Ed Driscoll

Wait, I Thought Looking For Root Causes Was Important

What caused the meltdown of the banking system? Was it Texas-Hold’em Poker? According to those new puritans at New York magazine it was–gasp!–television! Worse, horror-of-horrors, it was cable television, and they want this sort of smut and financial pornography banished from the airways:

The real villains here, the truly bad seeds at the heart of this crisis, have gone unpunished thus far and are still in operation. They are Jeff Lewis and Ryan Brown of Bravo’s Flipping Out, Armando and Veronica Montelongo of TLC’s Flip This House, Kristen Kemp of TLC’s The Property Ladder, Kendra Todd of HGTV’s My House Is Worth WHAT?, and the TLC, Bravo, HGTV, and Fine Living networks in general. All of them encouraged people to take out massive loans in order to buy and renovate homes and sell them at a profit when, really, most people have terrible taste, and furthermore, are bad at laying tile. These shows are still on! WHY?

But then, there are all sorts of reasons for those on the left to avoid examining some of these root causes:



Back in late December, we noted that the Connecticut Post refused to print emails from readers if they delved too heavily into a particular hometown topic:

“All letters are welcome. But there are code words hidden in some that are signals to stop paying close attention — “Chris Dodd” and “Barney Frank.”

All of which points to a word that the New York Times simply can’t bring itself to speak, Ed Morrissey writes:

The Times wants to sell Dodd as a victim of the “moneyed Washington subculture where powerful incumbents are invited to get something wholesale,” but that’s poppycock. The man who accepts a bribe is no more of a victim than the man who offers it. It takes both to create corruption, and it’s hard to find a more bald example of it than this. Dodd oversaw Countrywide as part of his committee chairmanship and understood that when he accepted the two loans for below-market rates and no-points acceptance. Countrywide later went belly-up, costing the nation billions of dollars for its easy-terms lending practices, and Dodd has been among the voices blaming the collapse of the lending markets on poor oversight. Well, he ought to know that firsthand, oughtn’t he?

There’s more at stake in this refusal to acknowledge corruption, and we have seen it in Barack Obama’s Cabinet appointments. He and Congress have excused wrongdoing for Tim Geithner that would likely have resulted in criminal prosecution for others because Geithner supposedly belongs to a rarified elite group of technocrats that the nation can’t do without. That stands the rule of law on its head, and put Geithner, Dodd, and others like them beyond the same responsibilities as the rest of us plebes. Dodd, Geithner, and other DC insiders now get a pass from responsibility for their actions simply because of who they know.

Taking sweetheart deals from the industry Dodd oversaw is corruption, regardless of the circumstances. Refusing to pay taxes even after getting reimbursements from one’s employer is tax evasion. When we start making up new names for old crimes based on the relative power of the person who committed them, we have ended the rule of law and created an aristocracy.

Exactly. As G.K. Chesterton noted a century ago, “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem”–or where it began.