Friday, September 19, 2008

Can anyone on TV add 2+2?

I am very worried for this country. And it is not because of the potential financial meltdown now apparently looming. Or because an inexperienced hack might be elected President. It's because nobody on the TV news knows anything about anything. Watching the talking heads even try to ask a knowledgeable question about the current capital markets situation is like fingernails on a chalkboard. Excruciating.

They can't even begin to come up with a proper question. Actually the only question they have is what would Obama or McCain do? They ask that all night long. What would the candidates that we have been castigating daily do? Not like they are journalists that may have followed the subprime mortgage issue to its conclusion. What they should have been asking is why they haven't been following this "other story" (you know, the one about collapsing financial institutions) while they were exhausting airwave hours on pigs and lipstick. In fact, they should ask Obama about it.

Much of the real story can be found here and here. And the real guilty party is cheap unwarranted mortgage lending - overextending lending principles to people who just can't pay it back. And then all financial institutions invested in bundled or securitized mortgage packages - which in large part with the subprime loans, are failing. Thus the rush to shore up several entities (AIG) that hold or are influenced by these securities. In fact, McCain had warned about lax lending a long time ago. And even more importantly, Bush wanted to enforce stronger controls on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac almost five years ago (as discussed here) but was rebuffed by the Democrats.

"Why didn't somebody do something about this?" - the scream will go up. The problem is the ying and the yang. Can you see a Republican politician saying that they shouldn't loan money to lower-income families in order to protect the future of the financial markets? "For shame" the liberals would cry. Give everything to everybody - they would say - and then promptly would have parades in the street. Late night pundits would say that Republicans don't care for the common man. Kanye West would say "George Bush hates black people". Sort of like entering into an unpopular war just to protect the future of America. No one really knows what might have happened over the past five years if we weren't bringing up the fight over there.

And this doesn't just stop at hysterical outlets like MSBNC. Fox's Bill O'Reilly was arguing with Neil Cavuto that he wants a President to warn him about this "stuff" and do something about it. Neil said "you really want more regulation Bill?" and Bill said yes.

Oh, the horror. That's what got us here in the first place - as described in this article from six months ago!

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