The second debate was awful and boring. I wonder who will watch the next? Obama remains a person I would like to believe in but with under two years in the Senate and a very nondescript (even buried) record, I tend to think of him as a celebrity media candidate with charm, looks , a good brain, fine articulation and great oratory...but as to who he really is and represents?
He remains a cypher , even to the British Ambassador in the US who briefed Gordon Brown. Unless you never grew up from 60's, Obama looks like a weirdly contemporary retro-radical, pushing for Main Street. I wish it were not so, for the guy has true talent aplenty to burn.
As the most left wing US candidate of all time ( not that this does not please some) I cannot see how the massive expansion of government/spending/entitlement his kind always invokes would help the USA, broke as it is, ..but politics goes in cycles and the Dems certainly have the pendulum.
Thatcher/Reagans's idea to deregulate prudently so the deserving and thrifty could better become house owners degenerated 10 years on into cajoling the undeserving, indigent and un-creditworthy into bad loans . Greed on Wall Street? Politicians passing the buck..after all this was not triggered by anything other than the artificial housing boom of the past 15+ years, fed by "politically correct credit" which Fannie and Freddie re-cycled in an act of fiscal criminality, all over the world. It was a scam, a house of cards - nothing more or less.
Is it reasonable that bankers, who depend upon their jobs by not losing money, would give away absurd loans from "greed"? Why were bankers in our father's time not similarly "greedy"? Or were they allowed back then to judge their loans on their merits? Those who swallow the "greed" red herring will get choked by the nasty bones that are the facts. For it is not Lehman Bros etc ( greedy though some in these businesses were) who caused this crisis. It was improvident lending, sanctioned by Congress and encouraged by them since 1977 but paced faster every year.
We are not in a "corporate salary crisis" or a "commodities boom crisis" and the only "greed crisis" exists in the minds of Congress trying to palm off their duplicity on frightened voters - the mother and father of our problem is real estate and "subprime" at that, and so it is named.
Of course, lending to everyone for political reasons ("affirmative lending" would be a good term) put huge pressure on the natural supply and demand chain of housing, forcing up prices even more in the 90's and current decade. In a phrase, it was a pyramid scheme that would collapse ( as was warned by some fiscal conservatives many times).
After a period of anti-American gloating so typical of the superior moral beings that are Europeans, I see the chickens have come home to roost there too.
Again, the problem is not one of deregulation but too much regulation in the critical housing market, replacing the decentralised prudence and decisions of the traditional banker with a command-style regulation from politicians/pressure groups to loan to any and everybody.
This was accompanied ,at least in the USA, by actual fines and penalties, all in the name of egalitarianism and helping social mascot groups ( the unemployed, illegal immigrants, racial minorities regardless of median income, drug addicts, people with bad credit rating, trailer trash etc). Why? It seems charitable on the surface, but in the end it was to buy votes. In the 1990's the process accelerated.
Indeed, by 2005 a full 19% of the massive loans backed by Fannie and Freddie that year were "subprime" ( i.e. loans a banker would not make without threats or cover from politicians, or both). Hence the absurdity of random tele-callers offering loans to every bum in Europe and the USA, to fullfil, like little communist workers, their "quotas" of "non-discriminatory" loans to please Congress and courts. I do not say there were no other factors to the current crisis outside of the sub-prime, and one cannot blame the uncreditworthy for taking the chance for what they saw as a better life. Yet only the sub-prime problem could have triggered the uncontrollable meltdown that started some months ago, as house prices steadily dropped for the first time in over a decade.
It was a huge bonfire of the vanities in which we are all burned. I agree with the 60% of Americans who would, as polled yesterday, not return a single member of Congress to power in Nov if it was their call. But it's not. Congress has rigged their choices as well.
All of this is why I hate Sarah Palin. She was in Alaska, has never spent a minute in Congress and is the only one of the four candidates who has zero blame for this mess. Indeed, while Washington was bankrupting the USA, she put Alaska into the black and got an 85% approval rating from both parties. Bi-partisanship in action, I suppose. She is the only candidate to have never accepted a dime from Fannie and Freddie. Obama grabbed $125 thousand and even McCain took a modest $15 thou. Sarah is the dimwit serial -breeding hick who is not fit to lead America, or so I am told.