Builders And Political Contributions: Your Take On The "Issue"

I've gotten several emails about my postBig Builders Baffledand the previous post tothat, Builders Don't Get Bail Out, So They "Bail" On Congress.

The "issue" revolves around whether the National Association of Home Builders' Political Action Committee, BUILD-PAC, has agreed to cease all approvals and disbursements of BUILD-PAC contributions to federal congressional candidates and their PACs.

If you read Big Builders Baffled--it's not necessarily "clear" if all builders in the organization support this or not. Anyway, here's what you had to say about it:

From Joseph:
You make valid points, but you might be giving this too much thought. Maybe, the NAHB doesn’t have the resources anymore. Builders are losing money much faster than they made it earlier this decade, so the coffers of the Builders and the NAHB are running dry. Much like homebuyers in 2006 and 07!!

Joseph C. Anfuso
Florsheim Homes

From Linda:
No! Many builders are responsible for the problems related to predatory lending, shoddy construction and the sham of pre-dispute mandatory binding arbitration clauses within their contracts perpetuated upon unsuspecting homeowners. Let the greedy die on the vine. The honest builders that put customer service first, pride in workmanship, and produce any homes above the “minimal obtainable standards” proposed by the NAHB will be successful. Americans have made the builders rich. Let them suffer their own deserved losses. Don’t bail them out!

From Adam:
Maybe they're not making the contributions because they don't have the money to do so.
Adam E. Carr
The Carr Law Office, LLC

And from Rich:
Anyone who truly believes in free market philosophy should be talking loudly about the corporate welfare programs that this government is dealing out. The US taxpayer is going to wind up picking up the tab on the largest bank heist in world history, and the fact that this is not getting talked about belies the hypocrisy of free marketers. They believe in free markets as long as they can rip people off, but the minute they're asked to ante up they go whining to the government like a bunch of wet-diapered babies. Let them all go out of business. They'll be replaced by better people. I say, not one thin dime of taxpayer money to these crooks.

From Dave: Your big builder contact likely had his big builder lawyer on his doorstep saying "We want to correct the impression that we're playing quid-pro-quo here..." and that's why they were on the horn to you.

Of course they're getting quid pro quo. Protests by both Congress and the donors that no such relationship exists are to be believed by only those people who just fell off the most recent turnip truck to come into town.

There is likely a second source of the freeze in donations: There is likely (behind closed doors) a realization in the NAHB that Congress can't do much about this issue. There isn't much the Fed can do about this issue. They're going to have to take their lumps, as you say.

Given a non-public realization that Congress is largely powerless to do anything here, and the flip side realization that members of the NAHB are going to be strapped for cash in the next year, why fritter away the NAHB's cash? Sure, put it out there in a leak that they're having a pout-fest and taking their toys home. That serves as a useful stick on a Congress that can't do anything, probably getting more for less money than flinging money at the Congress and expecting anything like results.

Think about it: Would you spend money to accomplish something you can do better by spending no money?

And this from Cindy:
Good article about the builders pulling their financial support because they didn’t get a bailout! TRUE conservatives seem to typically find bailouts of irresponsible people AND COMPANIES unthinkable. The builders chose to engage in inflated appraisals, predatory lending, shoddy construction, RESPA violations like illegal title insurance kickbacks, etc. They should be at least as responsible for their actions as consumers are supposed to be, especially considering builders were not ignorant of the law or of the consequences of a housing bubble and bust. I wish ALL these special interests would stop wooing and buying OUR elected officials. They are there to represent the people, not homebuilders or other industries.

Cindy Schnackel
National Secretary, Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings

Questions? Comments?