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FACTBOX: Democratic candidates on financial issues

(Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidates took on economic issues ranging from sovereign wealth funds to the U.S. mortgage crisis at a debate on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Here is a sample of what candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards said:


On sovereign wealth funds:

“They need to be more transparent. We need to have a lot more control over what they do and how they do it. I’d like to see the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund begin to impose these rules, and I want the United States Congress and the Federal Reserve Board to ask these tough questions.”

On subprime mortgage crisis:

“A lot of our big financial institutions ... made these bets on these subprime mortgages. They helped to create this meltdown that is happening, that is costing millions of people who live in homes that are being foreclosed on or could be in the very near future because the interest rates are going up.

“We can’t figure out, under this administration, what we should do. I have a plan: a moratorium on foreclosures for 90 days, freezing interest rates for five years, which I think we should do immediately.”

On bankruptcy laws:

“I think we’ve got to reform the bankruptcy law right now, going forward, so that people who are caught in these subprime and now increasingly conventional loans that they can’t pay because of the way the interest rates are going up and many of the fraudulent and predatory practices that got people into them in the first place will have the option of getting relieved of this debt.”


On energy:

“Number one, part of the reason that Kuwait and others are able to come in and purchase, or at least bail out, some of our financial institutions is because we don’t have an energy policy.”

“We have not seen any serious effort on the part of this administration, to spur on the use of alternative fuels, raise fuel efficiency standards on cars. That would make a substantial difference in our balance of payments and that would make a substantial difference in terms of their capacity to purchase our assets.”

On the subprime crisis:

“The subprime lending mess -- part of the reason it happened was because we had an administration that does not believe in any kind of oversight. And we had the mortgage industry spending $185 million lobbying to prevent provisions such as the ones that I’ve proposed over a year ago that would say, you know, you’ve got to disclose properly what kinds of loans you’re giving to people on mortgages.”

“You’ve got to disclose if you’ve got a teaser rate and suddenly their mortgage payments are going to jack up and they can’t pay for them. And one of the things that I intend to do as president of the United States is restore a sense of accountability and regulatory oversight over the financial markets.”

On financial markets:

“We have the best financial markets in the world, but only if they are transparent and accountable and people trust them. And, increasingly, we have not had those structures in place.

On bankruptcy:

“One of the things that we have to do is we have to release people who are in bankruptcy as a consequence of health care; we’ve got to give them a break.”


On sovereign wealth funds:

“We need more transparency. We need to know what’s actually happening.”

On general economy:

“What’s happening to the economy in America, if you look at it from distance, is we have economic growth in America -- we still do -- but almost the entirety of that economic growth is with the very wealthiest Americans and the biggest multinational corporations.”

On the subprime crisis:

“We need a national law cracking down on predatory and payday lenders that are taking advantage of our most vulnerable families.”

On bankruptcy law:

“If you look at what’s happening in America today, the bankruptcies that are occurring, about half of them are the result of medical costs. And the idea that any single mom who has a child who gets catastrophically sick and incurs $30,000 of medical cost has to go into bankruptcy as a result, and can’t be relieved of that debt, makes absolutely no sense. And it’s not fair and it’s not right.”

Compiled by Jeff Mason in Las Vegas