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Fiscal conservative hero: Sen. Bunning asks the right questions about the housing boondoggle

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 9, 2008 01:55 PM

I applauded true maverick Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) last week for casting the lone vote opposing the Senate’s latest massive mortgage boondoggle.

The excellent L.A. Land housing blog has excerpts of a follow-up interview with Bunning, who sounds many of the hard-nosed, Suck It Up themes I’ve been pounding over the last eight months:

“This is an unusually bad bill, and I have opposed it from the start. The course it has followed almost guarantees that it will be filled with the worst kind of gimmickry. And it is. The Senate may be the world’s greatest deliberative body, but this bill is anything but the product of deliberation. It is a jumble of disjointed ideas, unlikely to solve the crisis at hand, and it’s unpopular.

“It turns out that the American people don’t like the idea of bailing out banks and their neighbors who gambled on home prices. The voters understand what is going on in Washington, better than we do. …

“Another provision that deserves far more scrutiny is the $4 billion in community development block grants that will be allocated to state and local governments to buy foreclosed properties. To begin with, this program is very poorly managed. The Wall Street Journal called it among the worst-run programs in Washington, and there is a lot of competition for that title.”

Sen. Bunning also picks up on some of the questions I’ve raised about the left-wing mortgage counseling racket, which would get a $100 million windfall under the current Senate proposal:

“Let’s not have any illusions. This extraordinarily unwise grant of taxpayer money is really just a bailout for banks in disguise. It goes to states, but the ultimate beneficiaries will be banks that made risky loans. Instead of selling foreclosed properties on the open market, these banks will have the luxury of selling to local officials with whom they may already have a relationship. These officials will be buying properties not with their own funds, but with ‘O.P.M.’ O.P.M. stands for ‘other people’s money.’ And, in this case, the O.P.M. comes from you and me, the American taxpayer, and millions of unborn Americans that we are saddling with even more debt.

“Another provision that could benefit from more thoughtful deliberation is the $100 million of spending on counseling. … We also don’t know all that much about the non-profit groups that will get the money. Are some of these groups funded mostly by credit card companies? If so, they will have a clear conflict of interest. Maybe they will actually advise people to abandon their homes to foreclosure in order to pay credit card debt. That would make the foreclosure situation worse, not better.”

Say it louder and repeat.

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Send Sen. Bunning a note of support.

Watch Sen. Bunning’s floor statement against the housing boondoggle here.

Posted in: Subprime crisis