Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Has Bob Herbert Ever Heard of Nancy Pelosi?

Any of these people look familiar?

Obviously, Bob Herbert isn't the brightest of the dim bulbs populating the esteemed newsroom at the New York Times, but this childish diatribe today ushers him into the realm of Paul Krugman.
George H.W. Bush warned us about “voodoo economics” in 1980, but the ideologues clamped a gag on him and put him on the Gipper’s ticket. For much of the time since then, the madmen of the right have carried the day. They were freed of their remaining few restraints with the ascendance of George W. Bush in 2000.

These were the reckless clowns who led us into the foolish multitrillion-dollar debacle in Iraq and who crafted tax policies that enormously benefited millionaires and billionaires while at the same time ran up staggering amounts of government debt. This is the crowd that contributed mightily to the greatest disparities in wealth in the U.S. since the gilded age.

This was the crowd that cut the cords of corporate and financial regulations and in myriad other ways gleefully hacked away at the best interests of the United States.

Now we’re looking into the abyss.
Herbert manages to get through an entire column with somehow failing to mention the words Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Franklin Raines, ACORN, and Barack Obama.

I understand there's an obsession at the New York Times with destroying all things Republican, but at some point can these sages actually step back and review the history of why there's such a mess with the housing market?

It's not as if Herbert has to actually leave his office to do any research. All her needs to do is start here, his own newspaper.
''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''

Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.
Google it, Bob. It's not that difficult.

This isn't meant to absolve the GOP of any blame, but the media does a grave disservice to the public when it willfully shields the culprits and points the finger at people who are actually trying to help fix this mess.

Is Herbert even aware Congress is at a 10% approval rating?
The 228-205 defeat reflects badly on all concerned, starting with the Democrats who run the House. The majority party is responsible for assembling a majority vote, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed in that fundamental task.

Her highly partisan speech on the floor -- blaming "right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation" for the financial distress -- is no excuse for Republicans to vote no. But it is indicative of the way she has governed for the past two years -- like Tom DeLay without the charm. The cynics are saying Ms. Pelosi deliberately tanked the bill by giving 95 Democrats a pass, knowing failure would hurt John McCain, and given her track record we can see why people would believe it.
I'll help Herbert out a bit more here, with a look at Obama and ACORN and more on the history of Democrats defending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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