Once again, Obama has decided to inflict post-partisan depression on us. Here’s our latest installment in “Looking Forward, Not Back” (italics mine):
“Where any homeowner has been defrauded or denied the basic protections or rights they have under law, we will take actions to make sure the banks make them whole, and their rights will be protected and defended,” Donovan said at a Washington press briefing. “First and foremost, we are committed to accountability, so that everyone in the mortgage process — banks, mortgage servicers and other institutions — is following the law. If they have not followed the law, it’s our responsibility to make sure they’re held accountable.”
He added, however, that the administration is focused on ensuring future compliance, rather than on looking back to make sure homeowners and investors weren’t harmed during the reckless boom years. The administration is “committed to forcing institutions to change the way that they conduct business,” Obama’s top housing official said, “to make sure these problems don’t happen again.”
There are several problems with this.
First, they broke they law, and profited by doing so. Those who didn’t commit legal fraud behaved unethically. Yet nothing will happen to them. To call this corrosive is an understatement.
Second, based on their track record, why would anyone think that they wouldn’t screw people over again if given a chance. We need banks. We need bankers. We do not need these banks or these bankers.
Third, in the midst of demanding that middle class homeowners play by the rules, it’s obscene to then not demand the same of those who have profited by not playing by the rules.
Fourth, I’ve never understood this false tradeoff between making good policy and justice–it seems to be the cornerstone of Obama’s worldview. If nothing else, lowering the boom of the banking industry would cow them long enough to pass good legislation. Besides, the federal government is large: prosecute those who deserve it, and make deals with those left standing.
Finally, the Mandarin class, of which Obama is a card-carrying member, fails to understand that when you’ve been jobbed but good, the appropriate emotion is anger. And it’s normal to want to be able to pick up the paper and, on occasion, read about how bad behavior is not rewarded, but punished. That’s not enraged or out of control, that’s human. A sane person should be pissed off right now. A perpetual state of anger, even when appropriate, makes even the best of us brutish, mean, and nasty. That’s not going to help the needy among us–and thanks to an employment deficit of around ten percent–there are a lot of needy people.
So, Mr. President, now is the time to “look back” and to demand justice for those who deserve it. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the right thing politically.