OH, AND I'M SURE ALL THE TEABAGGERS WILL BE JUST FURIOUS THAT THE BANKS GOT OFF EASY!
I'm not loving the Obama administration's settlement with the banks, though it may be the best we can get, and it does include a significant concession to some of the real heroes of this story, the state attorneys general (especially New York's Eric Schneiderman) who don't want to let the banks off the hook:
...the agreement is the broadest effort yet to help borrowers owing more than their houses are worth, with roughly one million expected to have their mortgage debt reduced by lenders or able to refinance their homes at lower rates. Another 750,000 people who lost their homes to foreclosure from September 2008 to the end of 2011 will receive checks for about $2,000....
"I just don't think it's going to be a life-changing event for borrowers," said Gus Altuzarra, whose company, the Vertical Capital Markets Group, buys loans from banks at a discount....
Mr. Schneiderman was able to win significant concessions from the banks in recent days.
... prosecutors and regulators still have the right to investigate other elements that contributed to the housing bubble, like the assembly of risky mortgages into securities that were sold to investors and later soured, as well as insurance and tax fraud.
Officials will also be able to pursue any allegations of criminal wrongdoing. In addition, a lawsuit Mr. Schneiderman filed Friday against MERS, an electronic mortgage registry responsible for much of the robo-signing that has marred the foreclosure process nationwide, and three banks, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, will also go forward.
... California's attorney general, Kamala Harris, also pushed for her state to be able to use the state's False Claims Act. That would enable state officials and huge pension funds like Calpers to collect sizable monetary damages from the banks if officials could prove mortgages were improperly packaged into securities that later dropped in value.
So the Obama administration may have outsourced the war on financial terrorism to the state AGs, but it looks as if they're not going to have to fight with both hands tied behind their backs. That's something, I guess.
So, um ... this is going to denounced as a sellout to the evil bankers by all the tea party people, isn't it? And by some in the GOP field, right?
I'm joking, of course -- but a significant percentage of the punditocracy still believes that the teabaggers hate Big Money as much as they hate Big Government; I bet if you were a guest on Morning Joe and said to the panel, "I imagine some members of the tea party will criticize this as a sellout to Wall Street," you'd get nods of agreement.
I guess, theoretically, Newt Gingrich could attack Obama from the left on this -- but who am I kidding? He won't. He attacked Romney from the left because he fell into a fugue state of anti-Romney hate, and because accusing people of corruption is one of his favorite sports (ask Jim Wright). It failed spectacularly for him -- ever since he went in that direction, he's lost his status as the #1 anti-Romney, and he doesn't seem to be getting it back. So, no, he's not going to go after Obama that way. No one on the right is. And yet, if you believed many of the pundits to this day, the settlement would infuriate tea-oriented righties.