Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The dishonesty of Barney Frank

Barney Frank is emblematic of all that went wrong with the housing crash. He did everything he could to encourage risky lending. Thomas Sowell lists statement after statement from Frank encouraging banks to make lowans to people who didn't have the normal qualifications to get mortgages.

Of course, now he has to run away from his own culpability in the crash and his responsibility for the federal government being on the hook for hundreds of billions in bailouts. How to do that when he is on record and tape encouraging Fannie and Frank in their risky lending and attacking anyone who attempted to rein in the lending? Why, just deny it and accuse the Republicans of being behind it all. Surely, no one would care about the actual facts, would they?
Barney Frank was all over the media, pointing the finger of blame at everybody else. When CNBC's Maria Bartiromo asked Frank who was responsible for the financial crisis, he said "right-wing Republicans." It so happens that conservatives were the loudest critics who had warned for years against the policies that Frank pushed, but why let facts get in the way?

Ms. Bartiromo did not just accept whatever Barney Frank said. She said: "With all due respect, Congressman, I saw videotapes of you saying in the past, 'Oh, let's open up the lending. The housing market is fine.'" His reply? "No, you didn't see any such tapes."

"I did. I saw them on TV," she said. But Barney Frank did not budge. He understood that a good offense is the best defense. He also understands that rewriting history this election year is his best bet for keeping his long political career alive.
Sadly, he may well be right that his dishonesty will be sufficient to win reelection. At least a GOP takeover of the House would remove him from directing any more programs to exacerbate the mess that he helped to create.