Al Gore said he invented the internet, the Clinton people trashed the White House before the Dubya moved in, etc. (Krugman via Atrios):
There’s a persistent delusion, on the part of many pundits, to the effect that we’re actually having a rational political discussion in this country. But we aren’t. The proposition that the Community Reinvestment Act caused all the bad stuff, because government forced helpless bankers into lending to Those People, has been refuted up, down, and sideways. The vast bulk of subprime lending came from institutions not subject to the CRA. Commercial real estate lending, which was mainly lending to rich white developers, not you-know-who, is in much worse shape than subprime home lending. Etc., etc.
But in Dick Armey’s world, in fact on the right as a whole, the affirmative-action-made-them-do-it doctrine isn’t even seen as a hypothesis. It’s just a fact, something everyone knows.
It’s often said that journalism is the first draft of history. I hope the final copy has better fact checking.
It is insanity – the right has learned that they can repeat lies, no matter how often debunked – and if the media makes a peep about how it’s been debunked in the past they are immediately “biased”.
And when the people who support Armey’s preferred outcome sign the checks, the guys making 6 figures to be stenographers do not want to be labelled “biased”.
So here’s what always got me. You had trillions lost in an absolutely massive bottoming out of the real estate market. Let’s say you follow the Dick Army route, slash all funding and deregulate the hell out of all the real estate markets, and then… what?
No stimulus. A bunch of tax cuts to people who already have all the money. Cratering employment. How does any of this make the situation better?
You can only scapegoat and witch hunt for so long. These wackos aren’t interested in fixing anything. And that total disregard for sensible policy might have worked in the twilight of the Clinton economic boom, but – even if there was a Republican Resurgance in 2010 – what would this new majority seek to accomplish? Shut down the government again (a la Gingrich in ’95)? Wreck shop and tea party around Capital Hill? Start their own little inquisitions?
I mean, I guess that’s one employment strategy.
Funny thing about that one. A high school friend of mine was a White House intern in the first year or two of the Clinton administration (once the Lewinski thing broke, I kept expecting to turn on the news and see her name…), and she told me that the Bush I team had left all sorts of practical-joke gremlins hidden in the computer network. Really sophomoric stuff, like random popups saying “Bush Rules! Clinton sucks!” and things like that.
Oddly, this never seems to have risen to the level of a Grave National Scandal.
This is precisely why I just love Alan Grayson. He makes what seem like outlandish comments – but they’re true – and then the Republicans are on the back foot trying to defend or refute them. But the point is already established.
Democrats need to do more of that kind of thing. They spend all their time playing defense with people who have no intention of being rational and a press that is lazy and cares only about ratings.
C Nelson Reilly
Here I’m is, the Zomby Woof
Suppose the banking crisis was caused by the CRA (the following is a quote from the link):
1) Home sales in CRA communities would have led the national home market higher, with sales gains (as a percentage) increasing even more than the national median;
2) Prices of CRA funded properties should have risen even more than the rest of the nation as sales ramped up.
3) After the market peaked and reversed, Distressed Sales in CRA regions should lead the national market downwards. Foreclosures and REOS should be much higher in CRA neighborhoods than the national median.
4) We should have reams of evidence detailing how CRA mandated loans have defaulted in vastly disproportionate numbers versus the national default rates;
5) CRA Banks that were funding these mortgages should be failing in ever greater numbers, far more than the average bank;
6) Portfolios of large national TARP banks should be strewn with toxic CRA defaults; securitizers that purchased these mortgages should have compiled list of defaulted CRA properties;
7) Bank execs likely would have been complaining to the Bush White House from 2002-08 about these CRA mandates; The many finance executives who testified to Congress, would also have spelled out that CRA was a direct cause, with compelling evidence backing their claims.
So much for THAT thought experiment: None of these outcomes have occurred.
In reality, the precise opposite of what a CRA-induced collapse should have looked like is what occurred. The 345 mortgage brokers that imploded were non-banks, not covered by the CRA legislation. The vast majority of CRA covered banks are actually healthy.
The biggest foreclosure areas aren’t Harlem or Chicago’s South side or DC slums or inner city Philly; Rather, it hs been non-CRA regions — the Sand States — such as southern California, Las Vegas, Arizona, and South Florida. The closest thing to an inner city foreclosure story is Detroit – and maybe the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler actually had something to do with that.
The problem is white people of substantial Scots Irish descent, and I am one.
We’re conditioned from birth to believe what we’re told by other white people who are dressed well. We’re not skeptical, we’re not inquisitive, and when our power and privilege look to be on the wane, we resort to violence against those evil “others”.
Southern Whites were very lucky that African American and Native Americans were so placid. They deserved a huge wave of insurgent violence just to tamp their shit down.
A collective delusion well known to those who did business with the old USSR in the latter Brezhnev years.
I won’t end well. History is a bitch.
That’s the prob with the interwebs. Stories enter a state of suspended animation. Even a stake thru the heart can’t really kill them for good.
Who says they want to make anything better? I offer two examples that prove otherwise:
1. Grover Norquist’s bathtub fantasy
2. Biblical Armageddon (including the second coming of their warrior Jesus who is going to give them a free space ride to Heaven – NOT!)
Rightwingers are bent on destroying us completely.
Brick Oven Bill
Realty Times, 24 July, 2002:
Fannie Mae agreed to increase its already substantial lending efforts to minority families by targeting another $260 billion of mortgage purchases to them during the next nine years. Freddie Mac agreed to buy an additional $180 billion in minority-household home loans during the same period.
Both corporations also announced specific plans to increase home purchases by African-Americans, Hispanics and immigrants. Fannie Mae, for example, pledged to create an entirely new mortgage product “designed to meet the unique needs of New Americans.” The new loan concept would include underwriting changes that remove some of the common barriers immigrants encounter here–denial of credit because of inadequate or short credit histories, reliance on communal funds for downpayment money, and language and cultural issues. Fannie also promised to establish 100 “outreach partnerships” with predominantly-minority churches, mosques and “other faith-based institutions” to fund mortgages for their congregations.
1. George Bush’s goal was 5.5 million new minority homeowners.
2. Fannie/Freddie are now bankrupt.
3. Peter Orszag told Congress that the taxpayer could assume all of Fannie-Freddie’s liabilities for probably no money.
4. Peter Orszag got promoted by Obama.
5. It is important to acknowledge HBD. The government did these people no favors by putting them in a house they could not afford. The government put these minorities into houses at the peak of the market.
Oddly enough, I’m actually amused by this. Everyone should be. These are harmless practical jokes. I’m sure the Clinton administration did similar things.
That was the first time I noticed that the GOP has this whole “gravely offended” thing down pat. Good Lord, get over yourselves, ya know?
@Brick Oven Bill: Countered by the tiniest of facts: foreclosure rates among CRA housing is not greater than that of non-CRA housing.
@Adam Collyer: Oh, I agree. It’s basically harmless. The point, though, is that if it’s harmless when the Bush I team did it to the Clintonites, it should be harmless when the Clintonites did it to the Bush II people.
Instead, we get wailing, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, and enough song and dance to put on three Broadway revues.
@dmsilev: Yup. My sister was also in the Clinton administration (at a slightly higher level) and said the Bush people did all sorts of petty shit, like take all the desks in offices and stack them in the center.
I have to object to the term ‘Zombie Lies’. Zombies are hardworking, dedicated individuals with a proven track record and winning strategy. Zombies are also great at working for the good of their Zombie Community, and they always treat each other fairly.
But BOB.. if you’re gonna play “let’s pretend” at least be a priate.
That’s a lot more fun
@tavella: Now, see, I wouldn’t approve of, say, leaving spammy computer programs, those can be really hard to remove, but a few light-hearted practical jokes doesn’t seem so bad to me.
Even if the Clinton people *had* removed the W keys from a few keyboards, I wouldn’t have cared. It just makes a good excuse to ditch the old, used keyboards anyway. Who wants to type on a keyboard someone else has been sweating on for months or years?
Brick Oven Bill
Fannie-Freddie are different than the CRA Kirk. Fannie-Freddie know no community.
USA Today: Minorities Hit By Foreclosures. Observe Saara Nifici note Fannie-Freddie’s policy of targeting minorities. Of course Saara blames it on the banks, who were following government policy:
These companies’ high-risk loans made up 20% of all loans in predominantly minority communities, compared with 4% of total loans in mostly white areas, according to the report released Thursday by an alliance of policy, research and advocacy organizations.
“These high risk lenders were targeting their loans to particular neighborhoods — to communities of color,” said Saara Nifici of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project in New York, one of the organizations participating in the study. “That’s where they focused their marketing practices.”
Everybody gets hurt when we practice social engineering. People should be judged soley by the content of their character.
Did you mean to transpose the “i” and the “r,” or insert an “m” between the “i” and the “a?” Editing is so confusing sometimes…
I realize lying and bullshitting is part of the game of politics, but blaming the housing crash on minorities is just beyond the pale. This type of scapegoating reminds me too much of Nazi propaganda.
It doesn’t. I still meet people today who are convinced that it was evil Democrats forcing poor oppressed bankers to lend to shifty irresponsible minorities (probably envisioned with 3 or more welfare babies or driving a Mercedes bought with grifted welfare checks) caused our recession.
That I helpfully refute them and point to several causes which case blame at Republican, Democrat, and bank alike for our misery or point them to well crafted essays or government reports that say as much does not matter. Indeed, it is unlikely they will follow up on such links because the lie has already sunk in and it confirms their inner biases about Democrats, government stupidity, and the innate goodness of Capitalism and therefore capitalists.
Somehow, pointing out that our investment bankers are not paragons of moral virtue or are fleecing us with the compliance, aid, and approval of our government is somehow a promotion of Stalinism
I get it now. If Fanny, Freddy, and minorities didn’t exist there wouldn’t have been a banking crisis. Wall Street is absolved of all wrong. Praise Jesus and Goldman’s teabag.
@Brick Oven Bill:
I judge your character to be absolutely devoid of any content whatsoever.
We do our best.
We are very, very far from the “final copy” of the history of this recession. We’re still very much in the journalism phase, rather than the history phase.
@Brick Oven Bill:
Uh, B.O.B., if you haven’t noticed, if the government hadn’t acted, the entire financial system would have been bankrupted. So F/F being bankrupt is a pretty meaningless factoid.
I joined Facebook a couple of months ago, friended my sisters, and started getting friend requests from cousins I hadn’t seen in years. Not gonna snub family, so I accepted them. Someone on Facebook created a poll about the rumor that Obama had ordered the White House Christmas tree be called a “Holiday Tree”. A cousin responded to the poll, with a comment like “Who voted for him?” This of course shows up when I check Facebook. I replied with “I voted for him, and the Holiday Tree story is false.” I included a link to snopes.com. No one else has commented so far.
Liberals may not like the way conservatives vote, but at least we accept that they are real people; conservatives seem to think that no one who votes for non-conservatives really count.
Very Good! You get a gold star!
Who needs “facts” when you have faith, and how can it be a lie when you believe it? Anyway, it’s all in how you look at it.
(liberals = “moral relativists”, and conservatives = “factual relativists”)
I think Joan Didion’s writing on Washington collected in Political Fictions provide some of the best analysis of the permanent political class and the zombie-lie complex. Her pieces on Newt Gingrich, the Gop’s post-impeachment blues, and Peggy Noonan’s madlib style of writing Ronnie Raygun’s speeches are particularly choice.
OT: Other zombies in the news:
Things are looking bad at the Washington Times: word from current staffers in the newsroom there has been an increased security presence at the newspaper in recent days. On Sunday, when three executives were fired, armed guards were brought up to the third floor where management works, according to three newsroom sources.
Newsroom sources state that employees have been told the third floor is “closed.”
Employees at first couldn’t use the elevators for the three-story building. An additional guard has been spotted in the lobby, standing next to the regular security guard who is there during business hours. Sources aren’t sure whether the guard remaining on site today is armed.
Brick Oven Bill
Here is Federal Reserve Data on the parts of the country where house prices are going down, in the form of a colorful map.
It appears that this data is no longer being shared with the public, so this takes us only to 2008.
@Brick Oven Bill:
So BoB, you believe that there are more minority communities in America than white communities? Otherwise, your post make absolutely no sense at all.
@Brick Oven Bill:
Would anyone like to explain to BoB why we do not yet have definitive data for 2009, or should I?
I just don’t have much faith in humanity, Betsy.
I think there’s some grand unified teabag theory which shoehorns everything that is wrong in the universe to liberal democrats. Find a minority who suffered a foreclosure and bingo–proof. It’s now obvious why Iceland’s banking system collapsed. See. You can’t dispute the facts.
Using the percentages from this quote is ridiculous. This would only mean something if all high risk minority and all high risk white lending were exactly equal. This only shows they had a higher rate of foreclosure. Not total loan losses, which I’m willing to bet were much higher among whites as they have much freer access to credit and buy bigger, more expensive houses.
Mike Volpe, a conservative blogger, has written several interesting posts about the CRA narrative on the right, e.g.
“The CRA, Fannie Mae, and the Democrats: A Conspiracy Too Good To Pass Up”
He engages his commenters vigorously, so the comment pages for this and related articles are interesting. (Just to be clear, these are debunking articles, the only ones I know about in the right-o-sphere.)
The foreclosure crisis in Cleveland and Detroit much preceded the bubble. Those two cities never had a bubble to be punctured
Brick Oven Bill
Re: These companies’ high-risk loans made up 20% of all loans in predominantly minority communities, compared with 4% of total loans in mostly white areas, according to the report released Thursday by an alliance of policy, research and advocacy organizations.
Those are USA Today’s words, not mine. The Federal Reserve Map is very telling, regarding the affect of sub-prime mortgages on housing indexes, with respect to this USA Today narrative.
We’re not debating the words, we’re disagreeing with the stupid interpretation of the words.
Why bring up those percentages unless you believe A) there are as many minority home-buyers as white home-buyers, and B) those minorities tend to spend as much on homes as those white buyers?
BTW, I forwarded Krugman’s post to my wingnut uncle, because he had in the past sent me crap about how ACORN had caused the housing crisis.
His response? “Krugman is a jerk.” That’s it.
Krugman may very well be a jerk, but, um, do you have an argument that what he says is wrong? No?
That’s the problem with the wingnut right. Facts, reason, evidence, they’re all a lib’rul plot to make Sarah Palin look bad. It’s the worst of the pomo left wrapped up in right-wing populism.
Must have been all those brown people they have in Iceland, right? Their economy would be fine if they were all responsible Nordic whites!
One would think, at some point, US political … even intellectual … debate would rise above the grade school playground level.
I’ve been waiting for 40 years and it ain’t happened yet.
From my perspective, once it does – if it ever does – once the ground shifts beyond “Al is Fat” the entire Right Wing will crash and burn. The spokesidiots for the Right can’t construct a True and Valid argument. Remove their ability to use Emotive Terms and commit fallacious Informal Logical errors … they got jack.
Actually, the world’s economy is so interconnected that it really was the fault of Barney Frank forcing the Banks to make bad loans. You see, there was a real fear that Barney Frank would’ve passed even harsher regulation that probably would’ve bankrupted our banking system if they hadn’t made the loans.
One of my favorite (though hated) examples of this phenomenon is the “Clinton was handed OBL on a silver platter and refused” lie that started in the late 90’s. What’s interesting to me about this is you will always hear that phrase “Silver platter” when this bon mot is used (always by Conservatives to attack DFH’s when they ask why Bush doesn’t care about catching OBL). I don’t know where it came from, but it is now permanently etched into the Wingnut brain and now facts will dislodge it.
As a practicing historian – I’m completing my PhD at the moment – I can tell you that one of the ultimate insults that a historian could utter about another historian is that s/he is a “journalist.” Historians generally hold journalists (with a few notable exceptions, like David Halberstam or more recently, RIck Perlstein, but he trained as a historian) in low esteem because they generally lack any real historical understanding and reduce everything to a clash of wills rather than examining the underlaying social, political, cultural and historical context. If they do invoke context, it is frequently wrong or misinterpreted.
The final draft will be much, much better, will have lots of fact-checking (peer review, while weakened, remains in the historical profession) and the only use to which these journalists’ “first drafts” will be put is grist for the mill, treated as primary sources reflecting a particular historical worldview, and not as accurate accounts of what actually happened.
The later revisions are to warp history to a narrative, remove pesky/unpleasant facts and the existence of the underclass, rarely to increase the signal to noise, especially when the signal has been permanently destroyed.
think of all the data lost to the emphemeral nature of the web. All those emails that would have been paper stashed away somewhere.
There is ample data on how CRA loans have performed. They have performed no worse than non-CRA loans. From the Minneapolis Fed: “Two basic points emerge from our analysis of the available data. First, only a small portion of subprime mortgage originations is related to the CRA. Second, CRA-related loans appear to perform comparably to other types of subprime loans. Taken together, the available evidence seems to run counter to the contention that the CRA contributed in any substantive way to the current mortgage crisis.”