Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's Not the Peabody, But...

NPR does occasionally throw the intelligent listener a bone, so let's throw them credit where credit is due.
Two in one week; that must be a like a record or something!

Update: Unlike most mainstream journalists Baker shows he's not concerned about sucking up to organizations like NPR in order to gain that mystical prize of "access." On Friday morning he turns his telescope on that home of economic idiocy known as Planet Money [which actually has won a Peabody!]


geoff said...

Call me when they get Robert Parry on for perspective: Lessons from America's Lost Decade

Yet, the fact that the United States has embraced “voodoo economics” for 30 years and refuses to recognize the statistical evidence of Reaganomics’ abject failure suggests that the larger lesson of this era – and especially this past lost decade – is that the U.S. political process is dysfunctional.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that in that piece Adumb Davidson got a Peabody for, the word "fraud" was only used two times (in the same sentence) and both times in reference to "fraud" on the part of the person trying to get the loan.

Davidson makes this claim:
"And, while the FBI and other law enforcement folks, say they don't have the exact numbers, it's clear that fraud--like the fraud on Richard's application--was

Davidson refers to the ubiquitous bank loans as NINA loans (NO in come, NO asset).

Contrast that with what bank fraud expert and S&L Scandal regulator William Black has said.

Black called these loans what they are "LIAR's Loans", a term actually coined by the bankers handing them out.

And Black also points out the obvious (something Davidson seems to have missed): it takes two to make a "liar's loan". The person receiving it and the person giving it (The banker).

In other words, what these bankers were doing was also "fraud":

"while there is no law against liars' loans, Black points out that there are, "many laws against fraud, and liars' loans are fraudulent. [...] They involve deceit, which is the essence of fraud." -- from Bill Moyers, whio interviewed William Black

While Davidson says that "the FBI and other law enforcement folks, say they don't have the exact numbers.."

what he fails to mention is that the FBI did investigate the liars' loans before the financial meltdown and reported a year before, "the FBI accurately described mortgage fraud as "epidemic"" --

Finally, Davidson perpetuates the myth that most of the problem was due to these subprime loans.

Here's what black has to say on that matter:

"The widespread claim that nonprime loan originators that sold their loans caused the crisis because they "had no skin in the game" ignores the fundamental causes. The ultra sophisticated buyers knew the originators had no skin in the game. Neoclassical economics and finance predicts that because they know that the nonprime originators have perverse incentives to sell them toxic loans they will take particular care in their due diligence to detect and block any such sales. They assuredly would never buy assets that the trade openly labeled as fraudulent, after receiving FBI warnings of a fraud epidemic, without the taking exceptional due diligence precautions. The rating agencies' concerns for their reputations would make them even more cautious. Real markets, however, became perverse -- "due diligence" and "private market discipline" became oxymoronic."

In other words, the subprime fraud just got the ball rolling.

The much bigger fraud involved what happened to these mortgages after they were taken out: the slicing and dicing, repackaging and resale as "derivatives".

In avoiding calling what the bankers and investment houses engaged in as "fraud" (something Black has done), Davidson is either being very naive or simply dishonest.

You take your pick.

Anonymous said...

I neglected to give the link to the Davidson piece transcript. Here it is

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, the fact that Davidson does not (will not?) call what the bankers engaged in "fraud" has more than a little in common with the fact that NPR will not call what the Bush admin engaged in "torture".

In both cases, the law is clear and NPR reporters either do not understand the law or actually choose to ignore it.

As William Black has said about the case of the banks,
there are, "many laws against fraud, and liars' loans are fraudulent. [...] They involve deceit, which is the essence of fraud."