Four More Years of the Same.
There are three ways to interpret President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address yesterday, any one of which leaves anyone hoping for progress on the credit union legislative agenda as disappointed as a Patriot fan.
1. The speech was a clarion call to the President’s liberal base. This was no temperate, middle of the road, let’s get down to business invitation for political action. It was a full-throated endorsement of the need for aggressive government action. For example, in the same passage in which he recognized the need to make the tough choices to reduce the cost of health care and the budget deficit, he said “we do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives any one of us at any time may face a job loss or sudden illness. . .the commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. . .do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make the country great.” These are defensible sentiments to be sure, but are certainly a poke in the eye to those conservatives who think Mitt Romney had a point.
2. Another way to look at the President’s speech is that the former Constitutional law professor was directly taking on those who argue that the government has veered so far away from its original principles that it has gone off its moorings and needs to be pulled back, even if it causes some disruption in the country. “We have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. . .but we have always understood that when times change, so must we. That fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.” Again, defensible sentiments but I am not sure why the President of the United States feels the need to pick a fight with tea-party intellectuals (assuming that’s not an oxymoron).
3. A third way to interpret the speech is as a call to work together to address the nation’s problems. “Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all times-but it does require us to act in our time. . .We cannot afford delay.”
So, where does this leave credit unions? Pretty much where they were before the election, dealing with a bitterly divided government where compromise is viewed as a betrayal of principle and vindication of one party’s ideological view of the world is just one more election away. It may be fun to watch the argument, but for those of us who have practical concerns like MBL reform and secondary capital improvements, I don’t see the next four years as offering all that much hope.
CFPB Releases More Mortgage Regulations
On Friday, the CFPB released another mortgage regulation mandated by Dodd-Frank. This proposal increases training mandates for mortgage loan originators and seeks to clarify the manner in which originators can be compensated.
Cuomo to Outline Budget Priorities Today
At 2:00 p.m. today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will release his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. There are always one or two chestnuts tucked away in the budget bills, and I am sure this year will be no exception. By the way, the Governor will be presenting his budget plan to a legislature where the Senate Democrats hold a 33-30 edge now that the Tkaczyk-Amedore race has been decided in her favor, following an Appeals Court decision that 99 ballots should be opened and counted. Even though the Democrats have the edge on paper, the victory solidifies the importance of the five-member Independent Democratic Caucus, which has entered into a coalition power-sharing agreement with Senate Republicans. As strange as this may sound, if this actually works, New York can become a model for the rest of the nation.