…but I’ve thought from the beginning that this whole financial meltdown was no one person or group’s fault. Mortgage companies were strong-armed into making high-risk loans to minority loan applicants, a process that sped up exponentially during the Clinton years; those same companies then got greedy, figuring they could take on other risky loans if they could wrap them up into packages and trade ’em around for money; the American people took on debt they knew (or should have known) that they couldn’t afford. There was more than enough blame to go around.
Maybe the bailout’s a good idea, maybe it’s a bad one. I’m inclined to think that the government is the only body big and patient enough to take on all this bad debt and turn it into a small loss rather than an enormous, economy crippling loss (or, possibly, a small profit); I’m also inclined to believe that everyone who made this happen should lose their jobs and everyone invested in the banks should lose those investments. Them’s the breaks.
But if we do nothing, and things get terrible–Great Depression terrible–the American people officially have themselves to blame:
A colleague here at the Hoover Institution spoke recently with a senior, and Democratic, member of the California congressional delegation. In the last week, she said, her office had received roughly 15,000 telephone calls, letters, and emails. How many favored the bailout?
I’ve seen a half-dozen posts like this from all corners of the blogosphere. The American people didn’t want this bill to pass. It didn’t pass. It’s now on all our heads: the politicians who did nothing for decades; I-bankers trying to make a quick buck on shaky investments; the voters who demanded the politicians continue to do nothing. We’re all about to get exactly what we deserve.