Free Markets, Free People

Barney Frank – when in trouble, just lie

Greg Mankiw produces a story from 2003 which makes a statement Barney Frank made during a recent debate with Sean Bielat an absolute lie.

During the debate, Bielat, the Republican challenger for Frank’s seat, said this:

“He has long been an advocate for extending homeownership, even to those who couldn’t afford it, regardless of the cost to the American people,’’

Frank’s response?

“Low-income home ownership has been a mistake, and I have been a consistent critic of it,’’ said Frank, 70. Republicans, he said, were principally responsible for failing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants the government seized in September 2008.

“I was always against it and it’s the GOP’s fault”.

Two things implied by this statement.  First Frank is obviously admitting that “low-income ownership” was a mistake.  Secondly, he’s admitting that Fannie and Freddie were integral to the financial problems we’re enduring.

Now, to the record.  First the “it’s the GOP’s fault”:

The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry….

All opposed? Say "aye":

Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

But there’s even more evidence than just that. How about a letter to President Bush in 2004 signed by Frank, Pelosi and 74 other Congressional Democrats?

"We urge you to reconsider your Administration’s criticisms of the housing-related government sponsored enterprises (the GSEs) and instead work with Congress to strengthen the mission and oversight of the GSEs. We write as members of the House of Representatives who continually press the GSEs to do more in affordable housing.

We have been concerned that the Administration’s legislative proposal regarding the GSEs would weaken affordable housing performance by the GSEs, by emphasizing only safety and soundness. While the GSEs’ affordable housing mission is not in any way incompatible with their safety and soundness, an exclusive focus on safety and soundness is likely to come, in practice, at the expense of affordable housing.

We also ask you to support our efforts to push the GSEs to do more affordable housing. Specifically, join us in advocating for more innovative loan products and programs for people who desire to buy manufactured housing, similar products to preserve as affordable and rehabilitate aging affordable housing, and more meaningful GSE affordable housing goals from HUD."

But, you know, Frank has always been a critic of low-income housing and it’s the GOP who prevented reform.

Again, a lie designed to influence and placate the low-information voter who will, unfortunately, accept it at face value. 

Another in a long line of reasons to give Frank the opportunity to apply for unemployment benefits.



20 Responses to Barney Frank – when in trouble, just lie

  • The worst part is that once he is re-elected, he’ll forget that he ever said that low-income home ownership is a mistake.  It’s not that he’s flip-flopping; he’s simply saying whatever he feels will fit the situation best.  I don’t believe that he has any intention of shutting off the flow of taxpayer dollars into Fannie and Freddie.

  • The thing most are missing is that Barney Frank doesn’t think he’s lying, and most of his supporters don’t either. If it furthers his hold on power, he can find plenty of rhetorical room between “promoting affordable housing” and “selling to people who can’t afford houses”, even though they come to exactly the same thing in practice.
    I said what I think about situations like this pretty well two years ago about Harry Reid, so I’ll just repeat it here.

    I keep on saying this, and I know there are some out there that don’t take me seriously when I do: Today’s liberal/left is infused with post-modernist thought, and that makes it literally impossible to have a debate with them.

    They believe that it’s all a matter of opinion and definition, and they reserve the right to redefine terms on the fly so they don’t have to defend the obviously indefensible.

    This is as clear an example as you’ll ever see. If you strapped a lie detector to Harry Reid during this exchange, I’m convinced it would show that he thought he was telling the literal truth. There’s no deception in his mind in redefining “voluntary” to mean whatever he needs it to mean, as long as his ultimate objectives are moral in his mind. His long term objectives are in line with leftist, government-control principles, and he will *literally* say anything to defend those objectives.

    This is why I’ve stopped, for the most part, debating with leftists. I can’t. They demand that I accept their terms of debate, which are contrary to Enlightenment thinking. I can debate with a conservative because most of them (with creationists being notable exceptions) accept the philosophical principles of the Enlightenment. Leftists do not. They believe post-modernism supercedes the Enlightenment, and they refuse to debate on Enlightenment terms, as Harry Reid showed in this interview.

    On a related note, that’s why the ridiculous stuff Obama says will not faze his leftist supporters. They are emotionally convinced that he shares their long-term objectives, so in their minds he has the right to say anything to further those objectives. Oh, they may squeal when Obama throws a bone to the center occasionally, but in the end the accept the same principles about rhetoric that both Communists and fundamentalist Muslims do: that it is acceptable to use deception, confusion, or any other rhetorical trick (up to and including what an Enlightenment thinker would call outright dishonesty) to gain your objectives. And they can do it while simultaneously believing that they are more moral then the people they are lying to.

  • And also, I hope that these fools stop referring to it as “affordable housing.”  If that were true, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  • Barny Franks and friends are all graduates of the Alinsky school of thought.  I agree with Billy. They have been lying for so long that they no longer recognize that they are lying.

    • Folks in his district are working to correct the course of the country by retiring Barney Frank and electing Sean Bielat. If you would like to join the fight please:

  • @Billy – I’m not positive, but that sounds like the definition of a sociopath…

    • I see a pretty big difference. I’m no expert on the psychology of a sociopath, but my understand is that they don’t really feel anything for other people, and they know that’s not socially acceptable, so they usually put up a facade. They don’t mind lying, and have no compunction about doing it to advance their own interests. They know they’re lying – they just don’t care.
      A post-modern leftist, but contrast, doesn’t have that kind of self-awareness. Leftists do feel for people (usually as groups, seldom as individuals), and they think they’re the most moral people on the planet. Their post-modernist thought patterns have just divorced them from enough connection to reality to know what’s truth and what’s not. They lie constantly, but they don’t know they’re lying. They own psychology prohibits them from thinking they ever do anything wrong.

      • I suspect that when no one calls you on your lies…i.e. the media doesn’t play these up, then its easier to rationalize lying. Or when you think you are doing it for a good cause.

    • “Barney and Friends” ignored the warnings… now it’s time to send in a Marine to “take the Hill!”

  • “Again, a lie designed to influence and placate the low-information voter who will, unfortunately, accept it at face value. ”
    More to the point, a lie that will bypass any possible detection mechanism with the majority of voters in MA-4.  They mostly get their information filtered through the Boston Globe/NY Times and, unless they check archives on a regular bases themselves, will never see the juxtaposition you posit here.

    • Bawney’s attempt to bypass detection can be prevented with some ads pointing out the facts.  Time for a good ad to send Barney away to the unemployment line.

  • This topic makes my blood boil.

    • Aw Neo, it’s only because you’re a homo-phobe, or a racist, or something or other that should make you feel guilty and get you to be quiet and respect Bonnie’s “Author-it-tie”.
      Doesn’t matter if you happen to be Ru-Paul if you’re claiming Barney is as crooked as the day is long (if you were, you’d just be an Oreo, or House negro, or whatever term is appropriate to marginalize you as needed).
      I do wonder if this sort of thing makes people realize Barney thinks they’re ALL about as smart as a dining room table.

      • I used to belong to the most oppress group in the US, single white males.   Then I got married.

  • After reading McQ’s post, what jumped out at me was not that Frank is a liar – I mean, hell… he’s a politician… he lies for a living.  No, what jumped out was the date, 9/11/03.
    And I thought to myself, wait… weren’t the GOP in charge of both houses at the time?  Why yes, yes they were.  So it is not merely that congressional dems were trying to block a proposal to reform from the WH…

    The Bush administration is at odds with the Republican-controlled House Financial Services Committee over legislation to impose tougher oversight over the nation’s two largest funders of home loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    “There is the need for a new regulatory system,” said Assistant Treasury Secretary Wayne A. Abernathy. “This is not a credible bill; it’s not real reform.”
    Rep. Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, did not return telephone calls. Rep. Richard H. Baker (R-La.), who heads the Financial Services Committee’s subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the two companies, had no comment.
    The administration objects to two of the bill’s key provisions. One would make the new regulator of the companies an independent unit of Treasury, much like financial regulators housed in the agency that oversee banks and thrifts. Another would give the Department of Housing and Urban Development oversight over the companies’ business activities.
    The independence provision has broad support from committee Democrats and Republicans. The HUD provision was pushed mostly by Democrats but had been accepted by Oxley and Baker as a compromise needed to move the bill forward.

    A rare tip of the hat to the Bush administration for the effort, but only the devil knows what kind of backroom deals are made… what kind of shady compromises these circle-jerkers make.
    But in the end… oh, forget it… I just don’t have the strength to complain anymore.

  • My fear is that if the republicans win, and fix this I will be denied the civil war which I feel is  necessary to bring this country back into line.