgent, pro-active solutions including more aggressive oversight. Paul Volker, former Fed Chairman, championed his plan. McCain dismissed their concerns and called for even less regulation.
- Obama’s foresight and aggressive, preventative policies would have put the brakes on the worst financial meltdown since 1929. Bush-McCain’s hands-off policy allowed an economic crisis to explode into a world-wide catastrophe.
- McCain policy: do nothing until Great Depression II is at hand, then look for people to fire.
- Obama policy: recognize and address urgent problems before they become disasters.