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A world gone mad - Michael Reagan

It is said that "whom the gods would destroy, they first drive mad." Even the most cursory glance at this nation's current banking crisis would strongly suggest that the deities are out to get us.

Plainly said, our entire credit system -- the basis upon which the economy rests -- has gone stark raving mad. If you don't believe that, I suggest you take a look at where the various bailouts have left us, or the current phony furor over the AIG bonus payments that resulted from the actions of members of Congress and the Obama administration.

A case in point: For the last few months I have been attempting to refinance my mortgage in order to take advantage of those juicy below-5 percent interest rates my bank is advertising. Just about every day I approach my bank's branch manager to see if this is the day I will qualify.

Yesterday, when I complained anew about my inability to qualify for refinancing my mortgage despite the fact that I faithfully make my monthly mortgage payments, the bank manager told me that she -- a bank executive -- was in the same boat as I am.

Get this. She is a single mother who has worked for my bank for more than 20 years and has risen to the key position of branch bank manager -- the equivalent of being the president of a local, independent bank -- no small potatoes.

She told me that she had not only been told that she wasn't qualified to refinance her own mortgage, but was just informed that her equity line of credit had also been cancelled, as if she were some kind of irresponsible credit risk.

If that's the case with her, it's obvious that I have zero chance of refinancing my mortgage.

Both of us are financially stable individuals with substantial incomes. We pay our bills on time, have proven to be fiscally responsible, and own houses with values much in excess of the amounts of our mortgages.

The sole reason for the fact that we cannot qualify for refinancing has nothing to do with our own stable financial situations and everything to do with insane government regulations so complicated they defy any attempts to justify or even understand them.

Simply put, if your house is worth more than government regulations say it can be, you are automatically unqualified to apply for refinancing. Nothing else matters. You're just plain out of luck.

This of course is just one small example of the wackiness now gripping our economy. Mysteries abound, and the greatest among them is just why a motley crew of members of Congress and Obama administration officials are not behind bars instead of dictating the kind of regulatory madness cited above.

Among those who should be wearing prison pinstripes are Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd and his House colleague, Rep. Barney Frank, of the socialist republic of Massachusetts.

This Dodd character is something else. The head of the Senate Banking Committee, he gets a favorable mortgage from a now out-of-business lender, and took enormous contributions from AIG, which has given him $280,000 in political fund raising. Moreover he got the most from Fannie and Freddie's PACs and employees, a healthy $133,900 since 1989.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) got more than $40,000 in campaign donations from Fannie since 1989. When the House pushed for reform of Fannie/Freddie when Republicans were in control of Congress, Chris Dodd killed it in the Senate Banking Committee.

Al Hubbard, former head of the National Economic Council, asked, "Where was Dodd? Where was Frank? What were the recipients of Fannie/Freddie money during the years in which Fannie Mae's fraudulent business practices were exposed?

"They were in the pockets of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and busy telling us that no problem existed -- and that regulators who reported the irregularities were racists. They sold us out -- and the media has let them off the hook."

And, by the way, guess who wrote the stipulation that AIG must make those bonus payments? Right. None other than Chris Dodd

As Karl Rove has said, "All of this bad stuff on Wall Street happened because people got greedy and the greed started at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."

Mike Reagan is heard on radio stations nationally as part of American Family Radio (www.afr.net). E-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.

com.