Published on
the Chicago Sun-Times

McCain Doesn't Grasp Cause of Finance Crisis

Andrew Greeley

There are a lot of ironies in the fire as a Republican administration, the most conservative since Herbert Hoover, strives to invest $700 billion to create a socialist financial system. The current president uses the same style of intense concern that was typical in his advocacy of the Iraq War, apparently the only tone he has available for a crisis.

He does not say, nor do the smart bankers, who will profit from this "emergency," which is the result of the "deregulation" that began with President Ronald Reagan. The deregulation policies have now made necessary more de-deregulation or re-regulation. Got it?

The spiritual heirs of Reagan are reaping the whirlwind that Reagan sowed. In charity, someone should point that out to Mr. John McCain. To modify the metaphor, the whirlwind is sweeping a lot of chickens who are coming home to roost.

Another irony in the fire is that the new incumbent presumptive, fresh from his economic brilliance in the "Keating Five" savings-and-loan scandal, continues to preach de-regulation. The causes of the present crisis, he tells us, are greed -- especially as revealed in the work of lobbyists (apparently not including those who dominate his campaign staff) -- "earmarks" legislation, intervention of government institutions like the so-called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bureaucracies. Moreover, the "Fed" should go back to assuring the public that the dollar is "sound," and he personally will fire the head of Securities Exchange Commission. Finally, Sen. Obama is to blame because he hasn't come up with a program of his own to match the Republican program.

Such a charge suggests that the Republican candidate either is fabricating again or didn't take his meds last week. He seems to have missed the point that the restoration of massive regulation by the Treasury and the Fed that he opposes (or may be opposing) is in fact Republican in origin. However, on Jan. 20, when he becomes our chief executive, he will be facing re-regulation mandates to which he is bitterly opposed -- though, again forgetting his meds, he can claim to have supported them all along.

Unquestionably, the last quarter-century has been greedy. Sub-prime mortgage brokers, bankers who "securitarize" mortgages, hedge fund directors, creators of derivatives and swaps, marketers of credit cards, and other financial services magicians have been driven by collective greed to produce massive swamps in which regulators are often hard-put to know who owns what and to whom that what may actually belong.

The senator from Illinois has suggested a plan of his own to distribute some of the geld to the poor folks who have been taken in by the Broadway/La Salle Street mountebanks. They won't be driven into the streets when their homes are repossessed and the senator from Arizona can return to his favorite homily on self-reliance, hard work, frugality, restraint, prudence and all those other admirable Protestant virtues. Sorry that you lost your home, but you deserved it because the Ponzi scheme called the housing market tricked you.

What makes me so sure that Sen. McCain will be the designate on Jan. 20? The media are now finally beginning to face the fact that this country isn't ready for a president with dark brown skin. Instead of that, it will choose the oldest man ever to run for the presidency, a cancer survivor whose successor is a born-again Christian to the right of the aforementioned Herbert Hoover. She will probably issue shotguns to the hungry so that they can go moose-hunting for supper.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

Andrew Greeley is a priest in good standing of the Archdiocese of Chicago for more than 50 years, a columnist for 40 years, a sociologist for 45 years, a novelist for 28 years, distinguished lecturer at the University of Arizona for 28, and research associate at National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago for 46 years.

Share This Article

More in: