Credit Rates & Double Standards
Not content to manufacture just one news story for the week with its manufactured outrage over a retired general’s assertion that military service alone does not qualify you for commander-in-chief nor shields you from criticism, the mainstream media has decided to go after Barack Obama’s mortgage deal.
From The Washington Post:
In Obama’s case, he received a lower rate than the average offered at the time in Chicago for similarly structured jumbo loans. He secured his final mortgage commitment on June 8, 2005, and during that week, rates on similar loans for which information is available averaged 5.93 percent, according to HSH Associates, which surveys lenders. Another survey firm, Bankrate.com, placed the average at 6 percent.
“It’s certainly safe to say that this borrower did better than average,” said Keith Gumbinger, an HSH vice president, noting that consumer rates vary widely. “It’s a good deal.”
They mention this in the same context as the mortgage deal by Countrywide to the Senate Banking Committee chairman, Chris Dodd, who received a “VIP treatment” in the arrangement and handling of his home loan. The implication is that, because Obama’s mortgage rate was “below average” that somehow he was given special treatment that Joe Schmoe couldn’t get, and that it was somehow an unethical gift.
As Nate Silver points out, this is bullshit of the highest order, completely shoddy and irresponsible journalism. After all, given Obama’s earning record and potential off book royalties, his and his wife’s salaries, and the fact that they have substantial savings and no debt, their mortgage lender would see them as an exceptionally safe credit risk. And someone at DailyKos pointed out the obvious – that an “average rate” by definition means some folks will get loans above the rate and some will get below the rate. And Obama’s discount is quite typical for a relatively safe credit risk.
What I don’t get is why red flags weren’t raised over McCain’s cosy credit relationship with American Express. He, his wife, and his dependent carry a credit card debt of between $215,000 and $500,000 on zero-interest cards. Never mind that as a multi-millionaire booze heiress, Cindy McCain could afford to pay off the debt, and should do. Or that until it’s paid off, at zero interest, American Express is essentially gifting them half-a-million dollars in unpaid debt.
What’s really interesting is that they have multiple cards of zero-interest and have had them for several years. No average American of good credit could obtain credit cards at that interest rate, much less get credit cards big enough to carry that kind of credit line!
But nope, nothing from the Washington Post or others in the MSM on that potentially unethical credit and abuse of the same. Apparently they hold double-standards of scrutiny – they bitch about the normal financial deals of politicians who are thrifty and savings-minded, but give a free pass to sweetheart credit cards for politicians who are financially loaded yet carry around mountains of debt.
Typical Washingtonian double-speak.