Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

04/29/2009 (3:32 pm)

Frankly Embarrassing

I missed this last week, but it’s too good to pass up. Morgen at Verum Serum noticed Rep Frank (D, MA) lying through his teeth on the Tavis Smiley show, claiming he’d always objected to home ownership for people who could not afford it and blaming the entire housing bubble on Republicans. Now, we’ve all seen those vids of Frank and other Democrats declaring Fannie and Freddie in fine shape, no crisis whatsoever, and so had our good Morgen, so he went out to scare up a few good examples. During the search, he obtained a clip from C-SPAN that apparently had never been aired since the speech was made; it’s not even on C-SPAN’s web site, he had to order it on DVD just to see it.

Here we see Rep. Barney Frank continuing to push for more affordable housing (which he told Smiley he’d never done), and also declaring that a bursting of the housing bubble could not possibly cause anywhere near the damage caused by the bursting of the Internet bubble, because the housing assets have so much inherent value. Watch:

Frank is not the only person who did not see the potential impact of the housing bubble collapsing. However, the list of people who did see the potential impact contains a number of people whom today, Frank is accusing of causing the crisis, including Alan Greenspan. That Frank did not see it coming undercuts his self-proclaimed expertise regarding the banking crisis. “…there is not the degree of leverage we have seen elsewhere.” Holy Down Payment, Batman, not the degree of leverage? We’re talking about zero equity loans to homeowners with credit problems! He’s not just a liar; he’s clueless.

Patterico wrote a fairly complete summary of Rep Frank’s complicity in the downfall of Fannie Mae and the collapse of the US banking industry back in March. I highly recommend it if you want the complete picture; he even deals with Frank’s alleged support of Mike Oxley’s (R, OH) toothless oversight bill.

Barney Frank is waist-deep in the financial crisis, and remains one of the single individuals most directly responsible for the crisis. Learn about him and keep your facts straight, because Frank has been selling a lie pretty much non-stop since November.

04/08/2009 (9:08 am)

Methinks Frank Doth Protest Too Much

Take a look at this video from Fox 25 in Boston, in which a Harvard student stands up and asks a simple question of Rep. Barney Frank (D, MA) after Frank’s speech. The question was simple, but called for a soul-searching and candid response: “How much responsibility, if any, do you have for the financial crisis?”

Rep. Frank took the question as a personal assault, and immediately attacked the student as though he had made an accusation. His defensiveness on the subject demonstrates not only that he does feel some responsibility, but that he’s not willing to talk about it.

I’m having some difficulty embedding the video. I’ll try to fix it later, but for the moment, you’ll have to visit the local TV station’s site to see the video, at the link at the top of this article (and here it is again.) It’s just over 5 minutes long.

The question that Frank asks in reply — “What is it that you think I should have done, beginning in January 1, 2007, when I became chairman, that I didn’t do?” — is unfair to ask of the student. The student was simply asking Frank to discuss candidly what he did and did not think was his responsibility, and Frank’s response attempted to shift the burden off of himself and onto the student. It’s an effective polemical tactic. It’s also cowardly, defensive, and inappropriate. The student attempted for a while to refuse the burden, but eventually fell into the trap.

Rep. Frank is on tape before January 1, 2007 defending the acts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as legitimate, during a period when 1) it was already clear that highly-placed executives at Fannie and Freddie were cooking the books in a manner very similar to the shenanigans that put top Enron execs in the clink; and 2) Fannie and Freddie were well on their way to becoming the entire secondary market for sub-prime loans. If he had acted responsibly at that time, several executives would have gone to prison, the market for sub-prime loans would have dried up several years before the crisis, and it’s likely that the deflation of the housing bubble would have caused a much lesser impact.

To answer his question, though, what Frank should have done after January 1, 2007, when he became chairman, that he did not do, is resign. He was involved in a sexual relationship with one of the highest-placed executives at Fannie Mae and had a clear conflict of interest. Don’t even try to tell me he didn’t realize this was a conflict.

Whether or not this Harvard student knew how to address Frank’s guilty but carefully-executed defense, he was asking the right question. Rep. Barney Frank is one of the single individuals most directly responsible for the current economic mess, and no amount of blame-shifting onto some imaginary right-wing conspiracy is going to change that. Frank’s own conscience, obviously, is telling him exactly that.