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Blood Libel

Let's rerun this sweet little snippet from Krauthammer:

I have little doubt that some, if not many, cases of malfeasance will emerge. But what we conveniently neglect is the fact that much of this crisis was brought upon us by the good intentions of good people.

For decades, starting with Jimmy Carter's Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, there has been bipartisan agreement to use government power to expand homeownership to people who had been shut out for economic reasons or, sometimes, because of racial and ethnic discrimination. What could be a more worthy cause? But it led to tremendous pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- who in turn pressured banks and other lenders -- to extend mortgages to people who were borrowing over their heads. That's called subprime lending. It lies at the root of our current calamity.

The right wing has been at pains to prove that the economic meltdown is A) not the fault of the Republican president, the banks, the investment class, deregulation or the Fed, but is, rather, 2) the fault of poor black people.

From McClatchy:

Federal Reserve Board data show that:

_ More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.

_ Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.

_ Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that's being lambasted by conservative critics.

Trillions of dollars of suspect credit has been laid at the door of the working poor, and of course, working poor minorities. It's a lie. It's a Weimar-era lie. It's scapegoating the Jew er, the "minority."

It's a theme that seems to have started with Krauthammer, but has been eagerly embraced by the usual suspects. That people could convince themselves that a global economic meltdown involving tens of trillions of dollars could have been caused by working class mortgage holders -- and let's not ever forget the deliberate inclusion of the word "minority" in all these slanders -- points to the continued existence of racism as a living, malevolent force in American politics.

This modern blood libel is not only a lie, it is deliberate, knowing, and very dangerous lie. If we really are on the verge of a deep recession, or even a depression, it is vitally important to the right wing that some "other" become a designated scapegoat. They have pointed the finger at "minorities." That's not an accident.

It is equally vital that decent people, of all parties, not let that lie take hold.

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“Blood Libel”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    When the bubble was growing and the economy humming along no one credited low-income, minority borrowers for being the "catalyst." How conveeeenient that when the thing up-ends its now all their fault

  2. Blogger kreiz1 Says:

    It's a much more palatable explanation than the Masters of the Universe fucked up.

  3. Anonymous lionheart Says:

    Sorry, I don't remember anybody making the accusation that loans to black people (or any other minority) being the culprit in this financial debacle. There are more poor white people in this country than poor black people, so empirically, I would guess that more whites defaulted than blacks. You are the one injecting race into the equation. However, your lord Obama was one of the attorneys sueing Citi (Bu­y­cks-Ro­berso­n­ v. Ci­ti­ba­n­k Fed­. Sa­v. Ba­n­k Fa­i­r Ho­u­si­n­g/L­en­d­i­n­g/I­n­su­ra­n­ce). It always amazes me that the ones injecting race into a situation inevitably accuse the other side of injecting race. Grow up.

  4. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:


    The quote is right there in the post.

    You can find the identical theme picked up by Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and others.

    You're an idiot.