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Written by Jim Jordal   
Friday, 30 November 2007

IT'S TIME TO REIN IN WALL STREET

By Jim Jordal

"For among My people are found wicked men; they lie in wait as one who sets snares; they set a trap; they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich. They have grown fat, they are sleek; yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked; they do not plead the cause; the cause of the fatherless; yet they prosper, and the right of the needy they do not defend. Shall I not punish them for these things?" says the Lord. "Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?"

Jeremiah 5:26-29 (NKJV)

It's time to rein in Wall Street before their arrogant greed and reckless game playing destroys not only the American economy, but also possibly the entire world economic order. The recent home mortgage debacle merely reinforces the conviction that Wall Street has gone entirely too far in creating credit instruments and financial manipulations benefiting mainly themselves. All this with the connivance of a compliant congress and a blind, clueless administration.

The current debacle only threatens to become worse as at least $500 billion in Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) and other similar loans re-set (raise their interest rates) over the next year or so. How many more struggling people will lose their homes or have to file bankruptcy, or both? And how many more will lose any hope of achieving the "American Dream" of a living wage job, decent single family home, and thriving children?

Many Americans prefer to think of this sad situation as an unfortunate accident, but the truth is far more sobering. Wall Street excels in dreaming up new ways to make money by "securitizing" (packaging for sale to investors) everything from actual mortgages and credit instruments to what amount to bets on changing prices of commodities and investment funds in world markets. The mortgage debacle is just one form of these numerous scams.

And who is hurt by the implosion of the home finance racket? Most mortgage bankers, insurance companies and fund administrators get almost immediate rescue from their misdeeds as the Federal Reserve System pumps over $100 billion into bank reserves to forestall a credit crunch caused by the collapse of mortgage consolidators and the fear by banks to make new loans.

But who rescues the poor stiffs now facing loss of their homes, credit ratings, and future access to credit markets? Recent news reports indicate that President Bush will propose a group of new policies to help ease the mortgage default situation by making it easier for some persons facing foreclosure on ARMs to refinance with new loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This will help some at-risk mortgagees, but many still face bite-the-bullet time as their mortgage payments skyrocket with no help in sight.

Mortgage lenders claim that each foreclosure costs them $58,000. If that's true, why don't they do more to limit their exposure to shaky loans? That's a good question, since I haven't seen any information comparing their assumed risks from defaults with their sizable profits. It's the same principle as lamenting credit card company losses without comparing these minimal losses to their massive profits.

Should government step in to rescue all lenders and all mortgagees? At present government seems to fear implosion of the credit system far more than losses to the people. It seems to me that justice would require that victims of government-allowed or -created policies, either lenders or borrowers, should be rescued so as to prevent further suffering. But those greedy, wheeler-dealer mortgage brokers and consolidators, as well as their I-want-it-all borrowers should pay for their foolishness by facing bankruptcy. But my willingness to show mercy resides far more with the customers than with the perpetrators of these excesses.

The Scripture passage above expresses what God thinks of such deceitful financial manipulations. God says these pitiless charlatans of deceit entrap the poor with financial and legal snares so as to enrich themselves. They grow fat and sleek on the suffering of others. They circumvent justice, and do not plead the cause of the poor. And God decrees further that there will be vengeance taken upon a nation such as this. Sobering words, yet they quite literally describe the unjust manipulations occurring continually in American financial circles. When one scam implodes, another soon arises to take its place--and the rich don't suffer, only the poor.

So as the situation unfolds, watch for signs that someone is waking up to the plight of the people, and the extent to which their suffering results, not only from their own foolishness, but from calculated decisions by government and its wealthy supporters to create policies oppressive to the poor and destructive to the nation.

Last Updated ( Friday, 30 November 2007 )