Tar Heels getting full dose of mudslinging

Living in California, you’d hardly know there was a presidential election.  We don’t get any political advertising because the state is considered a foregone conclusion to go Democratic.  Mind you, I’m not complaining.

But landing in North Carolina to visit my mother who is ill with several strokes, I’ve gotten to see what it looks like in a battleground state.    I had heard about McCain trying to link Sen. Obama with William Ayres, but I’m really upset about the attempt by McCain, the Republican National Committee and Sen. Elizabeth Dole here to imply that black mortgage holders are the reason for the financial meltdown.

It is as ridiculous as the conservatives who attacked Hurricane Katrina victims for seeking federal aid.

After $700 billion of federal welfare to Wall Street, the hundreds of thousands of black home owners who are suffering $100 billion in lost wealth are the cause of the problem.

A McCain ad I’ve seen repeatedly here says “congressional liberals” pushed for “subprime lending.”  That is just patently false.   The Congressional Black Caucus and other members have encouraged financial institutions to live up to their obligations under the Community Reinvestment and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.  In return for the massive federal subsidies through deposit insurance, the Federal Reserve and who knows what else, we as the public merely ask that loans be available to all parts of the country and all neighborhoods, regardless of race.

The industry has been much more willing to take our deposits and spread them around the world in search of highest returns.   After a loosening of commodity safeguards by Sen. Phil Gramm, the leading Republican economic voice for the past 30 years, it was recognized that discrimination could pay handsomely. Since minorities couldn’t get conventional loans, they could be targeted for higher interest rates that would suck the built up equity out of the homes they already owned. Then those loans could be resold to investors and backed up by credit swaps to cover the increased risk.  The collateralized debt obligations were then sold to foreign buyers.

The reason that the White House and Congress put together $700 billion so quickly is that the international bankers are none too pleased about this charade and might have to pull their money out of the U.S. economy to save their own hides.

in fact, it was the Legislative Black Caucus in North Carolina that passed the first state law against predatory lending, a step blocked by Republicans in Congress and most of the rest of the country.

So it is highly irresponsible for McCain and the RNC to try to shift the blame for their own anti-regulation stance to those who will be left with nothing.

Sen. Obama has the money to fight back, but a so-called man of honor should not kick those who are already down.


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