Back to Africa

by digby

Perlstein deconstructs the racist subtext of the prevailing right wing trope about the cause of the mortgage meltdown:

...let me write about the sewer through which are right-wing friends are navigating to try to win this election. Specifically, this: the right-wing crusade to blame the Negroes for the financial meltdown continues apace.

And by now, it's getting into Protocols of the Elders of Zion territory.

Watch this clip of Fox's Neil Cavuto. See him sandbag Hispanic congressman Xavier Becerra, pinning upon him and his swarthy fellows responsibility for the collapse of America's financial system by "pushing for more minority lending." Why didn't people like him warn that "loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster"?


The pattern being drawn across the right—the Big Lie so notorious it's hard to believe they'd even dare it—is that this financial mess is something black people have done to white people.

They've been saying this for a while now. Here's a post of mine from almost a year ago:

Just in case any of you have the mistaken impression that the housing meltdown (what Atrios refers to as "Big Shitpile") has anything to do with rapacious lenders and a bunch of greedheads who made sick profits using complicated financial instruments that even they didn't understand, think again. Guess whose fault it is?

Last week's 360-point drop in the Dow was fueled by the announcement of NYAG Andrew Cuomo that he is subpoenaing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for information on all mortgages they had bought from Washington Mutual as part of a general investigation into mortgage loans. Fannie Mae stocks fell 10 percent, Freddie Mac 8.6 percent, and Washington Mutual a whopping 17 percent, turning what was already a bad day into the worst drop in over a year. Cuomo has decided that the reason for the mortgage meltdown is -- you guessed it -- big-time fraud.

All this is just a search for scapegoats. The reason we're in a mortgage meltdown is this. For years the federal government and everyone else has done everything possible to encourage people to buy their own homes. One of the biggest liberal criticisms of the market was that low-income people -- particularly blacks and Hispanics -- were excluded from ownership through "blackballing," "red-lining," and other forms of discrimination.

So the banks and mortgage markets responded. They invented "sub-prime" loans for high-risk customers and tried to spread the risk by bundling them into broader financial instruments. Eventually the market became overextended and we're all suffering the consequences. Only demagogues like Andrew Cuomo think this has anything to do with legerdemain.

See? The banks and mortgage markets were just trying to help out the blacks and the Mexicans like the liberals kept telling them to and this is the thanks they get for it. Now everybody's blaming them when the lazy blacks and Mexicans refuse to pay their bills ... as usual. (Try to do someone a favor...)

This is why we need to deport all the illegal immigrants and get "tough on crime" like the Republicans are urging us to. This crass exploitation of the poor banking and mortgage industry has got to stop. It's costing real Americans their homes!

Here's one just today from The Corner:

I have no way of judging whether the Wall Street bailout is a necessary evil or an impending disaster. But we're in this mess, ultimately, because our political elites thought it was good social policy to encourage banks to give mortgages to uncreditworthy people, resulting in what Sailer months ago called the "Diversity Recession" (if this doesn't work, make that the Diversity Depression). In other words, if poor people in general, or blacks or Hispanics in particular, were less likely to be approved for a mortgage, the only possible reason was racism or classism or whatever. Thus "creditworthiness" was an illegitimate, dead-white-male concept, like middleclassness. Because, after all, isn't everyone entitled to credit? Therefore, I propose any bailout bill start with these words: "It is the sense of Congress that credit is not a civil right."

It's hard to believe they can say this stuff with a straight face considering the pending trillion dollar bailout of their rich friends, but shame isn't part of their personal reality. Perlstein points out the particularly breathtaking hypocrisy of this line with this observation:

And you know what makes this whole conservative hustle all the more brazen? They spent the entire 2004 Republican Convention bragging about their supposed triumph in increasing minority homeownership.
They even had a cute little name for it: the ownership society.

At moment like these it's always important to remember the biggest bastard liberal black man of them all:

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Monday that Americans' preference for long-term, fixed-rate mortgages means many are paying more than necessary for their homes and suggested consumers would benefit if lenders offered more alternatives.

In a standing-room-only speech to the Credit Union National Association meeting here, Greenspan also said U.S. household finances appeared generally sound, despite rising debt levels and bankruptcy filings. Low interest rates and surging home prices have given consumers flexibility to manage debt, he said.

"Overall, the household sector seems to be in good shape," Greenspan said...

"American consumers might benefit if lenders provided greater mortgage product alternatives to the traditional fixed-rate mortgage," Greenspan said.

All those poor people who were promised they could afford their homes and adjusted rate mortgages because the housing market was going to go up, up, up, and they'd be able to refinance in a couple of years, should have known that their crazy Old Uncle Alan was just kidding. It's all their fault.