It has been a great week on the hypocrisy front. A couple of high points:
The hypocrisy of the apparatchiks: Joe Nocera amplifies some of the points I made in my column. The determination of the Republicans on the crisis commission to lay the blame on Fannie and Freddie flies right in the face of the evidence; and Nocera also adds some information on the curious switch of positions taking place. A few years ago the same people now attacking F&F for promoting loans to low-income borrowers were attacking F&F for … not promoting loans to low-income borrowers. Back then they castigated F&F by pointing to the fact that private lenders were making loans where the agencies refused to tread, now they say that it was F&F that lured the private sector into making those very same loans.
Whatever. It must be the government’s fault, because, you know, because.
The hypocrisy of the centrists: Just two weeks ago, the deficit was the great evil, and all the VSPs insisted that we needed fiscal austerity now now now. Then, magically, a big tax cut — increasing federal debt by more than the original Obama stimulus, and substantially raising the probability of making unaffordable tax cuts permanent — was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Why, it’s almost as if all the concern about the deficit was a front for opposing anything progressives might want, to be dropped as soon as debt was being run up on behalf of conservative goals. But that can’t be true, can it?
In a way, I almost welcome the frankness of someone like Ron Paul, who tells us that there’s no need for any kind of bank regulations. It’s crazy, of course — even Adam Smith called for bank regulations, comparing them to building regulations designed to prevent the spread of fires. But at least the guy’s consistent. - Paul Krugman
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