Rex Murphy writes: “If America falls, it will not be from external enemies. It will be by her own hand. That is the inescapable conclusion one carries away from a reading of Reckless Endangerment, an account of the ferocious financial crisis that exploded in 2008 and through which, to this very day, the United States is still struggling to find safe and solid ground. . . . Any person with a regard for the United States, or with some surviving faith in the virtues of representative democracy, will finish this book severely angry. It’s a good game to play, should you start to read it, to keep count of the number of times you lay the book down in exasperated wonder that the American system could have been so twisted, so abused and so turned against itself.”
If there is ever a Mount Rushmore for hypocrites, the face of Democratic Congressman Barney Frank — Fannie Mae’s friend in every sordid scrape (until nothing could be hidden anymore) — should be the first to go up. It was the complaisance and complicity of elected politicians like him that enabled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to achieve the power they did, to violate so utterly their own charters, to defy and slander their regulators (they set rumours afloat that one honest overseer was having “mental problems”) as long as the mortgage giants tossed funds into their political kitties, gave them ribbon cutting ceremonies for “minority housing,” and greased their re-election efforts.
The real story of Reckless Endangerment is more a story of democracy corrupted than it is a story of financial fraud. It is a story of America’s great wounding of herself. And even now, with this book, the full account is not nearly as known as it should be; and as the authors so sadly point out, nearly every one of the principals who brought such misery and shame upon their countrymen are free, prosperous, in many cases highly honoured and “serving” still at the highest levels of political and financial power.
At the very least, this needs to be pointed out continuously.