Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Royal We

I'm always suspicious when some talking head on the news is talking about some disastrous situation such as the Iraq War, the credit crisis or - as was the case today - the banking crisis, and lays the blame on "us" saying, "We all got it wrong," or "We've all been lulled." Usually these statements are just not true, and serve to ignore the critics and dissidents who actually "got it right" or "weren't lulled" at all.

Talking about the burgeoning banking crisis, NPR's Sunday Weekend Edition talked to financial analyst Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics. Petrou had the following to say:
"We'll have more bank failures....we've all been lulled into complacency. We've had a lot of good years - a boom brings that out in the banking system, and it makes us all lazy; it means that uninsured depositors get too relaxed and they don't take care. It means that regulators get lazy. We've been through a period of time in which we all sort of thought that 'Gee, regulation is always wrong and the market is always right' and I think we got a little too careless."
If only there were someone there to say, "Speak for yourself, Karen." Not everybody was having good years and a lot of people saw banking deregulation for the swindle it was.

Back in 1999 Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman denounced Sec of the Treasury Robert Rubin for his work spearheading banking deregulation, and pointed out the problems with such a policy. Weissman is still writing on the issue. There have been others warning about deregulation such as this article from The Boston Globe in 2000 and this from The Seattle Post Intelligencer in 2002. I wonder when NPR will be consulting some of the folks who got it right? If the Iraq War experience is any indication, it won't be anytime soon.

2 comments:

Grimblebee said...

Right on! I heard this same iv and nearly barfed my brunch. That line about "we all sort of thought that 'Gee, regulation is always wrong and the market is always right..." really is insidious, and the words that follow imply "we" just got a little carried away -- not that "we" gave away the store!

Cripes!!

War On War Off said...

'Gee, regulation is always wrong and the market is always right' and I think we got a little too careless."

Gee, how about GREEDY????