17 June 2011

Mistaken Identity

Op-Ed Columnist
Who Is James Johnson?
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: June 16, 2011
I noticed this headline on this column on the Op-Ed page at The New York Times today and I wondered "Who's asking?" Then I realized that it was another person Brooks is interested in. And then I realized is that what Brooks is really interested in is obfuscation. He wants to shift primary blame for the ongoing financial catastrophe onto the government. No way the private sector could bear any responsibility. He notes in passing toward the end of his indictment of Fannie Mae, that: "The Wall Street-Industry-Regulator-Lobbyist tangle is even more deeply enmeshed." Just so. But where, then, is the outrage at the speculators on Wall Street and the ways they bought influence and regulatory 'reform?' Brooks doesn't evince any whatsoever. Yet he is simply repeating a recurrent theme in the right-wing narrative of the political-economic collapse. The primary problem, unfortunately, is not that the government aimed to help get people into sound housing. The problem is that politicians - at the behest of the financial industry and its cronies - eliminated restraint on the speculation in securities. Brooks knows better. He only need to read another of his colleagues at The Times (or other commentators) to see that the case for blaming the government or the working class is perhaps less persuasive than he lets on.

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