Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

"Abuses"? Get real...

You know, I'm really not sure McCain even understands why the current crisis happened. That makes me deeply skeptical that he'll be capable of doing anything about the next one.

I mean, what are McCain and Palin blaming? "Mismanagement and abuses"? Sure, there was a bit of that, but it was, frankly, mostly at the fringes. "Greed"? This is Wall Street -- if you expect Greed to *ever* cease to be the primary motivating factor, you're not even living on the same planet as reality.

Really, the primary cause of the disaster was collective deliberate blindness. I mean, most of the people who caused this problem were not only doing what they thought was right -- they were doing what they thought was *necessary*. In business, your job is to make money for your stockholders, and that's what they were, by and large, doing until a year ago. Was it foolish? Were they making money today by ignoring the fact that they were building a house of cards for tomorrow? Sure -- but when everyone around you, including the government, is being willfully blind, it's very easy to put on a blindfold yourself and pretend it's not there, that the small number of Cassandras are wrong and your peers are right.

The heart of the problem is that the people whose job it was to bring things down to sanity were afraid to do so. It was convenient and easy to do nothing -- to believe that the business people knew what they were doing. That's part of the conservative message, after all: Trust Us, We're Businesspeople. It wasn't about corruption: it was about taking the politically easy route, which was to follow the herd.

And do you really believe McCain would have done *anything* different? All the evidence says otherwise. I mean, first of all, he said *nothing* against any of this when it was building. Hell, he's scarcely saying anything about it now: putting this much emphasis on "greed" and "abuse" just misses the point that this was caused mostly by fairly well-meaning people collectively being stupid. Furthermore, his supposedly maverick reputation has shown itself to be paper-thin over the past year: in general, he follows the party line, with notable but rare exceptions.

(Yes, there are times when his principles get riled and he stands out -- but none of those have *ever* been economic in nature. Everything indicates that he neither knows nor cares much about economics: he just takes the Republican Party line of assuming that the business people know what they are doing, and Washington must stay out of their way at all times.)

So get real: is he really the man who is going to stand up to business and say, "Stop that, and stop it NOW" the next time things look all rosy and it's easy to ignore the looming crisis? Or is he simply going to grab the blindfold that they offer him, and pretend that everything will be fine? Everything he's saying indicates that he wouldn't even put a stop to the *last* problem, much less the next one...
Tags: economics, politics

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