John McCain -- Ignorant Meddler
I really, really don't like the idea of John McCain as the GOP nominee for 2008. Thankfully, every time I try to fool myself into thinking that he might not be a bad candidate, he reminds me of why I don't like him.
Take the mortgage "crisis" for instance. He was asked about it in a recent debate. Here's what he had to say:
I think that we've got to return to the principal that you don't lend money that can't pay it back. I think that there's some greedy people on Wall Street that perhaps need to be punished. I think there's got to be a huge amount more of transparency as to how this whole thing came about so we can prevent it from happening again.
When a town on Norway is somehow affected by the housing situation in the United States of America, we've gotten ourselves into a very interesting dilemma.
If necessary, we're going to have to take additional actions and particularly in cleaning up a mortgage. A mortgage should be one page and there should be big letters at the bottom that says, "I understand this document."
We ought to adjust the mortgages so people who were eligible for better terms, but were somehow convinced to accept the mortgages which were more onerous on them. We need to fix the rating systems, which clearly were erroneous in their ratings, which led people to believe that there were these institutions which were stable, which clearly were not.
(Via In the Agora.)
A few comments here. What about personal responsibility? A lot of people tried to buy homes that they couldn't afford. Isn't that a form of greed? I think both the borrowers AND the lenders were greedy. I think both should suffer the consequences of their actions.
Secondly, Senator McCain says that "erroneous ratings systems" fooled people into investing in unstable institutions. Maybe, just maybe, those institutions were stable right up to the point where they started making poor investments. Sometimes it takes a while to tell the difference between a poor investment and a risky, but worthwhile, investment. Maybe investing is risky business. Maybe people shouldn't invest in new, speculative investments unless they can afford to lose their money. Maybe Senator McCain should admit that he's not God and can't remove all risk from people's lives.
Thirdly, about that "town in Norway [that's] affected by the housing situation in the United States of America". It's called risk management. It's a way for companies to lower the risk of a new investment by spreading the risk across more investors. Companies won't make a lot of investments unless they can find a way to decrease the risk of the investment. Because the risk could be spread worldwide, companies made many loans that they never would have otherwise made. True, some of the loans went bad. But many of the loans went to people who were able to pay them off. Would you prefer that banks stopped lending money to risky borrowers?
Senator McCain, please leave the market alone. Your uninformed, ignorant meddling will only make things worse.