This time in the wake of Hurrican Sandy. What could possibly go wrong?
On November 15, Obama, speaking in New York, announced his choice of a federal "point person" in dealing with the recovery efforts:
On the federal level, because this is going to be such a big job, I wanted to assign one particular person who would be in charge from our perspective, who would be our point person...our outstanding HUD Secretary, Shaun Donovan, who used to be the head of the New York Housing Authority -- so he knows a little bit about New York and building -- is going to be our point person. And he's going to be working with the mayor, the governor, the borough presidents, the county officials to make sure that we come up with a strong, effective plan. And then, I'll be working with the members of Congress to do everything we can to get the resources needed to rebuild. And I have every confidence that Shaun is going to be doing a great job, and so people should feel some confidence about that.
I would never believe that the private sector, left to its own devices, is the best possible solution. I’m in government because of the role of government in setting rules and working in partnership with the private sector.
For "setting rules" here, read "rigging the market." Having first set the rules in this manner, the "partnership" to which he refers is approximately analogous to the "partnership" between a protection racket and the shop owner who has been intimidated into paying the protection money.
A recent article by the Huffington Post's Peter S. Goodman showed how one homeowner from the Bronx has continued to struggle to save her home because of the outrageous treatment she's received at the hands of the bank that services her loan. Reporting with painstaking detail the obstacles Bank of America has thrown up as Katie Diaz spent months trying to secure a mortgage modification that lowered her monthly costs, Goodman's piece highlights the reality too many homeowners have faced during this crisis -- the dropped calls, lost paperwork and poor customer service that leaves them frustrated, confused and unsure whether they will be able to save their home.Unfortunately, the author assigned much of the blame for these failures not to Bank of America, Ms. Diaz's servicer -- but rather to the $25 billion mortgage servicing settlement that Bank of America and four other servicers agreed to this spring. The largest mortgage relief effort in history, the settlement provides $17 billion in consumer relief and billions more to states that can be used for proven anti-foreclosure efforts like housing counseling. It also creates tough new customer service standards that require servicers to put an end to the kind of behavior faced by Ms. Diaz.However, from Goodman's piece, the reader is left to believe that the settlement has failed before it has even fully taken effect.Not only does the piece fail to cite any of the homeowners who have already received significant relief through the settlement, it isn't until the fourteenth paragraph that the article even mentions that the new servicing standards designed to protect Ms. Diaz and others from the abuses documented in the article won't be fully implemented until early-October -- when the settlement requires the banks to fully comply with more than 300 specific servicing standards...
This is not an SEIU rabble rouser, or a Communist Party Obama supporter. This is a member of the president's cabinet. The explicit "eat the rich," 99%, class warfare vocabulary in this op-ed would have been fairly shocking, even for a Democratic administration, prior to the current one. Now, of course, it is so commonplace, including from the president himself, that we hardly even notice anymore.
...Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country's current crisis. He took actions that—in combination with many other factors—helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded "kickbacks" to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.What he did is important—not just because of what it tells us about how we got in this hole, but because of what it says about New York's attorney general, who has been trying for months to don a white hat in the subprime scandal, pursuing cases against banks, appraisers, brokers, rating agencies, and multitrillion-dollar, quasi-public Fannie and Freddie...
ALBANY, N.Y. — Cash-strapped New York has tentatively chosen the highest bidder to produce driver's licenses under a disputed contract that would provide only black-and-white photos and end up costing the state nearly $38 million more than the current contract if it's approved.
According to court papers reviewed by The Associated Press, the losing vendors, including the company that has produced New York licenses with color photos for 16 years, are protesting the $88.5 million award to a Canadian company.The award to CBN Secure Technology Inc. of Ottawa is also being reviewed by the state comptroller.CBN is part of the Canadian Bank Note company that prints Canadian money, passports and driver's licenses worldwide. Company officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment.The DMV tentatively awarded the contract to the high bidder 10 months after New York advised the current vendor, De La Rue North America Inc., that because of "significant budgetary constraints" the state would have to reduce the cost of the contract, according to the court filings. As a result, De La Rue submitted a bid 10 percent lower for the new, eight-year contract, which ended up being nearly $38 million less than CBN's bid...
State records show no campaign contributions from its top officers to any New York officials. CBN, founded in 1897, also has a lottery systems division for gaming run by governments, but has no contracts with New York where Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to expand gambling.