|It's the Debt Stupid||Close-coupled Character|
by Christopher Chantrill
September 22, 2008 at 5:23 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.|
When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of agesthey seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State
Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures
The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since
1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and
philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West
Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its
characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then,
once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all.
In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
[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
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital
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