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Both sides contributed to economic mess

Posted: October 14, 2008 8:05 p.m.
Updated: December 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 
I want to commend Gary Horton on an excellent column on Oct. 1. I actually found myself agreeing with the man.

If he keeps this up, I'm going to start thinking he's a moderate instead of a raving left wing fruitcake.
While I agree with his contention that fraudulent hucksters ought to be brought to justice, Gary seems to feel it adequate to only define half the equation in this fiscal mess.

I learned in school that with equations the left-hand side should equal the right-hand side.

As Gary generously, and pretty accurately, has covered the left-hand side, may I be allowed to provide the right?

On the left, we have Gary indicting the Bush administration, Paulson in particular, and tenuously linking oil companies in general, for the current fiscal crisis.

I don't get the association with the oil companies, given that this is a fiscal problem and last I saw oil companies were not managing Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, WaMu nor any of the other major mortgage and banking institutions.

Nor do I see what the Iraq war has to do with the current problem. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the Bush administration bears some responsibility, and just like Paulson, there are others in the Bush administration who promoted this bailout who were actually instrumental in exacerbating the problems.

Yes, it is a bailout, not a "rescue" plan.

As I heard one radio talk show host refer to it recently, "Asking Paulson and his ex-Goldman Sachs cohorts in the Bush administration - who were bundling and selling weak mortgages while at Goldman, and then short-selling against them - to provide the plans for a bailout measure is like calling the arsonist to come and put the fire."

Well, enough of the left side of the equation. On the right-hand side of the equation we have the Community Reinvestment Act, a Democrat construct, the Carter and Clinton administrations and their friends in ACORN, requiring and blackmailing financial institutions into suspending normal lending practices to write loans to people to enable them to buy houses they could not afford.

Oh, and yes, the Bush administration drank some of this Kool-Aid too.

But then we continue developing the right side of the equation where we have McCain, supported by Greenspan, and the Republican Party in general, attempting to avoid this meltdown as early as 2002.

There are videos on the Internet of the Senate hearings. Watch them. You will find those friendly Democrats - Frank, Dodd, I can't remember all their names, they are legion - telling the committee that Freddie and Fannie are "perfectly fine."

In fact, the regulator, who brought the problems to light, is the problem.

Then, of course, there is the question of Sen. Obama's financial adviser, Raines, who was running Freddie and Fannie earning himself $90 million over a four-year period, presiding over the meltdown, and paying bonuses while doing it.

So now, I think, we have a more balanced equation. All of these elitists need to be held responsible.

Why on earth we are allowing them to take taxpayers' money to "fix" the problems just astounds me. I am absolutely confounded by their ability to "add pork" to an emergency bailout bill. And these are the "experienced" people in Washington.

There has been a lot of talk about the divisiveness and partisanship in America these days.

Much of this talk seems to emanate from Washington, along with suggested solutions. It is my sense, however, that the greatest divide in America today is not racial, nor between the ordinary men and women on Main Street, Republican and Democrat, but between the Political Class and the Plebeian (that latter would be you and me).

We may see things differently from our politically opposite neighbors, even debate hotly, but in the end, we all seem to drink coffee together, go to ball games together and get along reasonably well.

Right now, I think a lot of "us" agree that a lot of "them" - the political hacks in Washington - need to be unemployed, and the fraudsters on Wall Street need to be behind bars.

One final thought for the day. There is a very old book, not as widely read as it used to be, frequently misquoted, often maligned but most usually ignored as old- fashioned and irrelevant.

Regardless of the above, I believe it contains some ancient wisdom that is particularly relevant to today. The book contains these words: "The love of money is the root of all evil."

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