Thomas Sowell wrote two columns this week about Barney Frank, the politicians’ politician.
From the first:
Barney Frank is a master of rhetoric, who does not let the facts cramp his style.
Barney Frank was all over the media, pointing the finger of blame at everybody else. When financial analyst Maria Bartiromo asked Congressman Frank who was responsible for the financial crisis, he said, “right-wing Republicans.” It so happens that conservatives were the loudest critics who had warned for years against the policies that Barney Frank pushed, but why let facts get in the way?
Ms. Bartiromo did not just accept whatever Barney Frank said. She said: “With all due respect, congressman, I saw videotapes of you saying in the past: ‘Oh, let’s open up the lending. The housing market is fine.'” His reply? “No, you didn’t see any such tapes.”
“I did. I saw them on TV,” she said. But Barney Frank did not budge. He understood that a good offense is the best defense. He also understands that rewriting history this election year is his best bet for keeping his long political career alive.
Good for Maria for not backing down. This if from the second Sowell column:
Politicians who say we need more regulation almost never mean regulation in the sense of impartially enforcing explicit rules, such as the accounting rules that Fannie Mae was violating to cover up its own risks. They mean regulation with arbitrary powers, such as those under the Community Reinvestment Act, which enable regulators to carry out the agendas that politicians give them.
In other words, they pull the wool over our eyes by making us believe that their power grabs are for our own good. This paragraph reminded me of Arnold Klilng’s first question on this blog post.
if the problem was that we deregulated too much over the past 20 years, then why doesn’t the bill [financial regulation] simply reset regulations to what they were 20 years ago? or 30 years ago?