Friday, February 27, 2009

Candid Conservatism

February 27, 2009, 8:10 a.m.

Conservatives Taking Responsibility
(brought to you by*)
How did half of our nation’s population – the half that defines itself as conservative or moderate with conservative leanings – come to believe that it was ok to lie on a mortgage application? To put together thousands of loans into securities that were so complex that the printed documentation spanned thousands of pages? To sell a mortgage to a consumer knowing full well they could not pay? To sell a security out the front door to a customer, while shorting it in the next room?

How is it that our government has become so corrupt that Stanford Financial, now accused of a massive fraud spanning more than a decade, gave $250,000 to the Republican Senatorial Campaign – and nearly a million to the Democrats? Their lobbying successfully killed a bill that might have uncovered their alleged fraud years ago – in a Senate Committee. Partly as a consequence, over $8 billion in uninsured CDs held by Americans appears to have disappeared. Someone clearly got the best government money can buy, but it certainly wasn’t us.

How did Congress look the other way while our nation’s leaders – allegedly conservatives themselves – locked senators and representatives in a room one dark September night and predicted the end of the world unless Henry Paulson was given a blank check for $700 billion dollars that this nation did not have and would have to borrow?

We have descended the economic slope to where we are today because we, as Americans and conservatives, were willing to tolerate “just one little lie” in the pursuit of profit. As we have now seen, one little lie, repeated often enough, becomes one gigantic mess.
-- Karl Denninger, "Remarks of Ticker Guy," Market Ticker, February 26, 2009.

Who is this guy? Some Republican-bashing lefty?

Not at all.

Karl Denninger, with his "The Market Ticker: Commentary on the Capital Markets" blog, is a knowledgeable market analyst and self-professed conservative. He won an award last evening from "Accuracy in Media," AIM, which I knew of years ago when involved with media reform because AIM was then taking aim at what its leader, Reed Irvine, characterized as "the liberal media." The excerpts quoted above are from Denninger's speech to AIM last evening.

Like Denninger, I too think of myself as far more pragmatist than ideologue. There are plenty of directions in which to point fingers, and I -- and apparently Denninger as well -- think it's long past time politicians get beyond the very generous campaign contributions from their "friends" in the financial community and start doing more of that finger pointing. The diversion of focusing on the millions CEOs are spending on parties and planes is only blinding us to the trillions the politicians are continuing to give them. See, Nicholas Johnson, "Why We Should 'Point Fingers' and 'Look Backwards,'" January 13, 2009.

* Why do I put this blog ID at the top of the entry, when you know full well what blog you're reading? Because there are a number of Internet sites that, for whatever reason, simply take the blog entries of others and reproduce them as their own without crediting the source. I don't mind the flattering attention, but would appreciate acknowledgment as the source -- even if I have to embed it myself. -- Nicholas Johnson

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Gamma said...

Nick. This is wonderful and clear. May I have permission to send it to and ask them to reproduce it?

Nick said...


Of course, send it on to Town Crier. Thanks for asking. Sorry I didn't have an email for you; hope you see this.

-- Nick

Gamma said...