Wash. Post's Balz reported McCain "again made clear his opposition to broad federal intervention or bailouts," ignored approval of Bear Stearns aid

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

A post on The Washington Post's political blog, The Trail, stated that John McCain "once again made clear his opposition to broad federal intervention or bailouts." But the post, by Dan Balz, did not note that McCain reportedly agreed with the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion loan to facilitate JP Morgan Chase's acquisition of Bear Stearns.

In an April 10 post on The Washington Post's political blog, The Trail, staff writer Dan Balz reported: "On the housing crisis, [Sen. John] McCain once again made clear his opposition to broad federal intervention or bailouts. He said he continues to oppose helping those who engaged in and fed the speculative frenzy in the housing and credit markets." Balz further reported that McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin "called McCain's approach superior to some Democratic measures because it places primary emphasis on the individuals in need, rather than the lenders." However, Balz did not mention that McCain reportedly agreed with the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion loan backed by Bear Stearns assets to facilitate the acquisition of the near-bankrupt investment firm by JP Morgan Chase. The deal reportedly puts taxpayers at risk for $29 billion of the loan if the value of Bear Stearns' assets declines.

From Balz's April 10 post on The Trail:

McCain plans a more comprehensive economic speech for next week, but came here today to blunt criticism from Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that he is insensitive to the plight of ordinary Americans.

"Let me make it clear that that in these challenging times, I am committed to using all the resources of this government and great nation to create opportunity and make sure that every deserving American has a good job and can achieve their American dream," he said.

McCain noted that Americans face multiple economic pressures from the economic downturn, from declining home values and threats of foreclosure to the impact of rising gasoline prices on family budgets to fears that a worsening economic situation will throw more people out of work.

On the housing crisis, McCain once again made clear his opposition to broad federal intervention or bailouts. He said he continues to oppose helping those who engaged in and fed the speculative frenzy in the housing and credit markets

"Tax breaks for builders, funds to purchase homes in foreclosure, and tax credits that are not targeted to where the need is greatest do not constitute the federal help that is warranted," he said.

Instead, McCain proposed a federal program that would require individual homeowners to seek help from the federal government and, if they qualified for assistance, emerge with a restructured mortgage that would allow them to stay in their homes.

"There is nothing more important than keeping alive the American dream to own your home, and priority number one is to keep well meaning, deserving home owners who are facing foreclosure in their homes," he said.

There are some limitations. Those families who can afford the terms of their current, albeit higher, mortgage would not qualify. And the assistance would only cover primary residences and only go to families that can truly afford the new mortgage.

McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin said the housing assistance would reach an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 families, with an estimated cost of $3 billion to $10 billion. He said McCain's goal is to use federal money only for those families "who really need help." He also called McCain's approach superior to some Democratic measures because it places primary emphasis on the individuals in need, rather than the lenders.

McCain also demanded a Justice Department investigation to look into criminal wrongdoing in both the home mortgage industry and in the securitized credit instruments that were created to fuel the speculative bubble in the housing market.

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post
Person
Dan Balz
Show/Publication
The Trail
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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