Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Bitter Bargain

Yesterday President Obama gave his much anticipated speech on the economy.  Since I am on the White House's email list (a hold over from my days as chair of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce when I was on the email list of every politician who might need a vote from El Paso) shortly after the speech I received an official White House email, with President Obama's name in the address line, explaining the high points of his new focus on jobs and the economy, which he calls, "A Better Bargain."

"The basic bargain of this country says that if you work hard, you can get ahead--you can build a secure life for your family, and know that your kids will do even better someday. But for more than a decade, that bargain has frayed, and a devastating recession made it worse....In the weeks ahead, in towns across the country, I'll be talking about my ideas for building on the cornerstones of middle-class security: Good jobs with good wages. An education that prepares our children and our workers for a new economy. A home to call your own. Affordable health care when you get sick. A secure retirement even if you're not rich. A better bargain for the middle class and for all who are striving to join it."

As I read the email, I had to wonder whether Obama actually remembers that he has been president four and a half years out of the last decade.  I also have to ask whether he and his cronies in DC are even remotely aware of how hollow his words sound when Americans who are paying any attention at all know that his policies have cost us jobs and incomes.

As a small business owner of fifteen years who had to close my mortgage company April 1st of this year because it was crushed under the weight of regulations imposed by the Dodd Frank bill, I know firsthand that Obama is not only not helping the middle class, he is annihilating it.  So today I want to point out some inconvenient truths about how the Obama Administration is handling the economy in each of the areas he stressed yesterday:


Remember when the Obama White House was supposedly focused like a laser beam on jobs?  Or was that a DeathStar?  The June 2013 jobs report revealed that America is sinking further and further into unemployment and under employment under the weight of massive regulations which make it difficult and expensive to keep the doors open and which disincentivize companies from hiring.

The facts of the current job market are these:

Although the Labor Department recorded 195,000 net new hires in June, it also recorded 247,000 "discouraged workers" who have stopped looking for work.  The U.S. labor participation rate is now 63.5% and more than 20 million Americans are either unemployed but have quit looking for work or are working part-time and can't find full time work.  The rate of under employed and unemployed--no longer looking--jumped to 14.3% of Americans in June.  Over eight million of those were part-time workers who cannot find full time work.  Only 47% of adult Americans are working full time right now.  More than any other single statistic, the 47% figure really speaks to the true state of the economy.  Part-time workers are not eligible for the benefits that Obama touts.  And of course, since Obamacare labels employees full time at a 30 hour week, more and more Americans are seeing their hours cut so that their employers don't have to pay insurance for them.  This is true not only of private employers, but also of quasi-government entities, like state universities and community colleges who are cutting the class times they allow their part-time contract instructors to teach to make sure that nobody exceeds the 30 hour threshold. 

Even though the Obama White House has delayed the employer mandate for a year, employers have already begun to redefine "full" and "part" time.  Successful companies plan their hiring and expansion strategies well ahead of time, so a one year delay in the implementation of Obamacare may cause certain employers to postpone layoffs but it is unlikely to cause any employer to go on a hiring spree.  So unemployment and under employment will remain high in a crisis that the president created by forcing liberal policies that don't work on America's employers.


And speaking of Obamacare, Obama seems to be blissfully unaware of the fact that Americans now know that the law that bears the president's name does not actually cut costs by $2500 a year as he had promised but is instead causing insurance premiums to skyrocket.  In some states, premiums are increasing by 80%.  Young people who had affordable catastrophic care coverage will no longer be able to maintain such coverage because it does not align with the requirements of Obamacare.  And every individual, including those 8 million part-time Americans who cannot find full time work or are seeing their hours cut, will be required to start paying a fine if they can't afford to purchase health insurance in 2014.  Small wonder that critics have now renamed Obamacare the Unaffordable Care Act.


The White House email references that all Americans should have "a home to call their own," but the Dodd Frank legislation that he championed will regulate almost 60% of Americans who qualified to purchase a home in 2010 out of the housing market.  The qualified mortgages and qualified residential mortgages will transform our nation from a nation of home owners to a nation of permanent renters--many of whom will never be able to purchase a home.  And the Obama Administration's love of Smart Growth, Smart Code and Sustainability ultimately endangers the future of all homeownership in the U.S. as the Administration promotes New Urbanism and policies designed to force Americans out of their suburban homes and into tiny apartments above retail shops.


While we are on the subject of Dodd-Frank, I would be remiss in not addressing the fact that the same legislation that will put the American dream out of reach for millions of Americans has also destroyed myriad small businesses and will destroy myriad more.  The real estate and housing industries have been solid economic drivers for many decades.  The housing crash of 2007 and 2008 did a lot of damage, but the Dodd Frank bill ensures that these industries will never recover.  Ironically, the bill creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an elite army of some of the highest paid civil servants in U.S. history, who work for a director who is answerable to no one but the President himself.  This behemoth is now bringing federal civil lawsuits against private businesses who compensate their employees in ways that the CFPB doesn't like.  Where does that fit into the "good jobs with good wages" model that the president rolled out yesterday?

Of course, the CFPB is not the only enemy of business.  We must not forget Obama's EPA and his war on coal which will destroy the jobs and businesses of many Americans across the nation in the name of improving our country.


The educational system in America is a mess--no doubt about it.  And the failure of the educational system is one reason that the rest of our country is failing as well.  Forty-six percent of adults in Detroit are functionally illiterate, according to an article published last week in the National Review.  And we can see the results of this ignorance in poor choices at the ballot box that have led to Detroit's financial ruin.  But Obama's answer to this catastrophe is more big government--Common Core Standards that emphasize textbooks with social justice messages and revisionist history.  The solution to education in America is to get the Department of Education out of the way and to have each local community hold its own school boards accountable.  And yes, parents are going to have to get involved in their own children's educations.  The government does not force any person to have a child, and people who do have children are not "victims" that the rest of us need to feel sorry for.  Parenting is a responsibility and a privilege, and people who sign up for it need to take ownership of their children's futures.  We don't need a massive bureaucracy to get education straightened out.  We need to scale back the big government and give parents the tools they need to make the right choices for their own families and their own kids. And we need to hold schools accountable for their results.  If we don't we are going to continue pumping money into a system that graduates high schoolers who can't read but are completely fluent in the key points of socialism.  Then again, that type of "education" does fit perfectly into a new economy where everyone is dependent on the government and less than half of the population are able to find a full time job.


With $17 trillion dollars in national debt staring back at us, looming shortfalls in Social Security, and $700 billion in cuts to Medicare to fund Obamacare, the very thought of retirement seems ridiculous.  The President could assure Americans a prosperous retirement by letting them work full time during their most productive years and allowing some privatization of Social Security tax funds, but that would not mesh well with his "cradle to grave" big government mindset.  In The Planner, I envision an America in which the government asks seniors to sign all of their assets over to the federal government in exchange for life long care in a Smart community.  In real life, in the world of Obama speak, "a secure retirement" might mean just about anything, but we can be sure that it does not mean anything good.

Consider this:   When Obama vents about the distinctions between the wealthy one percent and the middle class, he ignores the very blatant fact that each policy he has championed has benefited the wealthy at everyone else's expense.  The very Wall Street crowd that he pretends to despise have made untold millions off of Bernanke quantitative easing policies that forced stocks high by keeping interest rates and Tbond rates artificially low.  But these same policies tend to hurt seniors and retirees who are more likely to have their homes paid for and are living on the interest on their investments.  Further, while the Wall Street crowd is seeing record highs, fewer and fewer Americans can invest in the stock market, which means that Wall Street's record breaking profits are being enjoyed by a shrinking class of people.  The Christian Science Monitor highlighted this disparity in a May 8, 2013 article pointing out that while U.S. stocks have doubled since the lows of 2009, only about 52% of Americans now own stock--either outright or as part of a mutual fund or self-directed retirement account.  This is the lowest level of stock ownership since Gallup has been tracking these statistics since 1998.  By contrast, in 2007, 65% of Americans owned stock.  That ownership represented many Americans who were "not rich" but who had been able to invest in something for their futures.  And the greatest decline in stock ownership is in the 30-64 age bracket--those Americans who are "not rich" but are looking forward to making an investment in their own secure retirement rather than depending on the government to decide what they can and cannot have.

When Obama makes speeches like the one he made yesterday, he is insulting the intelligence of every one of us who is actually watching what is happening.  If he truly had any concern for the middle class he would reverse his job killing, business killing, prosperity killing policies and allow the engines of economic growth to begin to work again.  But that's not about to happen. The American people voted for four more years of Obamanomics, and we are on the receiving end of a very bitter bargain indeed.

Cities across America are going bankrupt from liberal, progressive policies.  Find out why and what you can do about it in this informative presentation.  Agenda 21: Bankrupting America into Utopia, One City at a Time.


Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at


Friday, July 19, 2013

Spread the Poverty: Increase Minimum Wage

In February during President Obama's State of the Union address he advocated raising minimum wage to $9.00 an hour.  In March, during a Senate hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked why minimum wage is not $22.00 an hour--adding that it would be if it kept pace with inflation.

Ever increasing minimum wage is a long-standing sacred cow of liberalism.  Under the guise of "helping the little guy" they consistently promote requiring higher and higher salaries for entry level unskilled jobs.  I wrote about some of the perils of this mindset in March in my post: Minimum Wage and Maximum Earnings: Opposite Sides of the Same Coin.  I found Warren's position particularly interesting because though she touts excessively high minimum wage for unskilled workers, she also advocated for setting price caps for trained professionals during her tenure with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Hopefully, we will not see an increased federal minimum wage any time in the near future, but the Progressive Hell we fondly call Washington D.C. is experimenting with its own increase to minimum wage.  The "Large Retailer Accountability" bill passed city council and now just needs the D.C. mayor's signature.

Called the anti-Wal-Mart bill, the law mandates a "living wage" of $12.50 an hour to be paid by businesses with more than $1 billion in annual revenue and more than 75,000 square feet of space.  D.C.'s current minimum wage is $8.25 an hour--the living wage is a 50% premium over the current minimum.  The law is supposed to apply immediately only to future Wal-Marts, but existing stores would have to comply within four years.

D.C. is a very expensive town where the elites live like royalty and the number of homeless people on the streets is always alarming to me.  But even in the upside-down, backwards world of socialist progressives, this law makes no sense. estimates that if the mayor of D.C. refuses to veto this ordinance, the new law will cost D.C. as many as 4000 jobs--3000 full time and 1000 in the construction sector.  That is four thousand local residents who would have been earning at least $8.25 an hour and would have been working for corporations where they at least have an opportunity for training, promotion and advancement, who will be denied that opportunity because the great minds on city council believe that entry level pay should be $12.50 rather than $8.25 an hour.  (And this is a false comparison anyway, because the choice is not between $12.50 and $8.25 an hour--it is between $8.25 an hour and unemployment.  Wal-Mart has already announced that if the law is passed they will scrap plans to open  additional stores in D.C.)

When I wrote on the minimum wage issue in March, I made the point that wages have to be graduated to give people incentive to work, to improve their situations, to take advantage of training and to get the skills they need to be able to improve their lives.  If an entry level person can start at $22.00 an hour, they have no incentive to do anything to try to move up.  A free market system works only if there are rewards for hard work and initiative--take those away and no one has any incentive to do anything.
But in the case of the D.C. city council, they are killing a major opportunity for people to get hired and start improving their lives.  Unfortunately, this mindset is inherent to progressive socialism, which despises and punishes effort, hard work and initiative and encourages everyone to sit idly by, dependent on government for everything.  While liberals nationwide are cheering the D.C. city council and hoping that other cities will adopt their model for running off Wal-Mart the rest of us should be shaking our heads in disgust at a mindset that prefers unemployment to gainful work.

Find out what Agenda 21 is, how it is being implemented, and what you can do about it:  Agenda 21: Bankrupting America into Utopia--One City at a Time.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Obamacare, Rationing, and the Immutable Law of the Universal

Remember when Nancy Pelosi promised us that we would love Obamacare, but we would have to pass it to find out what was in it?  Well now, we are just a few months away from the full implementation of this massive monstrosity, and it seems that most Americans are not feeling the love.  With the potential impact of the bill's job killing incentives about to hit Americans full force, the Obama Administration has unilaterally decided that the employer mandate can be postponed for a full year, until after the 2014 elections.  Unfortunately, we as individuals will still have to obtain our own health insurance or pay a penalty.  Employers are cutting workers back to part-time to avoid the costs and penalties associated with Obamacare.  Even the unions are now getting involved--last week the heads of three major unions sent an open letter to President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat members of Congress warning that Obamacare as it is being implemented threatens the middle class and "will destroy the health and well being" of every American unless changes are made.  The letter reminds the president that the unions threw their full support behind him and he promised them, in turn, that they would be able to keep their present plans if they liked them, but now they are discovering that this is not really the case.  Of course, the unions' solution to this chaos is to demand that government subsidies, which the Obama Administration set up to help lower income people buy health insurance, be used to pay for the union plans. When retiring Democratic Senator Max Baucus called Obamcare a "train wreck" he about summed up the situation perfectly--he just failed to mention that the entire nation is on the train about to go over the cliff.

I have read a lot of perspectives on how Congress should handle the president's decision to set aside the employer mandate for one year.  Red State's Erick Erickson argues that the American people voted for President Obama twice, and they need to feel the full effects of his vision for our country, so Congress should insist that all parts be implemented.  I respect Erickson's point of view on this, but as an American who had an excellent health insurance policy a few years ago that I had to let lapse as the economy grew worse, I also understand that in real terms a lot of Americans are hurting badly.  Having more and more jobs cut, and higher and higher taxes imposed on us may be an appropriate "lesson" and motivation for our nation to begin to make better choices, but in human terms it just extends the misery that has already spread through our nation.  I really am on the "delay/defund/repeal" side of the argument--delay implementation, defund the law, and repeal it in its entirety.  No tweaks; no edits, no fixes--just straight out repeal.

I do want to point out, however, that there is much that we as a nation can learn from our experience with Obamacare which could be instructive for our collective futures.  The last week of June, I attended the Las Cruces, NM Tea Party meeting.  The local Tea Party had invited a state rep from Las Cruces who is also a physician and a cardiologist from Las Cruces to talk about the impact of the law on the administration of health care.  The cardiologist said plainly that one of the immediate effects of the implementation of Obamacare will be that sick people will not be able to get care because the law incentivizes doctors for having "well patients" and punishes them for having sick patients.  No doctor wants to be penalized, so they are going to tend to refuse to treat the sick.  After many years as a cardiologist, he is making so little money that his physician's assistant is earning more than he is.  Much of his time is spent completing onerous amounts of paperwork for which he receives no compensation; he receives very little compensation for the patients he does treat. He is about to reach a place where he has to bring in his own funds to keep his practice open, and at that point it will no longer be cost effective for him to continue practicing medicine.

I really empathized with this doctor, because the problems he was describing with running his practice were nearly identical to the problems that invaded mortgage finance after the Dodd Frank bill was passed.  This man has spent several decades of his life treating sick patients, but now he is being regulated into retirement by a bureaucracy created by people who know nothing about medicine and have set arbitrary rules into place that govern how patients can be treated.

I have always been completely opposed to the Affordable Care Act, but as I sat in this meeting listening to these two doctors, I had a new appreciation for what the law really is and what it really does.  Remember that the Affordable Care Act was supposed to provide insurance for the 30-40 million uninsured Americans.  However, a couple of months ago we learned from the Congressional Budget Office that because of holes in the law it will still leave about 30 million Americans uninsured.  The law does not provide equal health care to all--no such law is even possible.  What it does do is create a system where wealthier Americans who have cash to pay for their healthcare can afford to visit doctors in cash only practices, while Americans who rely in insurance, Medicare or Medicaid will have to accept whatever treatment the government or their insurance companies will authorize on their behalf.

When Obamacare was being debated, many conservatives and opponents of the law levied the charge that the Affordable Care Act would cause rationing.  That is not quite correct.  A more correct statement would be that the Affordable Care Act IS rationing.  Anything "universal" is rationed--once a commodity or a service or a way of life is designated as a "universal right" it is only a few short steps away from becoming the exclusive property of an elite few.  The idea that every American should own a home led to the housing crash, which in turn led to Dodd Frank which will turn 60% of Americans into permanent renters with no chance of home ownership.  Likewise, the "universal" right to healthcare will mean that only a few elite Americans will have access to medical care.  (And don't say--"well that's the way it was anyway."  I have had some personal experience with the U.S. healthcare system via uninsured family members who needed extensive medical care, and they received excellent treatment in the pre-Obama system without insurance.) 

Much has been made of the fact that Obamacare levies heavy taxes on the "Cadillac plans"--the types of health insurance policies that union members, for instance, have access to through their unions.  One supporter of Obamacare commenting on Fox News referred to these plans as being "over insured" and stated plainly that no one needs a policy that good.  I am not a fan of anything union, but the fact is that in America every citizen should be able to have the fanciest plan he can afford, if he chooses to spend his money on that.  If I want an insurance plan that pays to paint my toenails and I can afford to pay the premiums, then to do so should be my personal right and none of anyone else's business.  Likewise, millions of twenty-somethings who feel invincible and therefore carry only a catastrophic insurance plan should have the right to do that.  If a twenty-six year-old in otherwise good health needs to access the insurance at all, it probably is because of a catastrophic event.  No government board should be able to tell someone what kind of insurance they have to purchase, or whether they have to purchase any kind of insurance.

Whenever we tie the moniker "universal" to any item, we can be assured that, to paraphrase the villain in The Incredibles, if everyone is entitled to a particular thing, then in fact no one is.  This is the immutable law of the "universal".

It is my sincere hope that Americans will look up and realize that they have been sold a huge pack of lies and completely reject Obamacare, and the socialist single-payer system which is following right behind it.  But I also hope that we will learn as a nation to reject any "universal" right--whether it be a "universal" right to nutritious food, or housing, or preschool, or safety, or anything else. I hope that we will understand that it is not possible for any government to guarantee our happiness or our fulfillment in life or our access to everything we would like to have.  May we always remember our experiences the last three years and bear in mind that when "everyone" has something, that's really another way of saying that no one does.

Learn about Agenda 21, the United Nations' policy document for sustainability, how it is implemented and what you can do about it.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at


Friday, July 12, 2013

The War on Real Estate Providers is now a Massacre

Enjoy the next six months--whatever they bring.  In January of 2014 our nation is about to be buried under a tsunami of regulations that will limit our freedom and quality of life in ways that we have never before experienced.

No, this post is not about Obamacare.  The regulation I am talking about is the qualified residential mortgage piece of the Dodd Frank bill, which will also go into effect in January of 2014 and which will impact nearly everyone in this country.

Not sure "everyone" includes you?  Ask yourself these three questions:

1. Do I currently own a home?
2. Do I want to sell my home, now or in the future?  (As in, do I ever want to sell my home?)
3. Do I want to buy a home, now or in the future? (This could be a first home, or an upgrade, or a smaller home when I am ready to retire and the kids are gone?)

The qualified mortgage piece of the Dodd Frank bill will affect your ability to do any of these things.  How? The qualified mortgage rule contains a couple of very important components.  One of these sets the debt to income ratio at 43% for home borrowers.  Another caps the total fees and points, including the fees that a mortgage broker or loan officer can earn, at three percent of the loan amount, even if those fees are paid by a third party, such as a lender to whom the broker is selling the loan.

A few weeks ago we observed "small business week" across America.  As I watched ads for small business week I could only shake my head in amazement that a country that pretends to honor small businesses is forcing them to close at an astounding pace.  This 3% rule is the final nail in the coffin for small and independent loan originators.  (After fifteen years as a loan originator, I closed my own business April 1st of this year because this regulation had been finalized.  By including all mortgage fees, to include escrows for taxes and insurance and in some cases, title insurance, in a 3% cap, there is simply no way that a loan originator can earn enough money to keep the doors open.)  Of course, as with all of the rules in Dodd Frank the 3% rule cap on fees specifically excludes the fees (service release premiums) that banks receive when they sell closed mortgage loans.  So the Dodd Frank bill completes a process that has been going on for several years now--it closes down all of the independent mortgage originators and makes banking entities that can afford to salary their loan originators the only providers of mortgage credit.

What does this mean to you?  First of all, it means that starting in January of 2014, you will have a very difficult time finding anybody to originate a home loan for you--even more difficulty than you may be currently experiencing.  Second of all, if you do find somebody to originate the loan for you, you probably won't qualify for it.

Dodd Frank, like Obamacare, was a huge framework on which to hang more regulations, so the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was able to write up these new regulations however they wanted. The original bill required a 3% cap on the points and fees of a loan in order for a mortgage to be "qualified".  The bill also required an "ability to repay" test.  The bill allows for a "presumption of compliance" if certain requirements are met.  In other words, if lenders meet the 3% cap for points and fees and comply with some of the other guidelines, in case of an investigation by the CFPB or a consumer complaint, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty as long as they have adhered to all of the rules written by the CFPB in drafting the new regulations.

The geniuses at the CFPB decided that 43% would be a good debt to income ratio for a qualified mortgage.  That means that your house payment (including your taxes and insurance), your car payment, your credit card bills, and your court ordered child support payments cannot exceed 43% of your total income.   If you make $10,000 a month, every month, your total credit card, auto, and housing expenses, plus any court ordered child support cannot exceed $4300.00 a month.

Due to outcry from industry members, HB 1077 was introduced in March of 2013.  The bill, which has never made it out of committee, has 43 co-sponsors, and would modify the 3% rule to exclude escrows for taxes and insurance, loan level price adjustments by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or FHA--this is critical because loan level price adjustments set by these agencies can be substantial--and any compensation paid by a mortgage originator or creditor to any individual employed by the mortgage originator or creditor.  Presumably this could allow an independent contractor under contract to a lender to be paid by the lender, as has been the custom for many years.  At this point, it is looking as though HB 1077 will die in committee without ever seeing the light of the House floor, but even if it did pass, it likely would not pass the vehemently anti business, anti-property ownership elements in the Senate.

In response to this bill and the considerable complaints about the qualified mortgages, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announced some modifications to its own regulations.  The new modifications allow the compensation to an originator to exceed the 3% cap IF those funds are paid out of pocket by the borrower.  This is very important, because the housing model to which Americans have become accustomed over the past several decades is one in which they finance most of the originator's fee through a slightly higher interest rate.  In a climate where the interest rates are historically low, if given the option of paying $3000.00 in fees or an extra .25% in interest over 20 years, for a final rate of 3.5%, most borrowers would rather save the cash and pay a little more each month in interest.  Starting next year, that won't be an option.  If your loan costs and fees exceed the 3% cap, you will have to write the originator a check.

The second modification makes even less sense.  The CFPB has decided that 43% is an appropriate debt to income ratio for a borrower UNLESS you are low income and you are obtaining your mortgage financing through a non-profit organization.  In that case, your total debt to income ratio can go up to 47%.

Let's look at how this works in real life.  Example A:  You work as a salaried accountant for a firm where you have been employed for 10 years and you earn $5000.00 a month.  You have a car payment of $550.00 a month, one credit card with a $300.00 a month payment on it and you are purchasing a $150,000 house.  The escrowed payment on the house to include taxes and insurance will be $1500.00 per month.  You have an 820 credit score.  Using the new math of big government, you won't qualify.  Your total monthly expenses are $2350.00 a month, which would make your debt to income ratio 47%.  The fact that you have an 820 credit score, have been on your job 10 years with no gaps, and that you are currently selling a house for which you actually pay MORE than your new payment are immaterial details.  You don't meet the guidelines.

However, in Example B, you only make $2500.00 a month, so by the U.S. Census Bureau definitions you are under the median income for your geographic area.  You have 5 credit cards, which total $200.00 a month in payments.  You are paying $250.00 a month for your car.  You are purchasing an $80,000 house with an escrowed payment of $725.00 a month and, wait for it, your loan is coming being originated by an Acornesque non profit.  Congratulations, you qualify, even though you have only a 650 credit score and you have been on your current job as a retail store manager for only two years.  Your debt to income ratio is  also 47%, but you met the guidelines.

Does any of this make sense?  Logically, the accountant with 10 years on the job and the 820 score is a better risk, but he doesn't get the loan, whereas the lower income indvidual does even though his debt ratio represents substantially less disposable income than Example A.  Welcome to the world of federal underwriting standards.

My example includes only salaried persons.  The ability to repay standards that were already being implemented when I left housing finance in April of this year were choking self-employed borrowers out of the housing market.  Are you making money this year?  Do you have an exclusive patent on tiddly winks which is generating unprecedented revenue, and you want to buy a house while the prices are down?  Unless you had an equally good year in the previous two, you are not going to be able to qualify.  Do you earn salary plus commission?  If your commissions decreased over the previous two year period, you probably cannot use them to qualify even if this year your earnings exceed levels prior to the recession. 

When the FDIC's Sheila Blair was first working on the qualified residential mortgage standards she told us that the qualified mortgage and qualified residential mortgages were written with extremely narrow guidelines because they were meant to be "a very small slice of the pie".  Now that we know that the QMs and QRMs are the only mortgages that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are planning to purchase, they are not such a small piece of the pie--they are the entire pie.  And it is a pie that very few people will even get to taste.  In February of this year, Corelogic Credco--an industry source for financial and credit reporting information--released a study on the qualified mortgages.  Their study found that only about 50% of the borrowers who qualified for residential mortgages in 2010 would still qualify under the new QM guidelines. 

Still lurking out in the regulatory mist is another set of regulations yet to be released--the qualified residential mortgages.  If these new rules introduce a 10% down payment requirement, as they are widely expected to do, only about 40% of borrowers will qualify for a home mortgage.  So our country is about to experience yet another seismic shift--the land where traditionally 60% of the population are homeowners will morph into a country of 60% renters.  Bear in mind that interest rates are still historically low.  When rates rise, as they are already starting to do, mortgage payments will increase making it even harder to meet the 43% guideline.

Our industry has read these guidelines with sorrow and lamented about "the law of unintended consequences."  If I were allowed to ban one phrase from English usage, "the law of unintended consequences" would be the one. These new restrictions on housing lending are not unintended at all. They are fully intended and they have been carefully crafted and orchestrated to transform us from a society of homeowners to a society of renters.  And that transformation is going basically unnoticed and almost completely unopposed.

Regular readers of this post know that I have been doing a series of posts on global environmentalism and the UN.  Our global president, who apparently still has the applause of Europe even while his approval rating plummets at home, is completely committed to the goals of climate change and the UN's policy document for restructuring the world--Agenda 21.  Global environmentalism calls for ridding the world of private property and packing humans into dense "human settlements".  That demand has led to "New Urbanism" and "Smart Growth" and "Sustainable Development" all over this country.  But the problem with trying to implement global restructuring is that for it to really succeed, the people need some buy in.  Americans like to own homes.  Home ownership has been the American Dream for centuries.  The only way to eradicate that dream is to legislatively barr most people from home ownership.  Suddenly a tiny apartment in the city becomes the only option for housing space when you have been regulated out of the suburbs by a combination of mortgage rules you can't meet, high fuel prices, and soaring gas prices.  At least, you can embrace your new, dense, crowded surroundings with the knowledge that the laws that sentenced you there were passed for your own protection. 

The American people deserve a lot better than this, and we should be demanding better.  Yes, we have a lot of issues to deal with right now: looming Obamacare premiums, myriad government scandals, high unemployment, etc. etc. etc.  But just because there are a lot of other problems does not mean we get to ignore this one.

Like Obamacare, Dodd Frank can only be repealed with a Congress and Senate willing to vote for passage of a new bill and a president willing to sign it.  But Congress could defund the CFPB and set aside the regulations written under the authority of an illegally appointed director, Richard Cordray, who was assigned his post as a recess appointment while the Senate was not actually in recess.  Congress should be using whatever tools they have at their disposal to prevent these rules from being implemented and to at least maintain the status quo in housing finance, because while the status quo is not good, it is immeasurably better than what we are about to face.
Find out more about Agenda 21 and what it REALLY means:  to your city, this country and our world, by watching this presentation.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's a Good Day to Die--UN World Population Day 2013

In 1989, the governing council of the United Nations Development Programme voted that every July 11th should be celebrated as "World Population Day".  The purpose of commemorating one day to focus on population was to "focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues in the context of overall development plans and programmes and the need to find solutions for these issues."

The focus of this year's event is adolescent pregnancy.  According to the U.N.'s website, about 16 million girls under the age of 18 give birth each year and another 3.2 million undergo "unsafe" abortions. Ninety percent of these girls are married, but for many of them pregnancy is not an "informed choice".  Rather these pregnancies result from "discrimination, rights violations (including child marriage) inadequate education or sexual coercion."  Therefore, the goal this year is to "raise awareness of the issue of adolescent pregnancy in the hopes of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled."  These sentiments are echoed in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's statement today, "When we devote attention and resources to the education, health and well being of adolescent girls, they will become an even greater force for positive change in society that will have an impact for generations to come.  On this World Population Day, let us pledge to support adolescent girls to realize their full potential and contribute to our shared future."

I think all of us would probably agree that reducing teenage pregnancy is a good goal--although those of us who are pro-life would differ dramatically in our approach to achieving this goal.  But the simple truth of the matter is the innocuous goal of  helping young girls meet their full potential has no more to do with World Population Day than clean air and water have to do with Agenda 21.  World Population Day is just a celebration for another global program--this one promoting eugenics. 

The U.N. tends to be very careful about its statements on population control, population reduction and abortion--in part because many of the member states, including Vatican City, have taken a firm stance on protecting human life.  But other global organizations, think tanks affiliated with the UN and non governmental organizations connected to the UN are a lot more open and honest about what they really think.

For instance, Princeton professor and bioethicist Peter Singer, speaking at the Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur held at the end of May 2013 and attended by Melinda Gates and representatives of the Ford Foundation, stated plainly that family planning efforts may not be sufficient to curb population growth and that "we ought to consider what other things we can order to try to stave off some of the worst consequences of environmental catastrophes."

"It's possible, of course," Singer continues, "that we give women reproductive choices, that we meet the unmet need for contraception but that we find that the number of women that choose to have is still such that the population continues to rise in a way that causes environmental problems," noting as he continues that some women choose to have larger families because of ideological or religious views.  To achieve the population control that Singer perceives we need in order to save the planet, he says that it is "appropriate to consider whether women's reproductive rights are 'fundamental' and unalterable or whether--in bioethicist speak, they are 'prima facie'--good and important to respect but there can be imaginable circumstances in which you may be justified in overriding them."  In plain English--we don't care that the baby you are carrying is a completely "wanted" child--the state says you can't give birth to it for the greater good.

Unfortunately, Singer is not alone in his views.  Maurice Strong, chairman of the 1992 Earth Summit which led to the infamous global environmental policy document Agenda 21, gave an interview to BBC in the 1970's where he stated that he envisioned a future where people would be forced to receive licenses from the government in order to be able to reproduce.

More recently, media magnate Ted Turner has stated openly that the world cannot support more than 1 or 2 billion people at the most and that every couple must commit to have no more than 2 children for the next 100 years.  (Of course, if every couple produced 2 children for the next 100 years we would have zero population growth over the next 100 years and we would still be at a population of approximately 7 billion people, so this would not produce the vast reduction in the world's numbers that Turner says we need.)

Turner's comments are so outrageous that a reasonable person needs verification that we are not being punked.  Fortunately he is on video in a 2008 interview with Charlie Rose explaining the dire consequences of NOT reducing the world's population (cannibalism and mass starvation),  and I have inserted the video here for your viewing pleasure. 

Turner asserts that we should look to China's "voluntary" one child policy which is credited with keeping the Chinese population at 1.2 billion people.  Of course, the Chinese one-child policy is NOT voluntary. Forced abortions have long been a hallmark of Chinese population control.  Last year, photos of a young married woman lying in a hospital bed next to her dead baby after being forcibly aborted  were posted on the Internet and resulted in three Chinese officials being fired because they had embarrassed the government. The Chinese don't mind brutalizing a young woman who wants to have a second child or forcing her to endure the cruelty of lying next to the baby they have just killed, but they don't want the rest of the world to be critical of them for these actions. 

There but for the grace of God go we also.  Today the Texas Senate is trying to pass a bill restricting abortions after twenty weeks, and that effort has led to 11 hour filibusters in the Texas Senate and crowds of pro-choice protesters outside the Texas Capitol yelling "Hail Satan".  Never mind that in many developed secular liberal western countries, including Denmark and Sweden, abortions are not legal after 12 weeks.  Any attempt to limit or restrict abortion is portrayed as a virulent attack on women's rights, but in reality it strikes at the heart of the most basic elements of population control.  The world's population cannot be reduced to the levels of 1 to 2 billion people--and some eugenics proponents say no more than 1 billion people--without a means for actively eliminating most of the people here.  Abortion conditions the population that life is expendable and can be destroyed.  Any effort to stop abortion and protect life is an effort to make life in and of itself sacred, and that philosophy is the direct enemy of population control advocates.

The Club of Rome, an environmental think tank which works with the United Nations, says, "The common enemy of humanity is man."  To global population control proponents, the only answer for the human race is the destruction of the lives of billions of humans.  And that makes, July 11, World Population Day, a good day to die.

Want to know more about Agenda 21, how it is being implemented and what you can do about it?  Watch this video: 


Alexandra Swann's novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

Monday, July 8, 2013

Running the Constitution off a Cliff

We went to see Disney's The Lone Ranger on Saturday.  I ignored ominous warnings from my brother that box office receipts for the opening day were bad and that the reviews were worse.  I wasn't expecting art--in fact, the trailers that I had seen had already prepared me for a deadpan performance by the usually colorful Johnny Depp and an even more lackluster performance by his co-star Armie Hammer.  I wasn't expecting the movie to be great--just entertaining.
What I was expecting was a fun afternoon without political messages.  This is, after all, a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced film.  While it might be, and in fact was, Pirates of the Caribbeanesque in some of its weirdness, it should be a clean, fun film that leaves us laughing.
What I found was a movie that was not entertaining at all but that did contain some disturbing messages.  Beyond just the "railroads are bad and any perceived 'Indian' attacks were frame-jobs to make peace loving Native Americans look bad" messages that we have all come to expect from Hollywood blockbusters, I saw other more subtle messages.  The self-described conservative Bruckheimer usually produces films that are fairly friendly to evangelicals, but not so this time.
For one thing, Christian characters abound through the film, but they are portrayed as mean-spirited, hate-filled people who go about trying to kill the Comanches and threatening the film's sinners with doom and gloom.  This was a negative portrayal of Christianity that I have not seen in a major family film in a while. 
There really are no good guys in The Lone Ranger.  Armie Hammer's Ranger is a weak, inept, and very unrealistic atheist liberal who opposes guns but has to learn to use one anyway to stop an even worse evil.  Johnny Depp's Tonto is a mentally unbalanced outcast among his own people who would prefer almost anyone as a partner other than Hammer but who finally accepts his fate as the Ranger's sidekick. Together they battle an evil villain who is hoarding silver.
What was most disturbing to me about the movie, though, is that the train on which the villain rides has the words "Constitution" prominently displayed on the side.  At the end, this train goes sailing off a cliff filled with the ill-gotten gains of the greedy villain and is blown to pieces.   
No mention is ever made of the train being named for the Constitution.  There was no reason for it.  It plays no part in the story. But there it is, on the screen, bearing the subtle message that all of these bad, hard hearted, preachy Christian people are really just greedy for money and that the Constitution somehow enables them in their greed and hard heartedness.  When the train is blown up at the end, the filmmakers are implicitly sending a message that greed and bad attitudes are derived from Christianity, and for them to go, the Constitution must also.
I am  used to Disney films promoting only the most liberal attitudes, but frankly I expected more from a 4th of July film and certainly more from Jerry Bruckheimer.

Alexandra Swann's novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Freedom Prayer

As we celebrate Independence Day, we remember that all freedom comes from God and that we need to pray for America as never before:

“Lord we come to You tonight to ask for Your forgiveness. The Bible promises that when we seek You, we will find You, if we search with all our hearts.

"Lord we confess that we have not followed Your commands. We have not loved You with our whole hearts--we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not stood for the truth of Your Gospel. We have sat by and said nothing when Your name was blasphemed and mocked. We did not take a stand when we saw Your laws despised.

“We know that many times we ourselves have been among the worst offenders. We have lived sinful lives that are contrary to the word of God. Like Esau, we have traded away our birthright for a little convenience; we have despised this incredible gift of freedom that You provided for us and allowed all of the liberty that our country offered to be trampled down. We have forgotten the words of King David who said that it is better to fall into the hands of God than to be at the mercy of men, and so we now find ourselves living under the rule of a cruel and despotic government who has stolen everything from us and shows us no mercy.

“We know that everything that is happening to us is a result of our bad choices, both individually and as a nation. You gave us the gift of being born into a free nation—the greatest nation the world has ever seen. You gave us a form of government unlike any other that had ever been known by any other people, and we did not value it enough to defend it.

“For all of these things, Lord, we ask Your forgiveness. We pray tonight that You will change our hearts so that each of us will begin to love what You love, to hate what You hate and to want what You want. We ask You to save our nation, for we know that the Bible teaches that salvation belongs to our God—no political party, no ideology, no government can save us. If we don’t find salvation in You, we won’t find it at all.

“Please turn Your face to us again, and give us back our freedom, and restore our country so that we can truly be one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. We ask all these things in the name of Your son, Jesus. Amen.”


Alexandra Swann's novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

"'For I know the intentions of my plans for you,' said the Lord, "thoughts of peace and not of evil, so that I may bring you hope in the end. And when you call on me and (kneel down and pray) before me, And as you love me with all your heart, you shall find me,' said the Lord." Jeremiah 29: 11-13 as translated from the original by Victor Alexander.