There's lots of finger pointing going on as to who should shoulder the blame for the mismanagement of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Lehman Bros., AIG and other failing finacial institutions. The Obama campaign instinctively faults the policies of George Bush and John McCain for the debacle that has rocked Wall Street this week and last, but their indictment is rich in hypocrisy which I will explain below.
Meanwhile, Jim Wallis of Sojourners tends to agree that there's something wrong with the prevailing ethos in Washington:
In the search for blame, some say greed and some say deregulation. Both are right. The financial collapse of Wall Street is the fiscal consequence of the economic philosophy that now governs America - that markets are always good and government is always bad. But it is also the moral consequence of greed, where private profit prevails over the concept of the common good. The American economy is often rooted in unbridled materialism, a culture that continues to extol greed, a false standard of values that puts short-term profits over societal health, and a distorted calculus that measures human worth by personal income instead of character, integrity, and generosity.
Wallis is right, I think, as far as he goes, but it's not the whole story. If we're looking for villains we should examine the political prostitutes who were in bed with the corporate CEOs throughout the last twenty years. Turning our gaze toward Washington we discover an interesting irony in Senator Obama's indictments of Bush/McCain:
In 2003 George Bush requested that Congress act to reign in Freddie and Fannie, but he was resisted by Barney Frank and other Democrats who insisted there was no crisis and that Bush's request would stifle home loans to poor people and minorities. Congress did nothing, partly, at least, because the financial giants were flooding Capitol Hill with cash through their lobbyists.
Two years later John McCain co-sponsored legislation that would impose regulations on Freddie, Fannie and other mortgage institutions that would force them to do a better job of bookkeeping, make them more accountable and tighten up their lending practices. McCain predicted in 2006 exactly what came to pass these past weeks, but the legislation he endorsed died in committee. The committee was chaired by Democrat senator Christopher Dodd.
The lenders didn't want to be regulated, and they had bought influence in Washington with millions of dollars of campaign contributions. Records show that Senator Dodd ranked first among over 300 recipients of such contributions, receiving over $165,000 from the lobbyists over twenty years. John Kerry was third. Barack Obama, the man who criticizes John McCain for not doing anything to prevent the collapse, managed to be second, having collected over $123,000 from the lobbyists, even though he had only been receiving these emoluments for just three years.
What's more, the former CEOs of both Freddie and Fannie, men who had made millions while their companies hurtled toward collapse, have both served as economic advisors on Obama's campaign team. Whoever Senator Obama has in mind when he promises us change from the old ways of doing business in Washington, he's not thinking of himself. No one is more wedded to cronyism and big dollar politics than is Barack Obama.
Here's John Gibson's report on this sordid tale:
For more see Hot Air.RLC