UPDATE: Since this post was written, the House passed Obama’s $819 billion stimulus package in a 244-188 vote.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
UPDATE: Since this post was written, the House passed Obama's $819 billion stimulus package in a 244-188 vote.
Congressman Brian Bilbray enjoys reminding us that he was "an old local government mayor [and] county supervisor," implying that in those smaller jurisdictions , he was used to dealing with problems early on, before they undermined or even destroyed Imperial Beach (where he was mayor), or San Diego County (when he was a supervisor).
So he applies that experience to today's national economic blitzkrieg when he asks during my interview with him: "why aren't we correcting those small little things that add up to become a big crisis?"
Of course I can't answer that question for him. But now, hours after that conversation with Representative Bilbray on Tuesday (audio above), I recall that he worked as a tax consultant before entering politics at age 24, when he ran for the Imperial Beach City Council as a populist and won. So he probably has more of a financial background than most of us and thus I started thinking about "those small little things."
Unfortunately for the United States, "those small little things" turned out to be risky home loans , greedy lenders, and the American dream of owning a home. And by the time the regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission began paying attention, foreclosures and defaults had multiplied, while the value of faulty mortgage-backed securities evaporated.
Then the dominos began to fall. Sales, companies, jobs , savings are all too quickly dwindling.
So Rep. Bilbray is right in this regard: if those federal agencies charged with oversight and regulation had done their job during the last two or three years, then those lenders who were reeling in unqualified borrowers would have been stopped in their tracks, and perhaps the nation and the world would have been saved from the current economic meltdown.
Now that it's clearly too late to change that history and the "big crisis" is here, will Mr. Bilbray look to President Obama to make the necessary repairs to the damage created during his predecessor's administration -- or will he continue to see only more danger ahead?