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THE CHRISTMAS TALE OF A LIBERAL AND OTHERS OF THEIR ILK
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By Jeffrey Lord on 12.21.10 @ 6:08AM

Requiem: Hymn or dirge for repose of the dead.
— Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Christmas, order 1985.

Tom Wicker was upset.

The longtime New York Times political reporter turned columnist, an icon of liberal journalism in the day, was furious with President Ronald Reagan and his conservative administration. So he sat himself down during the Christmas season and penned a column titled "Requiem at Christmas."

That would be requiem, as in a hymn for the dead.

The subject of Wicker’s fury is worth a look this Christmas, twenty-five years later. His tirade was delivered as Reagan and the conservative movement were riding a wave of public popularity just a year after Reagan’s 49-state re-election over former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Why is this important enough to take another look? Because this tale of a supposed political Scrooge and the Christmas Past of 1985 provides a glimpse of Christmas Future for conservatives in 2011.

Wicker, you see, was waxing eloquent about a pond at his rural retreat in historic Rappahannock County, Virginia. There, some twenty years earlier during the height of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, the columnist built his pond on his own property. Perhaps understandably for a man who had spent his life as a liberal wordsmith, Wicker saw this moment of pond-building as "perhaps the single most constructive act of my life."

He also paid for the construction of the pond himself. Good man. A liberal who believes in private sector job creation.

But wait! Paid for it all himself? Then why in the world was Tom Wicker so furious at Ronald Reagan and conservatives?

What was this business of a "Requiem at Christmas"?

Well, there was actually more than a pond involved, you see. First, the government of the Commonwealth of Virginia arrived to stock Wicker’s pond "with large mouth bass, bluegills and channel catfish," the latter, Mr. Wicker assures us, "to establish a natural cycle" in his new private pond. But there was something else. There was also a dam. And instead of hiring a private sector contractor to design his dam, Mr. Wicker went somewhere else. Guesses, anyone?

That’s right. Instead of pumping his New York Times earnings into this task, Mr. Wicker turned to — you. You as in the taxpayers funding the federal government of the United States circa 1965. Specifically, in Wicker’s words, he turned to "Eddie Woods, the district agent for the Federal Soil Conservation Service, (who) designed the dam so well that the water eventually rose precisely to the little red flags he had set out to predict the shoreline of what he called a ‘water impoundment.’"

Said Wicker as his fury rose to what might be called the liberal anger impoundment shoreline of the Times print pond: "That’s only an infinitesimal incident in the annals of one of the Federal services dedicated to the American earth and to those who work and cherish it." Indeed, indeed. "Infinitesimal" is precisely the word for whatever federal tax dollars were spent on his pond. Then, without missing a beat or evidencing a solitary thread of irony, Wicker moves his readers from the pond-designing Federal Soil Conservation Service to another agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture: the Agricultural Extension Service.

There, he fingers Scrooge. Otherwise known as President Ronald Reagan.

While we are left to ponder the fact that good ole Eddie Woods of the Federal Soil Conservation Service was spending his time designing Wicker’s private dam on Wicker’s private property, Wicker sharply points out: "Now Ronald Reagan wants to kill the Extension Service to save money; if the service is needed his aides say, let the states pay for it."

At this point, Wicker’s outrage at this horrifying bit of Dickensian Scroogery from the Reagan White House explodes.

"What effrontery!" he splutters. The nerve of Reagan. Trying to cut back the federal government by suggesting that if a service is so valuable to a state that state should pay for the service and leave the American taxpayer in other states alone.

On a roll, Wicker moves to another outrageous Reagan idea: privatizing the Federal Housing Administration. What a wretched, foolish idea snaps Mr. Wicker. Why, the whole reason for the FHA, a New Deal program from 1934, was that private institutions "failed to make housing loans available to low and middle-income people…in the first place." Translation: mortgages were not given to those who could not afford them.

Imagine that. Way back there in 1985 Mr. Wicker simply can’t imagine what could possibly go wrong with forcing the government’s way into the private housing market and making sure people who can’t afford mortgages get them from the federal government. The very idea of getting rid of such a program made Wicker’s bile rise. As with an unrelated Agriculture Department program, this concept of getting rid of government programs is absurd on its face to Wicker and the Times. Wicker scorns Reagan, saying the President and his conservative policy advisers "in their mania for privatization and profit think they can make a buck on the sale, thus reducing the deficit."

Move ahead to 2008, August, specifically. Mr. Wicker is now presumably enjoying his retirement at the ripe-young age of 82. Which is to say one month before the subprime mortgage crisis explodes in the middle of the presidential campaign. Over in the pages of Forbes magazine, reporters Joshua Zumbrun and Maurna Desmond are waving something that might be recognized as a larger version of "the little red flags" planted by a government agent to predict the shoreline of Wicker’s now 23-year old government designed pond. This red flag is financial in nature and is being waved to alert readers that, well, a tidal wave is surging toward America’s financial shoreline. Says Forbes:

Watch your wallet.

Heralded as a savior in reversing the mortgage market’s woes, risks to the agency could cost taxpayers dearly, says one mortgage expert, as Washington morphs the FHA from a helping hand for low-income home buyers into a back door bailout for the imploding mortgage industry.…

"Nobody is talking is talking about it, but in three years the FHA bailout is going to cost taxpayers at least 0 billion dollars," said Guy Cecala, a mortgage industry insider and publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. "Everybody on Capitol Hill recognizes that there will be significant costs, but they’re trying to keep the housing spigot open even if it will bring in some bad water down the road."

Ahhh yes. Red flags and bad water. Says the publication Mortgage Loan.com later after the tidal wave has crashed ashore and started financially pulling Americans financially underwater en masse:

"The FHA has committed and tapped 0 billion to ramp up the Hope for Homeowners program."

Which is to say Forbes underestimated things.

Mr. Wicker’s philosophy, in short, more or less had its way with America. There was no requiem for liberal government spending in spite of Wicker’s protestations and snappy column title. The significance of the Reagan presidency — and later the Gingrich Congress — was to red flag the shoreline of financial consequences for the endless parade of tax-and-spend politicians of all stripes who swarmed Washington after 1932. This disaster, decades in the making, would take decades to resolve. Reagan’s administration as the president himself came to realize was merely step one — recognition of the problem and beginning to apply the brakes. There were politicians — of both parties — utterly heedless of the obvious fact that even the highest taxes (if you were a liberal) or the most advanced free market policies (if you were a conservative) could not keep pace if the reality was unceasing, massive spending on everything from today’s Obamacare to the pittance that was Tom Wicker’s Great Society-era government designed dam.

This Christmas, as economies in places like Greece, Ireland, and Portugal struggle because they listened to and were run by the ideas of their own Tom Wickers, the holiday for millions really is going to be downright Dickensian.

But — thankfully — this is America. A country which has a magnificent heritage of self-reliance that, reports to the contrary, is not dead yet. There are millions of Americans who now realize the direct, very stark connection between their joblessness, the almost eighty years of so-called government "services" like designing dams for the rural retreat of a well-to-do New York Times columnist — and the federal deficit. Not to mention the role played by all those subprime mortgages
Twenty-five Christmases later, Tom Wicker’s dam is symbolic of exactly what is dragging down the American economy.

Too much government. Too much government. Too much government. Not enough money. Not enough money. Not enough money.

There are only two ways out of this mess that has been some 80-years in the making. First is economic growth — putting an end to the politics of class warfare and envy that liberals like New York’s Congressman Anthony Weiner employ to keep their own middle-class constituents economically under-water for political benefit.

And …. cutting spending. Dealing straight-up with not just the tax code but health care costs, entitlements and discretionary spending like that responsible for designing Tom Wicker’s dam. Incoming House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future, discussed here, along with repealing Obamacare, will be and should be one of the first items on the agenda of House Republicans when they take over the majority in January.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, cited on MSNBC by Joe "No Labels" Scarborough, has made the point in a recent CBS 60 minutes interview. Says Christie: "The day of reckoning has arrived…the credit card has maxed out…it’s over. It’s over."

Yes, it is.

But when the Mother of All Budget Battles arrives in March (the expiration date for the just passed "Continuing Resolution" that freezes spending at the modest (??!!) current level of .1 trillion) expect House Republicans, GOP Senators, and every conservative from presidential candidates to talk radio hosts to you to be called, in so many words, Scrooge.

What you’re really hearing, in the inevitable fashion so bluntly described by Governor Christie, is at last — is it possible? — a genuine requiem for limitless government spending.

At which point it will do well to remember that twenty-five Christmases ago one columnist in the New York Times crystallized the argument nicely in a fashion he could not foresee.

How did we get to this day of reckoning of which Governor Christie speaks? How could this country and a number of its states possibly be edging to bankruptcy?

By borrowing the money to pay for Tom Wicker’s dam.

And a lot more besides.

Merry Christmas.

spectator.org/archives/2010/12/21/requiem-for-a-columnist…

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Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) Answers to Most Common Questions sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009. The borrower … Access Content

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PDF file B ORROWER F REQUENTLY A SKED Q UESTIONS What Is “Making …
Borrowers: (1) refinancing mortgage loans, through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), and (2) modifying Can the Making Home Affordable Program help me if my loan is not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? … Visit Document

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PDF file Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) – FAQs
Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) – FAQs 1. Does a loan need to be current to qualify The lender represents that the HARP refinance meets the requirements of Triad’s HARP Program and the HARP Program requirements as published by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, in effect on the day of … Read Content

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PDF file Making Home Affordable Plan
Home Affordable Refinance Program Home Affordable Refinance Program Homeowner owns a 1-4 unit home First-lien mortgage owned or securitized by Fa nnie First-lien mortgage owned or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac The Homeowner must be current on his or her eoeoeustbecueto soe mortgage. … Fetch This Document

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PDF file The Making Home Affordable Program
Making Home Affordable Program , Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nation's largest secondary market investors, offer two initiatives that will help keep more families in their homes, stabilize communities and help homebuyers during this difficult time. 1. The Home Affordable Refinance Program enables … Doc Retrieval

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PDF file B ORROWER F REQUENTLY A SKED Q UESTIONS U PDATED M ARCH 18 …
Through the Home Affordable Refinance Program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of mortgage loans that they own or that they placed in mortgage backed securities. … Retrieve Full Source

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PDF file Freddie Mac Relief Refinance Mortgages For Housing Counselors
Home Affordable Refinance Program Goals Help homeowners take advantage of current mortgage rates, despite a decrease in home values Reduce monthly payments for homeowners in order to … Access Doc

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PDF file Home Affordable Refinance Program
Home Affordable Refinance Program Written by Administrator Wednesday, 30 June 2010 10:06 – Last Updated adviser to find out your home’s loan-to-value ratio. The home loan refinance program currently applies to mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, both government-owned servicers. … Doc Viewer

PDF file P WER ALERT
Nationstar Mortgage Offers Home Affordable Refinance Programs Fannie Mae DU Refi Plus™ Program Freddie Mac Relief Refinance Open Access Program The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has been extended with modifications through December 31, 2013: … Return Doc

YouTube Home Affordable Refinance Program Update Harp 2 Bay Area San …
The Buzzz is growing for the "Home Affordable Refinance Program growing for the "Home Affordable Refinance Program" revisions, referred to as HARP 2.0. Well HARP 2 is finally coming Spring of 2012! Here is what you need to know — • Is your home owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac … View Video

About Foreclosure Filings Fall – US Economy And Business – US …
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are working with the Treasury to prevent foreclosures.This grew out of the HOPE NOW program to offer a streamlined loan modification process. Even borrowers who are "upside down" in their mortgage can apply, as Fannie Mae will refinance loans up to 105% of a home … Read Article

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PDF file Questions And Answers For Borrowers
Through the Home Affordable Refinance program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of mortgage loans that they own or that they placed in mortgage backed securities. … Fetch This Document

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News Lack Of Competition Stifles Refinance Program For Underwater Homeowners
Some homeowners are getting stuck with relatively high interest rates even after they participate in the government's program to help them refinance their mortgages. The biggest banks are not lowering rates as much as they could be, and homeowners have few options to go elsewhere. … Read News

Wikipedia Loan-to-value Ratio – Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
Conforming loans that meet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac underwriting guidelines are limited to an LTV ratio that is less than or equal to 80%. Conforming loans above 80% are subject to private mortgage insurance. … Read Article

YouTube Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) Extended For …
The Home affordable refinance program or HARP has been extended for California homeowners who owe up to 105% of the value of their home that will allow them to freddie mac; rich iacovetta; rmi lending; License: Standard YouTube License … View Video

Wikipedia Neighborhood Assistance Corporation Of America – Wikipedia …
Major breakthroughs with government backed investors such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been realized, with their Among them was the highly touted but ineffective Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), also known as the Making Home Affordable plan (MHA). The program itself … Read Article

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PDF file MAKING HOME AFFORDABLE PROGRESS REPORT May 14, 2009
More than 2,150 Home Affordable Refinance loans have closed and been delivered to Fannie Mae. o Since Freddie Mac implemented the new Refi program, about 1500 Home Affordable Refinance loans have closed and been delivered to Freddie Mac. … Retrieve Content

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PDF file Refinance-to-Modification (RTM) Quick Start Guide
Refinance-to-Modification (RTM) Quick Start Guide (This includes support of Fannie Mae's Home Affordable Refinance Programs and Freddie Mac's Relief Refi and Open Access Programs) PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. 1 7/20/2009 Table of Contents Introduction … Get Content Here

PDF file U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
This flexibility will make the refinance quicker and less costly for both borrowers and lenders. The Home Affordable Refinance program ends in June 2010. 2. The Home Affordable Modification program will help up to 3 to 4 million at-risk homeowners avoid foreclosure by reducing monthly mortgage payments. … Document Retrieval

PDF file Making Home Affordable Updated Detailed Program Description
Home Affordable Refinance Program for Responsible Homeowners Suffering From Falling Home Prices. 2. A Comprehensive $75 Billion Home Affordable Modification Program A Loan Modification Plan To Reach up to 3 to 4 Million Homeowners . o. Shared Effort with Lenders to Reduce Mortgage Payments … Retrieve Full Source

PDF file Refinance And Modification Program Execution And Risks
•Refinancing mortgage loans through the Home Affordable Refinance Program • File must contain a hardship affidavit –generally lenders consider divorce, medications loss of income, death of spouse, co-borrower … Fetch Full Source

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News Mortgage Lenders Remain Cautious
After taking a beating in the housing downturn, it's no surprise banks and mortgage lenders are very careful about ensuring that borrowers have favorable credit profiles. … Read News

YouTube FHA Loan Basics|FHA Refinance-Purchase|HUD|Hometown Lenders
FHA Loan Basics|FHA Refinance-Purchase|HUD|Hometown Lenders FHA Guidelines and the benefits a FHA mortgage in both refinance and purchase home loan transactions. http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program eligibility using the Making Homes Affordable … View Video

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News Homeowners Jump To Refinance At Low Rates
Mortgage rates stayed near all-time lows this week, as homeowners jumped at the opportunity to refinance after the recent rate spike scare. … Read News

PDF file Home Affordable Refinance: Refi Plus™ Options (manual And …
Home Affordable Refinance: Refi Plus Options In support of the Making Home Affordable Program, Fannie Mae offers two options for Fannie Mae loan, limited cash-out refinance only ? Borrower benefit required: reduced monthly P&I payment or more stable mortgage with the Selling Guide * * Lenders are … Read More

About Foreclosures 1% Higher Than Last Month – Save Smartly, Invest …
This grew out of the HOPE NOW program to offer a streamlined loan modification process. All 1,600 lenders and 29,000 mortgage brokers using Fannie Mae's Desktop Underwriter® platform will quickly process any refinance Mae.com, Fannie Mae Announces "Making Home Affordable" Program … Read Article

PDF file New Programs Helping Today’s Homeowners
Home Affordable Refinance Program What is it? This is a FREE mortgage lenders and servicers already have much of the borrower's information on file which should ease the documentation red tape. In some cases an appraisal will not be necessary. How long does the Home Affordable Refinance Program last? … Visit Document

PDF file Mortgage Refi Plan Targets Hard-hit Borrowers
The Home Affordable Refinance Program, the only program specifically designed for owners whose mortgages are worth more than the value of their housing giants, though state attorneys-general are separately negotiating a settlement with the nation's top lenders that may include an element of mortgage … Fetch Doc

PDF file AS FOR THE HOMEOWNER AFFORDABILITY AND STABILITY PLAN
What are the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and Home Affordable Modification Program payments to affordable levels or move borrowers to more stable mortgage products. 3. How does the Home Affordable Modification Program Most conventional mortgages, including those owned by lenders or in … Read Full Source

Wikipedia Loan Modification In The United States – Wikipedia, The Free …
ARMs for at least five years in cases where borrowers remain current on their loans but cannot refinance or to help up from 7 to 8 million struggling homeowners at risk of foreclosure by working with their lenders to lower monthly mortgage payments. The Program is part of the Making Home Affordable … Read Article

PDF file Nationstar Mortgage Is Now Offering The FNMA DU Refi Plus …
Nationstar Mortgage is now offering the FNMA DU Refi Plus Program! As part of the recently announced U.S. Treasury Making Home Affordable program, Fannie Mae has introduced DU Refi Plus TM , a new program designed to allow lenders the opportunity to offer a streamline refinance for potentially … View This Document

PDF file Is Now A Good Time To Refinance?
In the housing finance industry to develop innovative and affordable mortgage products that meet the unique needs of homeowners. Mortgage lenders are Fannie Mae's customers. Helping lenders make mortgages—to home Being eligible to refinance To be eligible to refinance a mortgage, lenders usually … Fetch Content

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News Does Program Really Help Homeowners?
HEAR ME OUT: This weekend's debate is on whether or not the federal government's Home Affordable Refinance Program really helps homeowners. … Read News

PDF file Home Affordable Conforming Loan Refinance Program Key …
Home Affordable Conforming Loan Refinance Program Key Distinctions between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Revised • Lenders rep/warrant new loan on DU Refi Plus. • Lenders also rep Any Fannie Mae-approved seller may refinance the existing Fannie Mae loan. Eligible Mortgage Products • Conventional 15 … Return Document

PDF file Connecticut Fair Alternative Mortgage Lending Initiative And …
(See listing of lenders on page 5) What if my house is worth less than what I owe on My existing mortgage? If your home is worth less than your current mortgage balance, you we encourage you to read about the following federal programs: Home Affordable Refinance Program Many homeowners pay their mortgage on … Read More

PDF file The Making Home Affordable Program
The Home Affordable Refinance Program enables eligible homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments to refinance to a lower interest rate. These federal programs have complex guidelines that all participating lenders and borrowers must follow … Access This Document

PDF file Step-by-step Process To Apply For A Loan Modification With …
Program (HAMP) and the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). However, since this program is a voluntary program for lenders, banks that you can meet the new mortgage payments. This trial period is usually 3 months. • Lenders are not required to use the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program nor … View Full Source

About Long Island, New York – About Long Island NY – Guide To Long …
Of mortgage payments or letters to them from lenders or mortgage Beware of anyone who says they can save your home if you sign or transfer the deed to your house over to them so you can catch up on your mortgage payments or refinance your NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program and … Read Article

PDF file B ORROWER F REQUENTLY A SKED Q UESTIONS U PDATED M ARCH 18 …
How do I apply for a Home Affordable Refinance? You should call your mortgage servicer or lender and ask about the Home Affordable Refinance application process. The number is on your monthly mortgage bill or coupon book. Please be patient. Lenders and servicers are implementing the program now … Fetch Here

PDF file Save The Dream Mortgage Refinance Programs
Loans to Save Your Home Save the Dream Mortgage Refinance an adjustable rate mortgage or a higher interest fixed rate loan. MSHDA Assist Refinance Program The conventional loan. * Affordable interest rates. * Combined loan amount up to 100% of the current appraised value of the home (95% first mortgage and … Retrieve Here

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PDF file Frequently Asked Questions
Home Affordable Program (MHA) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) refinance total mortgage debt (first and second liens) is no greater than 115 percent of the current value of the home. Q: Am I eligible for a FHA Refinance loan? This is a voluntary refinancing and lenders must … Get Document

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