Before "This Week" Sunday, we asked our roundtable participants to tell us what they are looking forward to discussing. Here are their pre-show thoughts.
|Van Jones: Obama Official Blocking Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs|
There's a simple way President Obama can save taxpayers a billion dollars and create hundreds of thousands of jobs: Fire Ed DeMarco. This week, more than 118,000 members of Rebuild the Dream are calling for just that.
Ed DeMarco is the most powerful man in housing -- he's the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees the government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. More than half the home mortgages in the country are under his purview. Earlier this week, the FHFA released a study showing that engaging in targeted principal reductions for select homeowners with Fannie or Freddie loans would save taxpayers a billion dollars, by reducing foreclosures.
Millions of homeowners bought homes and took out mortgages at artificially-inflated bubble prices. Even after their home values plummeted in the crash, they're still on the hook with the bank — and today, five years later, 14 million Americans are trapped, owing more than their homes are actually worth. They can't sell without massive losses. Adding insult to injury, millions of these families have sky-high interest rates on those loans, and banks routinely refuse to refinance underwater home loans, even for those who have never missed a payment. This matters to every American, because our national economy can't recover until we fix the housing market. There are two simple fixes: lower the principal on loans, and lower the interest rates on loans.
What the FHFA study found is that by working with a targeted set of homeowners and resetting their home loan amounts to what's fair in today's market, you can prevent foreclosures and actually save taxpayers money. Not only that, but other studies, including one by The New Bottom Line, have shown that large-scale principal reductions would create as many as a million jobs by putting money back in the hands of real job creators -- the middle class.
Despite all this, Ed DeMarco announced Tuesday he won't allow Fannie and Freddie to proceed with principal reductions. In 2010, he showed the same rigid inflexibility in killing a popular and ground-breaking program that helped Americans finance the greening of their homes to lower their energy bills. The so-called PACE program could have created another 500,000 jobs.
Edward DeMarco is single-handedly standing in the way of hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions of families keeping their homes. The best thing President Obama can do for the economy right now is get rid of Ed DeMarco.
Van Jones is a former Obama White House environmental adviser.
|Ann Coulter: Liberal Hypocrisy|
I hope we will talk about liberals massive hypocrisy on demanding Mitt Romney's tax returns for the past decade tomorrow on "This Week."
Liberals didn't mind John Kerry not releasing any of Teresa Heinz Kerry's tax returns when he ran for president. They didn't mind Clinton becoming the first president not to release his medical records. They didn't mind that Clinton's tax returns showed he was deducting $10 for each pair of used underwear he donated to charity.
But, as I explain in "Demonic," liberals can't even grasp the relevance of these comparisons. Their renowned indisposition to analogies is another classic example of mob thinking.
Where normal people see blinding contradictions, liberals see only placid consistency. The author of "group psychology," French philosopher Gustave Le Bon explains that mobs are perfectly capable of holding completely contradictory ideas at the same time because according to circumstances, "a crowd will come under the influence of one of the various ideas stored up in its understanding, and is capable, in consequence, of committing the most dissimilar acts. Its complete lack of critical spirit does not allow if its perceiving these contradictions."
Only the Democratic Party could contain a senator who killed a girl at Chappaquiddick – and then spent the rest of his career digging into other people's pasts.
Only the Democratic Party could lyingly claim credit for the Civil Rights Act – supported by more Republicans than Democrats – while having a former Klansman as their senior senator.
Only the Democratic Party could produce a string of presidential candidates who oppose school choice and vouchers, while sending their own children to lily-white private schools.
Only the Democratic Party could hysterically denounce a Supreme Court nominee for allegedly making unwanted sexual advances in the workplace and then applaud a president who was receiving oral sex from a White House intern while discussing deploying American troops with a congressman on the phone. Indeed, only the Democrats could try to block one court nominee for purely verbal sexual harassment – even if true – and actually stop another nominee for prior marijuana use, and then run Bill Clinton for president.
Only the Democratic Party could produce a junior senator from New York who denouncing George Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence as "cronyism" – only six years after her husband, Bill, sold a pardon to Marc Rich on his way out of office.
Only liberals could sponsor college speech codes but say that anyone who doesn't want to subsidize "Piss Christ," hates free speech. Only liberals could love George Soros – convicted of felony insider trading in France – Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, while claiming to detest Wall Street and "the rich." Only liberals could tolerate a windbag like Al Gore lecturing the rest of us about our carbon footprints, while he flies his private jet from energy guzzling mansion to energy guzzling mansion – just one of which consumes 20 times the energy of the average American home.
The alleged myth-busting site, Snopes.com, claims that estimate gives only a "mixture" of truth because Gore's Tennessee mansion actually uses – I quote – "more than 12 times the average for a typical household in that area." Ah! We stand corrected! And how much more compared to the Pentagon? Can't he move? Wouldn't you move if you thought you were murdering the Earth with your insatiable energy demands?
"Liberal" is the definition of people who can't grasp if/then forms of logic.
Ann Coulter is the author of "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America," out in paperback on Tuesday!
|Steven Rattner: Romney and Taxes|
Thanks to Mitt Romney, taxes were very much part of last week's conversation. Most importantly, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center released the first in depth study of the presumed Republican nominee's tax plan that made clear both the challenges involved in implementing it and the effects that it would have on Americans of varying means.
Recall that Romney has proposed to cut all tax rates by 20% and make up the lost revenue by closing loopholes, virtually all of which he has refused to specify. The TPC has calculated that 65% of all "loopholes" would have to be cut in order to compensate for the lost revenue.
The problem with this is that the vast preponderance of these "loopholes" are not corporate jets or oil and gas write-offs; they are items that many average Americans rely on, such as deductions for home mortgage interest, tax deferral on savings in IRA's and 401(k)'s, and tax free treatment of health insurance benefits.
Eliminating these so-called "loopholes" would hurt lower and middle class Americans far more than they would affect the wealthiest. Two charts from the TPC report illustrate this.
The first chart (see figure 1) shows just the impact of the Romney tax cuts — the after-tax income of the wealthiest goes up by a much higher percentage than for lower-income Americans (and those earning less than $30,000 end up as losers.)
Now add the effect of eliminating the so-called loopholes, as shown in Chart 2 (see figure 3). In this scenario, the average American earning as much as $200,000 would be worse off; only Americans making more than that would be better off (and those making more than $1 million do the very best.)
Romney's personal taxes were also still very much an issue last week, with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claiming that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years. That we don't know. What we do know is that Romney used every trick in the book to minimize his taxes to the point where he was paying a lower percentage of his income in taxes than a middle class American. He has single handedly managed to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the US tax code is riddled with truly egregious loopholes that favor a small group of people able to take advantage of them.
Steven Rattner is the Obama administration's former lead auto adviser.