Frank Louis
Mortgage strike? Former SEIU official Stephen Lerner may have a point!
However, I like American capitalism, evidently Mr. Lerner doesn't
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By Frank Louis
March 25, 2011

Stephen, I agree with you Bro, to an extent. You are so clever!

Yes, nobody should pay their mortgage, that is, if they were set up and robbed by fraudulently inflated prices. Prices that were created by the "housing bubble." The bubble that resulted from allegedly trying to provide access to the "American Dream" to everyone who did not work for it. The bubble that resulted from the fraudulent creation of subprime mortgage backed securities. That was also clever!

Foreclosures are continuing up with no end in sight, real estate values are continuing down, maybe by an additional 20% next year it is reported, and this is killing the nation. This week we heard that American personal wealth declined 23% between 2007 and 2009. Tied to housing? You bet! Clever!

But Mr. Lerner, I don't agree with a mortgage strike intended to destroy the nation and our way of life. Subprime mortgages have already accomplished this. Many of us like capitalism when it is not corrupted by "clever" folks perpetrating fraud disguised as "helping the poor" while making themselves quite rich. Setting others up to fail so they will profit. I agree that the banks have played a dastardly scam on the American public. But you, the government, and your SEIC union all helped! Clever, but foolish folks! You can't have it both ways.

Let's not forget that the Founders of our country prayed and read scripture before making decisions. The Founders probably read 1 Corinthians, 3:19 that informs us "the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, "He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness."

Trapped in "their own cleverness." Pretty matter of fact, don't you think? Maybe if we, as a nation, returned to the Biblical roots of our law and order, we would not be in the situations we now find ourselves. So many think they are so clever. Maybe that is the problem. God knew it. I believe our Founders knew it. Too many PhDs do not know it.

Remember the (2009 Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) Issa report? Among other things, it stated: "ACORN and SEIU entered into illegal agreements that constitute a criminal conspiracy." It also stated that both ACORN and the SEIU's "intimidation tactics, successfully forced banks to make lending agreements." And you have the audacity to start telling people not to pay their mortgages?

You were there... as SEIU at that time, correct? Why didn't the Americans who made down payments with their life savings and have been robbed, as a direct result of these types of activities get their money back? But that is clearly not your intent. Again, clever!

These mortgage scams were also fully blessed by "Friends of Mozilo." You remember, Anthony Mozilo, head of Countrywide Mortgage Company? Meanwhile, Senator Barney Frank, Democrat from Massachusetts, claimed that there was "no crisis" in housing. Another very, very clever guy. Didn't he have something to do with Fannie Mae?

At least two U.S. senators, two former Cabinet members, and a former ambassador to the United Nations all received "Friends" loans from Countrywide Financial through the little-known program (at the time) that waived points, lender fees, and company borrowing rules for prominent people. Have any affect on bringing up "property values?" Fraud? I think so. Now 12 million homes (about 40 million people) are in foreclosure, not to mention commercial real estate defaults. Very clever indeed.... just judgment flaws, as I have reported before, no crime. Clever.

Criminals, (oops, I mean) "Senators" Christopher Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut and chairman of the Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, refinanced properties through Countrywide's "V.I.P." program in 2003 and 2004. Yep, the Budget Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Banking Committee. Fraud? I think so. Clever? There were many more prominent "Friends of Mozilo" loans that, if nothing else, also fueled the fire that caused housing to artificially spike, leaving millions of Americans broke and in debt in the wake. And you act like it is a clever game.

Does Mr. Lerner have big short positions on JP Morgan, Bank of America, and perhaps other stocks? Does he stand to make millions of dollars in May when fools who bought real estate, most likely with no money down and caused prices to skyrocket follow his advice and do not pay their debts? Clever indeed! Will he disclose his stock holdings and potential personal gain from this "strike?' I bet not. Who else made their money from bringing down an economy? Oh yeah, George Soros. Clever!

It was reported in several media sources recently that, in a closed session at Pace University, Mr. Lerner said that unions and community organizations are, for all intents and purposes, "dead," and the only way to achieve their goals, — the redistribution of wealth and the return of "$17 trillion" stolen from the middle class by Wall Street — is to "destabilize the country." Clever Stephan, let's start by returning the $5 trillion that was stolen from working Americans who have lost the biggest percentage of their net worth in the wealth redistribution scheme known as the "housing crisis."

To date, millions of Americans have been foreclosed on by the clever banks. Many of these were people who had bought property in good faith, relying on the fiduciary responsibilities, required by law, that their realtors, appraisers, and mortgage brokers had to them only to be set up and robbed. These "professionals" all made their commissions, they also knew the truth about subprime but did not disclose this information at the time of the real estate transaction. They had a mandate from the banks to make more and more mortgages to fill the Mortgage Backed Securities. Who cared if the loans were solvent or not? In fact they stood to make even more money when it all crashed. Again, very, very clever.

Yet, still to this date not one media personality even so much as mentions those Americans who invested their life's savings in many instances on property fraudulently "over valued" by the subprime crisis. No one but me.

For 3 years now, I have been promoting what I call the "short keep" as the solution to this economic crisis. Simply put, just let people who made dawn payments on their real estate investments keep the property for the actual value that the banks will realize in a short sale or foreclosure. No more foreclosures. No more commissions, no more cutely named government loan programs, nothing. The crisis will stop. But no, just this week, the seemingly ignorant real estate reporter on CNBC, Diana Olick, still just can't get over the continued declines in property values and the continued rising in the number of foreclosures. She reports what she is fed. Larry Kudlow praises her work.

Is she just totally blind or just obediently towing the line for the banks? After all, who owns NBC? GE. Is GE, a bank? Maybe so? Perhaps the seeming "unawareness" of reality by the likes of her further sparks the likes of Mr. Lerner and his national call for a mortgage strike. No, Diana, you'll continue to spit our more and more statistics without filling in the details behind these stats. For example, Diana, sure, condo sales in Miami are up 134% from last year. And, yes, many are being bought with cash. Why don't you mention the price histories? Prices in Miami went up and up over a 4-year period because the market was being scammed. It was fraud. Straw buyers, criminals in the industry flipping the fraudulent sales, and other similar actions helped prices go through the roof. Hmm, maybe Mr. Lerner's plan to strike against the banks is not such bad idea after all. I just can't wait to hear how you would report on that!

Sure, in those years, some people were not involved with the fraud and just happened to buy and or sell at the right time. But, many condos in Miami that some people bought for $300,000 (authenticated values established by appraisers approved by the banks) in 2005 are now only "worth" $20,000, maybe less. But people paid the $300,000 because the comps proved the values. These people brought their life savings to the table along with their good credit. The banks all agreed on the values. They just did not let us know how the prices got there. How clever. The comps, as it turned out, were BS. That, Diana, is why they are selling for cash. They have little or no value to speak of. The people who paid the $300,000 and are now broke are being held up for that.

These people applied for actual (not no-doc) mortgages, and often put their hard earned 25% or more cash down payments of $75,000 or $80,000. Diana, these condos are now selling for $20,000 or even less. These are the people who were set up and paid the $300,000 as an investment for their family's future and their retirement are now bankrupt and on the hook for the $200,000 short fall. And just who are the cash buyers anyway? Surely not the Americans who lost their $80,000 down payments along with their good credit.

Many of these people worked their entire lives, saved their money, did not have credit card debt, were not members of the "under banked" we hear about these days, and had credit scores in the 700 range. They have been ruined. Their personal wealth, I believe, is down way more that the 23% reported. Way more.

Diana why don't you ever mention thee people? No, the media only showcase people who took out sub prime, no money down, and no-doc loans that caused the problem and tell us how they lost the "American Dream." No, they took the "Dream" from those of us who worked for it. They did not "lose" anything.

So, values will continue down and fools will buy into the "mortgage strike" and, who knows, maybe it will work. In many ways the banks, fools that they are for continuing to foreclose on people who were defrauded, deserve it. But Stephen and Diana... beware of the snare of your own cleverness. You may be surprised.

© Frank Louis

 

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Frank Louis

Frank Louis is a print and on-air commentator who offers opinions and solutions on and for the economy, social issues, and the future of this nation. In the Old Testament, Nehemiah 4: 14 instructs us to fight for our houses; something we need to be doing now. Our future generations depend on it!... (more)

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