Who, Exactly, Is Getting Screwed? And How?
Quite the stage for tonight’s Obama address to Congress, isn’t it? No pressure.
After CNBC’s mouthy stockboy, Rick Santelli, ranted his way into fleeting teevee infamy last week, I hoped some real think pieces on the hows and whys of the housing mess, the excesses of avarice from fraudulent lenders and imprudent borrowers, and the regular folks caught in the middle would surface.
We haven’t seen much of that. Until now.
CJR’s Ryan Chittum walks through of public anger, industry greed, press failures and some of the root issues involved in this mess. In his first piece, Chittum addresses the CNBC rant and its underlying inaccuracies. In the second piece, Chittum talks about press failures and the resulting public misconceptions about a lot of this mess.
However, Chittum fails to suss the role politics, talk radio and editorial slant have in sometimes deliberately misleading a segment of their listeners/readers. And he doesn’t detail needed policy reforms.
But Chittum does point to why ignoramuses like Santelli do so much more harm than good.
To get a feel for why better reporting and full discussion on these issues will be essential in order to push for any needed reforms, one only needs to read the comments of Ryan’s two posts. Highly instructive tour of what the likes of Limbaugh, Norquist and Gingrich hath wrought.
As Joe Klein succinctly put it yesterday regarding Gov. Jindal’s abysmal recitations of conservative catechism as a rote prayer for power:
Jindal–the alleged voice of the GOP future–had absolutely nothing new to say. And what he did say, about the stimulus, was purposefully misleading. I’m not sure how well the Obama stimulus, banking and budget plans will work. No one does. But I do know how the philosophy and the misleading politics that Jindal offered today has worked in the recent past.
It’s been a disaster.
Yes, it has.
Just ask 90 year old Addie Polk. But she can’t answer your questions these days because she shot herself rather than face foreclosure from a predatory Countrywide loan. There are real people’s lives and livelihoods at stake.
In order to do better, though, we have to be honest with ourselves on how we got here. It’s time for everyone involved in this mess — investors, brokers, banks, borrowers, politicians, lobbyists — to own up to their own share of the blame instead of trying to pass it off on someone else.
That includes Rick Santelli and CNBC.
(YouTube — a quite kinky Guinness commercial from Britain. Made me laugh out loud. Mostly at the thought of this ever airing on American television.)