Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trump's Kakistocracy's First Two Achievements


Even as he was assembling and deploying an American kakistocracy and calling it his administration, there were people of goodwill urging everyone to just wait and be open-minded and see if Trump didn't turn out to be an OK president. "After all," one of that tribe told me several times, "he was a liberal Democrat most of his life." Nah... he was a Trumpist all of his life and the appointments-- from the neo-Nazi Steve Bannon to Pence cabinet picks like Betsy DeVos and Tom Price, it became clearer with each passing day that Trump will be the worst president in American history.

Even as he was being inaugurated yesterday, Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul was looking for something hopeful in his address. "Trump's inaugural address," he said,"stuck close to the central theme of his campaign: Put America first. He vowed to return lost jobs, rebuild our domestic infrastructure with American-made goods and labor, and refurbish our atrophying defense industrial base. He’ll be building on what came before. His promise to 'Buy American and hire American' is very similar to the Buy America preferences that former President Obama saw embedded in the 2009 Recovery Act. I hope he learns from it and strengthens this principle...Ultimately, the proof will be in the policy. It will take a concerted effort on trade, tax, workforce, and infrastructure policy to create the economic and industrial renaissance the president is proposing."

Within minutes of being sworn in, Trump's first two actions as President were taken and neither was made to benefit American workers or American families. In his dark downer of an inauguration speech, written by neo-Nazi Steve Bannon, Trump's rhetoric had nothing to do with what Republicans are doing in Washington. "The establishment protected itself," he read from his teleprompter, "but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land... Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. But the new administration cancelled a fee cut on FHA-backed mortgages, an action by the Obama administration that was meant to help low-income and first-time buyers afford mortgages by lowering fees. The Obama Administration's lowering of the fees had been widely backed not just by consumer groups but by mortgage lenders, builders and realtors. Moments after the Trump move, the National Association of Realtors issued a statement asserting that Trump's reversal could keep as many as 40,000 would-be homebuyers out of the market in 2017 alone. Eliminating the cut was something congressional Republicans have been clamoring for.
Last week, during his confirmation hearing, Trump’s nominee for HUD secretary, Ben Carson, said the rate cut announced earlier this month surprised him and that if confirmed he would work with the “FHA administrator and other financial experts to really examine that policy.”

The suspension of the rate cut, set to take effect Jan. 27, came Friday before his confirmation vote.

In a letter announcing the suspension Friday morning, HUD, which oversees the FHA, said more analysis is needed on any “future adjustments” to insurance premium rates.

“FHA is committed to ensuring its mortgage insurance programs remains viable and effective in the long term for all parties involved, especially our taxpayers,” the letter to the real estate industry said.

In cutting the insurance premium, the Obama administration had argued that the FHA’s finances had vastly improved since it received its first-ever bailout in 2013 to cover potential losses on the huge volume of low-down-payment mortgages it insured from 2007 to 2009.

The administration noted that the agency’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund’s capital reserve ratio exceeded requirements for the second year in a row.

“With sufficient reserves on hand to meet future claims, it’s time for FHA to pass along some modest savings to working families,” former HUD Secretary Julian Castro said in announcing the cut.

The suspension of that decision will be a disappointment to home buyers currently out shopping, especially on top of the rise in mortgage interest rates following the November election.

If the planned reductions went into effect, borrowers who put down less than 5% on a $600,000, 30-year mortgage would have saved $1,500 a year. The Obama administration estimated that new FHA borrowers across the nation would have saved an average of $500 a year.
Needless to say, Trump's action against affordable housing isn't going over well among progressives in Congress. Ro Khanna, a freshman from Silicon Valley who Pelosi put on the Budget Committee, wants Trump to stick to his repeated promises to act in the interests of American workers. "The problem in Washington since the financial crisis," he told us, "is that tax dollars have gone to bank bailouts instead of to homeowners. This year voters demanded change. They want policies focused on Main Street, not Wall Street. What is sad is that despite his rhetoric, Trump has no interest in delivering that. His first was to increase the rate for low income home owners instead of raising taxes on the banks." Maryland freshman Jamie Raskin was another to react immediately. "Trump says he wants to put America first but he's already putting Americans last. How do you support American families by increasing mortgage payments?" The second Trump move by the brand new kakistocracy on its very first day in power was to signal that they will back Republican efforts to disenfranchise minority voters...  just in Texas so far.
Within hours of Donald Trump becoming president, lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice late Friday asked to postpone a scheduled Tuesday hearing in the Texas voter ID case.

In its filing with a Corpus Christi federal court, the agency attributed its request to "the federal government's change in administration, which took place on January 20, 2017.

"Because of the change in administration, the Department of Justice also experienced a transition in leadership," the filing states. "The United States requires additional time to brief the new leadership of the Department on this case and the issues to be addressed at that hearing before making any representations to the Court."
I wonder if this came from the not-yet-confirmed Jeff Sessions, a big supporter of voter suppression efforts. And I wonder if any of his colleagues will have the cajones to use it against him when the final vote comes. I'm not overly optimistic. Congressman Beto O'Rouke isn't in the Senate-- at least not yet; he has to beat Ted Cruz in 2018 first-- but this morning he told us that "Voter I.D. is, at best, a solution in search of a problem; at worst it's an effort to stop people from voting, to remove that fundamental right that makes us all Americans. I'm concerned that this delay will allow the new administration to give up the fight for voter rights begun by the Obama administration."

UPDATE: Ted Lieu Seems Disappointed In Trump's First Move

Ted Lieu, calling in from the Women's March in Los Angeles told us this morning that "In his Inaugural Address yesterday, Trump said 'the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.' Hours later his new Administration reversed a decision intended to make it easier for low-income and first-time home buyers to afford a mortgage. On day 1 Trump forgot about the men and women who make our country great."

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At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might say kakistocracy, but they are well organized, motivated (by hate) and will be effective. This is the pence influence on this kakistocracy. As I've posited many times, pence will turn out to be the one behind the curtain during this Nazi kakistocratic coup. But coup isn't quite right either since almost half of the voters who voted WANT this.

The other 2 notable deeds were to remove the WH web pages on climate change and LGBTQ issues.

4-8 years of delusion and hate. But we knew this already.

At 9:54 AM, Blogger HeyZeus said...

Ok, I'm going to be that guy. Just fyi, "cajones" means drawers, like what you find in a chest of drawers. "Cojones" with 2 O's means balls, testes, testicular fortitude, etc...carry on and sorry for the sidebar!

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of manipulation through persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying in an attempt to destabilize and delegitimize a target . . ' it's what he has been doing all along and it's not funny . . it's scary . .


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