Friday, June 17, 2011

Washington DC, Status Quo, and why the Great Recession is "Business as usual"

I'm not normally a fan of David Brooks - he's never going to come to the center enough for me to support most of his positions. But as a conservative columnist, he's remarkably willing to chastize both the Washington DC Power class, as well as his colleagues in the Chattering sub-class.

His latest column for the New York Times takes the former squarely on, noting that the housing collapse that brought on the Great Recession was partially the fault of one DC outfit doing business the normal way:

Morgenson and Rosner write with barely suppressed rage, as if great crimes are being committed. But there are no crimes. This is how Washington works. Only two of the characters in this tale come off as egregiously immoral. Johnson made $100 million while supposedly helping the poor. Representative Barney Frank, whose partner at the time worked for Fannie, was arrogantly dismissive when anybody raised doubts about the stability of the whole arrangement.
So just like we're not looking back on Torture, we won't prosecute this behavior - the lead up to the Great Recession was and still is the norm in our nation's capitol.

But the most devastating scandal in recent history involved dozens of the most respected members of the Washington establishment. Their behavior was not out of the ordinary by any means.

For that reason, the Fannie Mae scandal is the most important political scandal since Watergate. It helped sink the American economy. It has cost taxpayers about $153 billion, so far. It indicts patterns of behavior that are considered normal and respectable in Washington.

And that is perhaps the greatest tragedy of the Great Recession, apart from the job losses, the foreclosures, and the national decline. Across party lines, over more then a decade, the "Leaders" in Washington decided it was acceptable to have this go on. and thus wa sthe GReat Recession born.

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