Rep. Frank backs higher subsidies for wealthiest owners - (www.reuters.com) Congress should extend increased loan limits on mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that are set to expire at year end, the powerful chairman of the House Financial Service Committee said on Wednesday. "I hope we do do it before we adjourn" for the congressional recess ahead of the November 2 mid-term elections, Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts Democrat said at a hearing on the future of housing finance. Congress raised the ceiling on the size of the loans in 2008 to help ease the credit crisis. Analysts warn the distressed housing market could take a fresh hit if they are not extended beyond December. The House of Representatives in late July voted to extend them through September 2011 as part of an annual spending bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Senate, however, has not passed its version of the bill and time is running out before lawmakers leave Washington to hit the campaign trail ahead of the November 2 elections.
Republican Candidate Hides Two Small Facts: He Used To Work For Goldman Sachs And Was Charged With Murder – (www.businessinsider.com) Republican candidate Ilario Pantano tries to hide two small details from his biography: that he worked for Goldman Sachs and he was charged with murder. The North Carolina candidate literally clips this info from soundbites used in his ads, according to Star News Online. Pantano’s ad begins with a clip of a national NBC News reporter, Stone Phillips, talking. “Ilario Pantano, described by one superior as having more integrity, dedication and drive than any Marine he’s ever met...” the anchor says before the ad moves on. It clips off the end of the anchor’s statement that says “... now stands charged with murder.” Pantano was charged with killing two Marines in a raid, though charges were dropped. And he clips this bit about Goldman: A second news clip shows another NBC interview with Pantano, in which an anchor again describes his background: “You served in Gulf One, you got out, you got a big great job, a beautiful wife and a kid, then 9/11 happened, you com e home, your hair is shaved off, you’re ready to head back into a war zone to help America,” she says.That clip trimmed out a few words in the middle of the sentence. NBC journalist Ann Curry actually says that Pantano “got a big great job at Goldman Sachs."
Volcker Spares No One in Broad Critique - (online.wsj.com) Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker scrapped a prepared speech he had planned to deliver at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on Thursday, and instead delivered a blistering, off-the-cuff critique leveled at nearly every corner of the financial system. Standing at a lectern with his hands in his pockets, Volcker moved unsparingly from banks to regulators to business schools to the Fed to money-market funds during his luncheon speech. He praised the new financial overhaul law, but said the system remained at risk because it is subject to future “judgments” of individual regulators, who he said would be relentlessly lobbied by banks and politicians to soften the rules. “This is a plea for structural changes in markets and market regulation,” he said at one point.
Eurozone crackdown on public finances - (www.ft.com) Members of the eurozone would be forced to pay punitive fines if they did not keep their public finances under control, according to proposals amounting to the most sweeping changes in the European Union’s economic governance since the introduction of the single currency. The proposed legislation, to be presented on Wednesday by Olli Rehn, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, would levy fines equivalent to 0.2 per cent of the gross domestic product of eurozone members who consistently fail to bring down their public debt levels. Other penalties could also be imposed on member states that fail to control their annual spending or fail to reform their economies to improve their competitiveness, according to people briefed on the proposals and documents seen by the Financial Times.
WSJ Reveals Secret Committee Tasked With Saving The Euro During Depths Of Financial Crisis - (www.businessinsider.com) The heretofore unknown group -- dubbed "The Group That Doesn't Exist" -- comprised of sub-minister level government officials who kept their discussions top-secret, even keeping discussions hidden from their own government leaders, for fears that leaks would shake Eurozone confidence. WSJ: The task force met in the shadows of the EU's many councils and summits in Brussels, Luxembourg and other capitals, often gathering at 6 a.m. or huddling over sandwiches late at night. Participants kept colleagues in their own governments in the dark, for fear leaks would trigger rampant speculation in financial markets. Potential crisis candidates were obvious: Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, a group of deeply indebted states derisively tagged with the acronym "PIGS" by bond traders. A gap quickly opened up between Germany, attached to euro-zone rules it viewed as banning bailouts for profligate countries, and France, which wanted greater freedom for national governments to support each other as they saw fit.