Monday, November 17, 2008

A Deregulator Looks Back, Unswayed.


Phil Gramm, the man who called America a "nation of whiners" for complaining about the economic downturn and who once wished for food stamps to be cut because “all our poor people are fat” has done an interview for The New York Times in which he puts the blame for the recent economic downturn on “predatory borrowers” who took out mortgages they could not afford.

This, of course, allows him to ignore his own role in the recent financial collapse:

On Capitol Hill, Mr. Gramm became the most effective proponent of deregulation in a generation, by dint of his expertise (a Ph.D in economics), free-market ideology, perch on the Senate banking committee and force of personality (a writer in Texas once called him “a snapping turtle”). And in one remarkable stretch from 1999 to 2001, he pushed laws and promoted policies that he says unshackled businesses from needless restraints but his critics charge significantly contributed to the financial crisis that has rattled the nation.

He led the effort to block measures curtailing deceptive or predatory lending, which was just beginning to result in a jump in home foreclosures that would undermine the financial markets. He advanced legislation that fractured oversight of Wall Street while knocking down Depression-era barriers that restricted the rise and reach of financial conglomerates.

And he pushed through a provision that ensured virtually no regulation of the complex financial instruments known as derivatives, including credit swaps, contracts that would encourage risky investment practices at Wall Street’s most venerable institutions and spread the risks, like a virus, around the world.

And yet, he seeks to lay the blame at the door of people who took out mortgages they could not afford rather than at the door of the people who gave loans to customers who they knew had no chance of making the payments.

The first group can at least be labeled aspirational, thinking that they would find a way to make the payment somehow. The latter group knew that the payments could not be afforded and took their commission and then sold the dodgy risk on to someone else, all under the very deregulation which Gramm has championed.

And yet Gramm thinks it is the former who should be condemned rather than the latter.

He really is the perfect example of a Republican mindset which was roundly defeated at the recent election.

He accepts no responsibility for a financial collapse which he helped to create and, instead, seeks to heap the blame on to the very people who have lost their homes during this crisis. That's classy.

What a creep.

Click title for full article.


Ingrid said...

Phil Gramm..don't make me [bleep]!!

he's an [bleep]hole..pure and unadulterated..jerk! What else can you say about someone like that? Arrogant twerp. (ok ok, if I keep going I'll have plenty more to say [g])


Kel said...


He is an utter jerk isn't he?