|It's the Debt Stupid||Close-coupled Character|
by Christopher Chantrill
September 22, 2008 at 11:23 pm
AFTER TWO days soaring, stocks turned lower again today, with the Dow down 372.75 or 3.25 percent at the close. They say that the third day after a bounce is the key to a sustained rally, so it looks like there is more to come on the bad news front.
When things turn south, we read in the books, the key is to find a scapegoat and sacrifice it. Since all this bad stuff happened on Bushs watch it goes without saying that he is to blame.
But since Bush will soon be out of office, it seems hardly satisfying to give him the entire blame for the mortgage meltdown and the Fannie/Freddie meltdown and the Wall Street investment bank meltdom and doubtless more meltdowns to come.
I know, lets blame the Democrats! Kevin Hassett from the American Enterprise Institute has the goods on them.
Back in 2005 responsible Republicans introduced S.190 in the United States Senate. It would have curbed Fannie and Freddie and maybe averted the meltdown. But Democrats were united in opposition.
Of course it had nothing to do with the money that Democrats were getting from Fannie/Freddie. Oh no. Even though Hassett writes that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was one of the prime beneficiaries of Fannie/Freddie money.
Throughout his political career, Obama has gotten more than $125,000 in campaign contributions from employees and political action committees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, second only to Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, who received more than $165,000.
Thats right. Chairman Dodd. He was a mere ranking Democrat in 2005, but the Senate changed hands in 2006. Dont expect much from Chairman Dodd on the Fannie/Freddie reform front, not unless Secretary Paulson puts a gun to his head. Especially since Dodd was a Friend of Angelo at Countrywide Financial.
But the larger issue is to think back over the years of Fannie/Freddie excess. Was it really doing their low-income homeowner constituents a favor for Democrats to sluice money at housing? Wouldnt they be better off if there had been no subsidies and no big runup in home prices? Wouldnt they be better off if house prices werent in free fall right now?
The tragedy is that Democrats still dont seem to have learned their lesson. At least not Barney Frank, the counterpart to Dodd in the House, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Fan and Freds patrons on Capitol Hill didnt care about the risks inherent in their combined trillion-dollar-plus mortgage portfolios, so long as they helped meet political goals on housing. Even after taxpayers have had to pick up a bailout tab that may grow as large as $200 billion, House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank still wont back a reduction in their mortgage portfolios.
Its the trouble with the whole welfare state model. You think you are helping the poor by sluicing out subsidies. But you only end up wrecking their families, failing to educate their children, and enticing them into buying more house than they can afford.
But at least you get their votes.|
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America