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December 1st, 2008
03:24 PM ET

Warnings of mortgage meltdown: Why government did not act?

The government was warned of financial crisis and mortgage meltdown years before it happened.

The government was warned of financial crisis and mortgage meltdown years before it happened.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's official. We're in a recession, and we have been in one since December of last year according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. That's their job. They tell us when we're in a recession. Any American could have told you we've been in a recession for the past year, but the government agency that's supposed to tell us these things just got around to it today.

The government is great. According to a new analysis of documents conducted by the Associated Press, the government was warned of the coming financial crisis and mortgage meltdown years before it happened. But the Bush administration ignored the warnings under aggressive lobbying and promises of stability from some of same financial institutions that ultimately failed.

"Expect fallout, expect foreclosures, expect horror stories," one California mortgage lender wrote to U.S. regulators in January 2006. Some bank regulators proposed capping risky mortgages and providing clearer explanations of what mortgage-backed securities are. But regulators delayed putting new rules in place for the mortgage industry until later that year. By then it was too late. The meltdown was well underway.

The Bush administration has always been about trusting market forces and avoiding government intervention in the economy. The Associated Press points out that that philosophy "ironically has ushered in the most massive government intervention since the 1930s."

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that the White House and Congress failed to act earlier on warnings about the mortgage meltdown?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: US Congress • US Economy
November 17th, 2008
03:11 PM ET

Should Congress freeze remaining bailout money?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Republican Senator Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma wants to put a "freeze" on the remaining cash in the big government bailout of the financial industry. In this week's lame duck session, Inhofe plans to push for legislation that will require Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan for the remaining $350 billion in the bailout package to be voted on in Congress.

Watch: Cafferty: Bailout freeze?

Despite promises from Congressional leaders that there would be both, there is absolutely no transparency or congressional oversight on where the first $290 billion has gone. Senator Inhofe suggests Paulson "may have given the money to his friends."

Inhofe, who voted against the bailout package when it was originally passed, said in a letter to fellow lawmakers this weekend, "It is Congress's duty to have a say in what happens with the remaining authorized amount of $350 billion. It is clear that it was a mistake to sign a blank check to one man for such a tremendous amount of money."

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress freeze the remaining bailout money?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: US Congress • US Economy
November 7th, 2008
06:43 PM ET

Pelosi, Reid: Right leaders for Congress?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Change is coming to Washington this January - as promised by President-elect Obama - and not just at the White House.

Democrats will have a strong upper hand in both houses of Congress, even with three senate races still up in the air - Minnesota, Alaska and Georgia where a run-off is scheduled for early December - and a handful of House races. Not quite filibuster-proof but the gains should allow Barack Obama to push through much of his agenda in the first 100 days of his presidency.

But one thing that will look the same on Capitol Hill - some of the faces at the top. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be back. They vowed change and bipartisanship after they were elected two years ago. Instead they presided over one of the worst Congresses in recent memory. A lot of people simply don't like either one of them for a variety of reasons.

Here’s my question to you: Are Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid the right leaders for the new Congress?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: US Congress
November 7th, 2008
06:11 PM ET

How can the GOP get back in the game?

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Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: CNN)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After getting the wind knocked out of them in 2006 and 2008, Republicans are a party in disarray...

From putting a woman on the presidential ticket who reportedly can't name the members of the North American Free Trade Agreement and thinks Africa is a country rather than a continent, to a presidential candidate who declared: "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" at the same moment the worst financial crisis in almost a century was descending on the U.S. economy, they appear to have lost their touch. And if they're pinning their presidential hopes on Sarah Palin for 2012, well, good luck with that.

Watch: Cafferty: GOP popularity?

Bush damaged the brand but John McCain and Sarah Palin didn't do much to restore it.

Republicans also enter the new year with declining minorities in both houses of Congress.

Here’s my question to you: What does the Republican Party have to do to get back in the game?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: GOP • US Congress
November 5th, 2008
12:27 PM ET

Priority one for new Pres and Congress?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

For President Barack Obama and the new Congress, January brings the message, "OK, you made the team, now it's time to find out if you can really play." The list of problems confronting our country is long, the list of solutions not so.

Obama will enjoy Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, so it should be possible to get things done more quickly. But where to start? There are two wars going on and a global economic crisis that could get worse. The terrorists are still around. Our health care system is in disarray. Our reputation overseas is on life support.

Oh, and don't forget taxes, a lack of any coherent energy policy and illegal immigration. No question about it, it's not quite the same country George Bush inherited from Bill Clinton.

Did I mention $10 trillion of debt and budget deficits projected north of $400 billion for next year?

Here’s my question to you: What is priority one for the new president and congress?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Barack Obama • US Congress
September 29th, 2008
03:07 PM ET

Failed bailout = incumbents out?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

All weekend we heard the phrase, "We're making progress." Today, we were assured that House leaders had the votes to pass this humongous bailout bill to save the economy from a meltdown. We should know better.

When the roll was called, the necessary votes were missing. Wall Street was like a yo-yo on a string. At one point, the Dow was down more than 700 points. And it all happened despite the efforts of John McCain to anoint himself the savior of the bailout package. It turns out members of McCain's own party balked at voting for the bailout in the house.

Watch: Cafferty: Incumbents out?

At the end of the day, President Bush couldn't get it done, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi couldn't get it done, John Boehner couldn't get it done, and McCain is left with egg all over his face after calling for the cancellation of last Friday's debate and announcing he was suspending his campaign.

Once again our government has failed us. The future of the bailout is very much an open question. With just five weeks before the election, look for everybody in Washington to bend over backwards.

Here’s my question to you: Is the failure of the bailout reason enough to vote all incumbents out of office?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: US Congress • US Economy
August 6th, 2008
05:47 PM ET

What's better: gridlock or one-party control?

 Senate Democrats are hoping the 2008 presidential election could give them a big majority.

Senate Democrats are hoping the 2008 presidential election could give them a big majority.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

All eyes in political circles these days seem to be focused on the race between Barack Obama and John McCain, but the battle for the Senate could end up having as big an impact as the presidential race.

Democrats could win a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats in the Senate in November. If they do, it will be the first time that's happened since 1977. The so-called "Magic 60" would mean a fast track for the Democrats' agenda. They already enjoy a substantial majority in the House, and if the polls are accurate they stand to pick up more seats there as well come November.

Add to that the possibility that Barack Obama becomes the next president, and the stage is set for a Democratic deluge: Legislation, judicial appointments, you name it – will go through Congress like bacon through a goose.

The good news is the federal government might actually get something done. This would be in sharp contrast to the gridlock, finger-pointing and obstructionism that have paralyzed our government for years. The bad news is: what if they don't do the right things? Our Washington politicians have a long history of disappointing us, and as a result, a lot of people think gridlock is better than no gridlock.

However, the nation's problems have become so large and far-reaching that we may no longer be able to afford the luxury of a government that does nothing. If the Democrats hit the trifecta in November, I guess we'll all just have to pray that they don't make things worse than they already are.

Here’s my question to you: Which is better: gridlock or one party controlling Congress and the White House?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: US Congress
July 17th, 2008
02:01 PM ET

Congress giving Pres. Bush a free pass?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Americans are fed up with Congress. Why wouldn't they be? A new Gallup poll shows Congress' approval rating at 14%, the lowest in 30 years.

One of the reasons has got to be the legislative branch's refusal to exercise any sort of oversight on the executive branch of government, something they are specifically charged in our Constitution with doing.

In fact, President Bush has learned he can simply thumb his nose at Congress, because they won't do anything about it. So he does… over and over and over again.

Yesterday President Bush claimed executive privilege – yet again – in refusing to hand over the transcript of the FBI interview with Vice President Dick Cheney about the CIA leak case. Congressman Henry Waxman stomped his feet and said he'll move forward with a contempt citation against Attorney General Michael Mukasey. But, so what? Haven't we been here before?

Multiple White House staffers have ignored subpoenas in the last several years, including Karl Rove, former counsel Harriet Miers, Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. And nothing was done to any of them.

Meanwhile, Congress bowed to King George's demands and passed that new FISA surveillance bill, without ever doing anything about the breaking of the law with the old one. They continue to approve more money for the war in Iraq – most recently another $162 billion, no strings attached – despite promising to cut off funding for the war back in 2006.

A new book titled "The Dark Side" by New Yorker writer Jane Mayer suggests top administration officials including President Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others may be guilty of war crimes, but Congress has chosen to simply look the other way. A good lawyer might be able to make the case Congress has been criminally negligent.

Here’s my question to you: Why does Congress continue to allow President Bush to get away with so much?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: President George Bush • US Congress
June 11th, 2008
05:31 PM ET

What’s more important to Congress than re-election?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

You can almost smell when it's election time in Washington D.C., that's when the politicians start making lots of noise about the issues that actually affect millions of Americans. The rest of the time it's all about them, their lobbyist buddies and the special interests. But for a few months before we vote, they pretend to care.

This time around, it's all about skyrocketing gas prices and the shaky economy. The Democrats joined together yesterday in going after Republicans about soaring energy costs. After Senate Republicans blocked debate on bills that would extend tax incentives for alternative power sources and put new taxes on oil companies. Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the floor to say: "This is framed with the picture of a presidential campaign going on."

But Republicans are standing their ground. They say the bills were shortsighted, that the Democrats aren't doing anything about lowering the cost of gasoline immediately and they refuse to open more domestic areas to oil production. House Republicans also reminded voters that the Democrats have been in charge of Congress for the past year and a half as gas prices have soared.

Meanwhile, members of both parties are in constant communication with their respective presidential nominees. This probably means there's a whole lot of coordination going on as lawmakers speak out about these issues that are hitting Americans' pocketbooks hard. You can be sure they're all focused on their candidate winning the White House and hopefully providing long enough coattails so those who are up for re-election in Congress don't get thrown out on their ear.

Here’s my question to you: Is anything more important to Congress than being re-elected?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: US Congress
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