To The Pointwith Boris Bozic
Commentary, Opinions, Thoughts and Discussion on Current Events, Politics and The Mortgage Industry

0 Comments Too Big To Fail

Article written by on the 28 Jun 2011 in Economy,Mortgage,Politics

20110626-103935.jpgThis was a term we were all too familiar with back in August and September of 2008. It is also the name of a new HBO movie which chronicles what transpired at the beginning of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. HBO assembled an outstanding cast, and given the subject matter the movie was rather entertaining. I would highly recommend watching the movie. It is a good reminder to all of us that the term boom and bust is as applicable today as it always has been.

In typical Hollywood fashion, a liberal bias amounting to revisionist history, the movie tried to blame George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan for the meltdown, and all other evil things. The truth is you can go back to the Jimmy Carter administration, and the passing of the Community and Reinvestment Act. That work of art stated that home ownership was a right, and not a privilege. This is where the slippery slope began. Then old Slick Willie, aka “which way are the political winds blowing today because that’s what I’ll stand for”, Bill Clinton, put that program on steroids. Suffice to say the responsibility for the meltdown, and the nuclear fueling of the problem, is equal parts Republican and Democratic.

The movie is a great reminder of how perilously close we came to an economic meltdown. How our standard of living was at the precipice. If you think this is hyperbole, because this was really a US issue, the reality is that this carcinogen (sub-prime mortgages) infected world markets. I can’t help but to think about the auto worker in Windsor and Detroit, the welder in Germany, the machinist in France, all, asking the same question: “Tell me again why my pension has taken a hit because of some mortgage problem?” No one from Wall Street could explain what happened in laymen terms. The average person cares little about default swaps, derivatives and mortgage-backed securities. All the layman cares about is finding out who the hell let this happen. That question has still gone unanswered.

20110626-103250.jpg

The movie doesn’t deal with the who. The movie played up of the part about the moral dilemma the government faced. Who did the government decide to bail out, AIG, and who did they allow to fail, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. All very fascinating and dramatic. But after watching the movie I couldn’t help but ask myself the following question: “How the hell has no one gone to prison over this?” I’m all for a free market system, and the pursuit of wealth, but reckless endangerment of our economy and standard of living should not go unpunished. There were individuals and institutions who knew full well they were passing on toxic assets. They were passing on the risk so they didn’t care. They could care less about the consequences. Yet none of the perpetrators of this ingenious fraud has ever been charged or convicted. You would think at least a couple of them should be experiencing the joys of being passed around in prison for a carton of smokes.

Until next time

Cheers

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1 Comments Was That a Chain Gang I Just Saw?

Article written by on the 09 Jun 2011 in Current Events,Ontario,Politics

Thoughts on Chain GangsFor those of you who reside outside of Ontario, you may not know this but we here in Ontario get to exercise our democratic right one more time.  Then again some of you who live in Ontario may have forgotten that we have a provincial election coming up this October.  Who could blame you for wanting to suppress the idea of yet another election.  In the last 12 months, the good residents of Toronto endured a municipal election, and the voters in Ontario cast their ballots for a needless federal election. Could voter fatigue be setting in? I suspect the incumbents, the provincial liberals, hope so.

During our municipal election, candidate Rob Ford ran on a very simple campaign. The message was clear and to the point, “the gravy train stops here”. I’m not kidding, that was his campaign slogan.  His message was that days of wasteful spending was over.  It was time to be fiscally responsible, and do what was right for the citizens of Toronto.  I know what you’re thinking, sheer lunacy.  Being fiscally responsible was the complete opposite of what everyone in Toronto had became accustomed to under the previous regime. The spend first and think later cabal that used to run city hall were flabbergasted that Rob Ford’s message resonated with the electorate. So much so that the incumbent mayor, David Miller,decided he wouldn’t run for re-election because he wanted to spend more time with his family.  When a politician says he’s not running because he wants to spend more time with his family, it really means that we just did a poll and the results say if I run again I’m going to get my ass kicked. I digress.  Rob Ford won overwhelming majority, and the citizens of Toronto have spoken.

The federal election is still fresh in everyone’s mind.  The conservative party finally got their majority.  Why? Ontario put them over the top. The only way the torries could gain a majority was to do well in the 416 and 905 are code, and that’s exactly what happened. What was the message that resonated with the voters in Ontario? Fiscal responsibility, cutting wasteful spending and lowering the deficit. I’m not a Rhodes Scholar by any stretch of the imagination but I think I see a pattern here.

This brings me to the upcoming provincial election. I’m going to let you take a wild guess what Tim Hudak, leader of the Ontario PC Party, platform is for the upcoming election. You’re so smart, you’re not just another pretty face.  Tim, you had me at lowering taxes.

The fact that you want to bring back chain gangs makes me school girl giddy. That’s not a joke. The issue has been getting a lot of air time in Ontario, and it appears the idea is gaining a lot of support. As a voter I’m a buyer of a politicians vision. Every four years I buy what a politician is selling by casting my vote. Political parties share similarities with private enterprise. If you don’t give consumers/voters what they want, if you think you’re smarter than the consumer/voter, if you suffer from hubris, you do so at your own peril.  But you don’t have to take my word for it. Just ask David Miller and Michael Ignatieff

Until next time.

Cheers,

Image Source: McLeans Magazine, July 27, 2001 

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