Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Daily Dose of Depression (DDD)

 As we struggle to understand and prevent another Hoover or Bush Depression, pay attention to how the Repubs react.

Wall Street Whitewash  By PAUL KRUGMAN
. . . all four Republicans on the commission voted to exclude the following terms from the report: “deregulation,” “shadow banking,” “interconnection,” and, yes, “Wall Street.”

When Democratic members refused to go along with this insistence that the story of Hamlet be told without the prince, the Republicans went ahead and issued their own report, which did, indeed, avoid using any of the banned terms.
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Why won't the GOP's financial-crisis report follow the money?
By Bethany McLean
Slate Posted Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010

Now, get ready for a few of the [Republican F.C.I.C. member’s] primer's breathtaking conclusions. "Put simply, the risk of a housing collapse was simply not appreciated." Shit happens. ("Bubbles happen" is, in fact, the first sentence in the report.) How about some exploration of why consumer advocates—who in the 1990s began warning the Federal Reserve and members of Congress that people were getting loans they couldn't pay back—were ignored? Here's another genius insight: "The panic ended when confidence returned." That one inspired me to check the definition of panic (a "sudden overwhelming fear") to make sure I wasn't wrong to find this a bit redundant. Daylight appeared when the sun rose. War ended when the armies stopped fighting. Hurt went away when the pain subsided.

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December 17, 2010
Explaining the Crisis With Dogma  By JOE NOCERA

. . . When the commission was formed last year, there were high hopes that it could act as a modern-day Pecora investigation — which rooted out Wall Street corruption in the wake of the crash of 1929, and helped create the political groundswell for such key reforms as the Glass-Steagall Act. That investigation was led by Ferdinand Pecora, who held the country spellbound through some two years of nonstop investigations. Clearly, this effort isn’t going to come close to that one.
“I think we can officially stop comparing these guys to the Pecora Committee,” said Michael Perino, author of an engaging recent book about Pecora, “The Hellhound of Wall Street.” Mr. Perino added, “It is disparaging to Pecora.”

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