Published November 07, 2013
And so it goes. Here's a sample of the choicest statements from President Barack Obama, Health & Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Democrat Congressman Barney Frank, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, bank chief executives, and Federal Reserve chairmen Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan. Find the mea culpas if you can.
President Barack Obama
After millions of people are seeing their health insurance plans cancelled because they don’t meet the health reform law’s standards, New York Magazine compiled a clip of the president saying 23 times variations of “if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your plan,”
“That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”-- June 15, 2009
“And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t happen in the future.”-- April 1, 2010
To now this:
“What we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed”-- November 2013
Also remember this:
“The private sector is doing fine.”-- June, 2012
According to Labor Department figures, there are 90.6 million people who do not have a job who have dropped out of the U.S. labor force. Labor force participation rates are dropping to 1978 lows.
“I will not sign a [health care] plan that adds one dime to our deficits -- either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period.”-- September 2009.
Government and private estimates show health reform could potentially add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade. Already, annual budget deficits exceed $1 trillion for each of the past four years, and the federal deficit is now $16.7 trillion, the size of the U.S. economy.
Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
“There is no data to support an uptick based on the Affordable Care Act [in part time jobs, hours cut, or job cuts]. I am aware some individual employers making decisions about part time and full time jobs. But I’ve seen no economic or unemployment data that this is an effect of the law.” – to Congress, October 31, 2013
“Economists say there is absolutely no evidence that part-time work is going up. In fact, it’s going down. The height was in the recession. It’s going down.” (Secretary Sebelius, The Daily Show, October 7, 2013)
On top of the labor force drop outs, Labor Dept. statistics show there are currently eight million people who currently can’t get full-time work but are working part-time jobs. According to data from the Labor Dept., between Jan. 1 and June 30, the U.S. economy added more than 830,000 part-time jobs but lost 97,000 full-time jobs.
The Federal Reserve’s last several beige books, which deliver updates on business conditions in U.S. cities, cites Fed districts in Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas. Cleveland and Philadelphia reporting back that businesses in their areas say health reform is the reason for job losses or reductions in worker hours.
States, cities and school districts in places like California, Indiana, Kansas, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Utah, Nebraska also cite the health reform law as the reason why local government and school districts are cutting jobs, hours or putting full-time workers at part-time status.
Also medical device companies like Stryker, Covidien, Genesys, Zimmer, and Medtronic have layoffs underway due to the medical device tax in the health reform bill that taxes devices like pacemakers and hip replacements as cigarettes or alcohol. Investor's Business Daily’s running tally of the number of entities cutting work hours or staffing levels now numbers 351 employers. On top of all that, major U.S. labor unions sent a letter to Senators Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi this past summer saying that health reform is ruining the 40-hour work-week, the backbone of the middle class.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
On the problems at the insolvent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the Boston Globe, two companies he had duties to oversee and regulate while in Congress -- which later got a combined $188 billion bailout: “I was late in seeing it, no question.”-- October 14, 2010. (Thanks to Mark Rigby, FOX analyst, for digging this up.)
More from the Boston Globe: “Frank, in his most detailed explanation to date about his actions, said in an interview he missed the warning signs because he was wearing ideological blinders. He said he had worried that Republican lawmakers and the Bush administration were going after Fannie and Freddie for their own ideological reasons and would curtail the lenders’ mission of providing affordable housing.
“But the director of the federal office responsible for overseeing Fannie and Freddie, Armando Falcon, began noticing their expanding portfolios and increasing reliance on risky investments. In early 2003, Falcon warned Congress in a 118-page report of the companies’ potential for a catastrophic failure that could jeopardize the economy.
“Falcon sent his report to Frank and other Financial Services Committee members and asked that Fannie and Freddie be required to disclose more about their finances and be subject to tougher oversight. He followed it up with another report in June 2003.
“The warning signs were compounded by revelations in 2003 and early 2004 that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had misstated earnings by billions of dollars in an effort to meet growth targets.
“But Frank and other Democrats still opposed tighter regulation, Frank most notably in his public statements saying there was nothing wrong with Fannie and Freddie. He and other House Democrats also sent a letter to President George W. Bush in June 2004, saying the proposed crackdown could ‘weaken affordable housing performance . . . by emphasizing only safety and soundness.’’”
“Frank, who became ranking minority member of the Financial Services Committee in January 2003, says now he doesn’t remember Falcon’s reports. ‘I had just taken over as ranking member, all this stuff was very new to me,'" he said.
“First I thought, ‘OK, if we take care of predatory lending, we won’t have to do quite as much on Fannie and Freddie,’ ’’ he said. “But then it became clear we would have to do something about Fannie and Freddie…’’
“It’s the Republican line. They say it happened on my watch, but my watch began in January 2007,’’ Frank said. “The mistake I made was a nonoperational one -- I wasn’t in power. From the day I became chairman, I think we did everything we could.’’
Footnote: Rep. Frank reportedly received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 1989 and 2008.
Back to the Boston Globe: “In July 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson called Frank and told him the government would need to spend “billions of taxpayer dollars to backstop the institutions from catastrophic failure,’’ according to Paulson’s recent book. Frank, despite that conversation, appeared on national television two days later and said the companies were “fundamentally sound, not in danger of going under.’’
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
On the $140 billion in bank bonuses in 2009 after the government gave record bailouts to the banks: “There was such a total lack of awareness from the firms that paid big bonuses during this extraordinary time.”-- August 26, 2013 (click here -- thanks to FOX analyst Rigby.)
More: “To say I was disappointed is an understatement. My view has nothing to do with legality and everything to do with what was right, and everything to do with just a colossal lack of self-awareness as to how they were viewed by the American public.
“I understood that people were angry. They wanted to hear that those that made the mistakes were going to be held responsible. Then on the other side was stability. It’s hard to punish and save the banks at the same time I was much more concerned with stability.”
"It has been clear how poor business judgments we have made have affected Main Street."--Brian Moynihan, Bank of America Corp.'s CEO, January 2010
"There is no doubt that we as an industry made mistakes..The financial crisis also made clear that regulators simply didn't have the visibility, tools, or authority to protect stability of the financial system as a whole."-- John Mack, former chairman, Morgan Stanley, January 2010.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
“I did not anticipate a crisis of this magnitude…In the area where we had responsibility, the bank holding companies, we should have done more. That is a mistake we won’t make again.” -- December 3, 2009, as printed in the New York Times.
More from Bloomberg: “At a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in mid-2005, Fed governors and regional presidents heard staff briefings suggesting that the U.S. mortgage system ‘might bend but would likely not break’ from a large home-price drop, and that the market may rest on ‘solid fundamentals,’ Bernanke said in a Dec. 21, 2010, letter to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.”
“Given these and other analyses, it was hard for many FOMC participants, in the summer of 2005, to ascribe substantial conviction to the proposition that overvaluation in the housing market posed the major systemic risks that we now know it did,” Bernanke said in the letter.”
Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman
In a discussion in October 2013 about the banking collapse on The Daily Show, former Fed chairman Greenspan said: "We really can't forecast all that well and yet -- we pretend that we can but we really can't. Markets do very weird things because it reacts to how people behave and sometimes people are a little screwy."
Stewart said: "You just learned this?"
As chairman of the Federal Reserve for 18 years, Mr. Greenspan worked with Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, and ran the U.S. central bank during the S&L collapse. Prior to that, Mr. Greenspan headed President Gerald Ford's Council of Economic Advisors.
More on banking collapse and bank regulation: To Congress in October 23, 2008, from The Wall Street Journal.
“Lawmakers read back quotations from recent years in which Mr. Greenspan said there's 'no evidence' home prices would collapse and "the worst may well be over."
“You had the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. You were advised to do so by many others,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, chairman of the committee. “Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?”
“Greenspan said he made 'a mistake' in his hands-off regulatory philosophy, adding: ‘Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself especially, are in a state of shocked disbelief.’”
“Mr. Greenspan conceded that he has ‘found a flaw’ in his ideology and said he was 'distressed by that.' Yet Mr. Greenspan maintained that no regulator was smart enough to foresee the ‘once-in-a-century credit tsunami.’"
“If the best experts were not able to foresee the development, ‘I think we have to ask ourselves, 'Why is that?’ Mr. Greenspan said. “And the answer is that we're not smart enough as people. We just cannot see events that far in advance.’”
“He continued, 'There are always a lot of people raising issues, and half the time they're wrong. The question is what do you do?’"