Wednesday, October 01, 2008

When Journalists Attack

The people of this country (present company excluded, of course, Dear Reader) find innumerable issues that cry out for federal legislation, and yet we're still subjected to journalists and their half-baked ideas? I for one would propose legislation that requires journalists - the "professional" ones, you know - to take a simple quiz to qualify for certain subject matter.

Comes now the formidable economic giant, Bob Herbert. Never heard of him? He's a writer for the NYT. Began his career as a reporter. Got a degree in journalism. Worked his whole life in the reporting business. No word on his bio about his econ coursework. I'd link to his bio... except the enterprising among you can find it, and I'm not inclined to grant that paper an inbound link. Anyway, here's his, um, analysis of the causes of the financial mess we're in:

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.

And I suppose that this is the standard operating procedure of the Left: repeat something often enough that people will think it is true. But it's not.

As has been detailed elsewhere, one of the causes of this so-called crisis goes back to 1977 with the passing of the Community Reinvestment Act. While I am certain that the CRA had good intentions and may have even done actual good, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Banks and lenders had to make loans that otherwise didn't meet their credit standards; I spent time in the financial sector and can attest to this firsthand. When you make loans to unqualified people because of a non-credit incentive (or: stick), you're going to make bad loans. One ought not be surprised that defaults happen.

One also ought to wonder about journalists writing on topics with which they are unfamiliar; or worse, that they are incapable of understanding. Indeed, if John McCain is a "conservative, small government, anti-regulation, free-market zealot" does that make someone who shares the ideas of Mr. Bob Herbert a liberal, big-government, pro-regulation, socialist zealot?