Friday, January 28, 2011

On the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report

Peon is not really very interested in this report, certainly not sufficiently interested to read all of it--or any of it, for that matter. Peon likes Naked Capitalism's take on it, and will therefore not repeat what's already been written there, although she disagrees that the housing bubble wasn't central to the meltdown. Whatever financial shenanigans was going on, the bubble ruined more lives than all the synthetic CDOs put together. Peon is particularly irked by the "we all share the blame" assertions. We do not all share the blame. People who were desperate to buy a house or to get money for repairs or were scammed into believing that subprime mortgages were a good idea do not share the blame. They were victims of both the bad actors on Wall Street and venal politicians and regulators willing to do the bidding of Wall Street. They were also victims of a political economic system that refuses to address the housing problems of the poorest half of the population--people who have to pay high prices for lousy housing in mediocre to dangerous neighborhoods, and have little to no security of tenure in said housing.

What's most infuriating in this "we all share the blame" number is that tenants in foreclosed properties have suffered far more than Richard Fuld ever will. Tenants Together produces a yearly report detailing the impact of foreclosures on tenants. You can read the actual reports for 2008, 2009, and 2010. In 2008, while Kathleen Fuld was shopping at Hermes, some 225,000 California tenants were being evicted from their homes, some with as little as 30-days' notice. In 2009 and 2010 an additional 413,000 tenants lost their homes, bringing the 3-year total to 638,000 tenants, who got to "share the blame" without ever getting a single sou from selling a derivative.

Frankly, at this point, I'm more interested in other issues--whether I can get a ficus to survive more than six months in my living room, whether I can get fancy-leafed begonias to grow at all in Sacramento, whether I'll have to drag J to Berkeley to get cape mallow.

No comments: