Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fact Check: Not in My Own Words

Ok, so I am aware that I have a readership of about 12 people, but that is not going to stop me from publishing this column, authored by Thomas Sowell (an economist at Stanford). It is just too good.

Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time."

Unfortunately, the future of this country, as well as the fate of the Western world, depends on how many people can be fooled on election day, just a few weeks from now.

Right now, the polls indicate that a whole lot of the people are being fooled a whole lot of the time.

The current financial bailout crisis has propelled Barack Obama back into a substantial lead over John McCain— which is astonishing in view of which man and which party has had the most to do with bringing on this crisis.

It raises the question: Do facts matter? Or is Obama's rhetoric and the media's spin enough to make facts irrelevant?

Fact Number One: It was liberal Democrats, led by Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, who for years— including the present year— denied that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taking big risks that could lead to a financial crisis.

It was Senator Dodd, Congressman Frank and other liberal Democrats who for years refused requests from the Bush administration to set up an agency to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It was liberal Democrats, again led by Dodd and Frank, who for years pushed for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans, which are at the heart of today's financial crisis.

Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury, five years ago.

Yet, today, what are we hearing? That it was the Bush administration "right-wing ideology" of "de-regulation" that set the stage for the financial crisis. Do facts matter?

We also hear that it is the free market that is to blame. But the facts show that it was the government that pressured financial institutions in general to lend to subprime borrowers, with such things as the Community Reinvestment Act and, later, threats of legal action by then Attorney General Janet Reno if the feds did not like the statistics on who was getting loans and who wasn't.

Is that the free market? Or do facts not matter?

Then there is the question of being against the "greed" of CEOs and for "the people." Franklin Raines made $90 million while he was head of Fannie Mae and mismanaging that institution into crisis.

Who in Congress defended Franklin Raines? Liberal Democrats, including Maxine Waters and the Congressional Black Caucus, at least one of whom referred to the "lynching" of Raines, as if it was racist to hold him to the same standard as white CEOs.

Even after he was deposed as head of Fannie Mae, Franklin Raines was consulted this year by the Obama campaign for his advice on housing!

The Washington Post criticized the McCain campaign for calling Raines an adviser to Obama, even though that fact was reported in the Washington Post itself on July 16th. The technicality and the spin here is that Raines is not officially listed as an adviser. But someone who advises is an adviser, whether or not his name appears on a letterhead.

The tie between Barack Obama and Franklin Raines is not all one-way. Obama has been the second-largest recipient of Fannie Mae's financial contributions, right after Senator Christopher Dodd.

But ties between Obama and Raines? Not if you read the mainstream media.

Facts don't matter much politically if they are not reported.

The media alone are not alone in keeping the facts from the public. Republicans, for reasons unknown, don't seem to know what it is to counter-attack. They deserve to lose.

But the country does not deserve to be put in the hands of a glib and cocky know-it-all, who has accomplished absolutely nothing beyond the advancement of his own career with rhetoric, and who has for years allied himself with a succession of people who have openly expressed their hatred of America.


Birrd said...

Amen, especially the last paragraph. Thanks for posting this. (You probably have more readers than you think!)

Ashley said...

Hey Alex, I wanted to say you had great advice about Costco and the vacuum. I am such a believer in Costco's products and their return policy! I hope you didn't feel blown off bc I went to BBB. :)

Nice article in this post, too.

Monica Merced Rich said...

Oh no! Your blog has gone political! :) I'm a democrat and an Obama supporter. Does this mean we can no longer be friends?

And I noticed the previous comment. Isn't Costco's return policy the best? Honestly, it has made my day on many occasions.

Alexandra said...

Oh Monica, I have known for some time that you are an Obama supporter! I loved you then and I love you now. I will pray for you. :)

Costco is awesome. A three year old camera that broke probably due to my carelessness. Took it back.

Jacqueline Auna and family said...

Pray for me too! lol. (You can delete my comment if I don't make any sense.) I admire your opinions and passionate stance on the issues/candidates... As for myself, I am very conflicted right now. There are so many leadership attributes I like about Obama as well as some of his very idealistic social plans for health care & education, yet I obviously agree with McCain/conservative views on traditional marriage and the sanctity of life. I am just as conflicted about each candidate's foreign policy and kind of feel both are vague about economic policy. I enjoy watching the debates, and reading everyone's opinions/ views but now I feel more confused than ever! HELP! (Thanks for posting the article.)

Tat said...

I absolutely agree that Fannie and Freddie were wrongly pressured by the government to give loans to unqualified borrowers, and that most of that pressure came from Dems. But that's not the whole story behind the economic crisis and the $700 bn bailout... financial firms like Lehman, Merrill Lynch, and others that arguably were not under enough government regulation because of Republican policies made tons of bad investments in these mortgages, causing the fallout we're seeing now. In short, both parties are to blame, and both candidates. I believe in capitalism and free market policies, but they only work so long as the majority of the big players make wise decisions. Now that the majority of those on Wall Street have made poor investments, the federal government has no choice but to step in and save the day. With our money. Sad.

Jessica and Matt said...

Wow -- thanks so much for posting that -- for the sake of not offending the more liberal of your readership, I will not expand on my views except to say that it has never seemed more important than now for voters to objectively investigate the facts (irrespective of their political leanings). At the same time, though, I think never before has it been more difficult (given the media's incredible, unabashed support for Obama) to obtain the simple facts. Thanks again for posting this!

Jessica and Matt said...

One more thing for Jackie -- on the healthcare issue: I just returned from living in a country that has a similar healthcare system to the one that Obama is supporting. I too always thought that it sounded like a good idea - - and on the surface it seems great. However, my position completely changed after I experienced the reality of how that system actually functions. Anyone who has ever been subjected to socialized healthcare will tell you that the standard of care for everyone goes WAY DOWN! It is incredibly frustrating -- which is why citizens of countries that have socialized medicine come to the U.S. whenever they need anything important done.

By the way, hi Jackie! I hope that you and your adorable kids are doing well!

Momo Cannon said...

Facts do matter. Thanks for posting. For some reason people don't want the facts only change. Love, Momo

lynne said...

wow - very thought provoking -! i hate that news is so un-biased. it makes it so heard to know what's really happening.