The economic collapse of 2008 was driven largely by the lending practices – making loans to people who can’t pay them back – supported by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.
They were great supporters of the Community Reinvestment Act signed into law under President Carter and reawakened under the Clinton administration. The goal of the law was to create means for lower income individuals to own homes – which, as it turns out, flew in the face of the laws of economics.
If you can’t afford something and you borrow money to purchase it, you’re going to be in trouble if you can’t pay it back. If this happens on a large enough scale – as it did in 2008 – then the entire economy is headed for trouble.
When I’ve made the case to friends that it was the policy mentioned above that led to the crash, some counter with, “Barney Frank and Chris Dodd didn’t force banks to lend to people who couldn’t afford it.” That is entirely true. They didn’t create any law, per se, that forced the loans, specifically. But when the government advocates for a policy or approach, private institutions and citizens ignore that advocacy at their own peril.
While Frank, Dodd and others didn’t “force” these loans, they made it clear through their prior behavior that they have no issues calling bank executives and industry leaders to testify to them, in front of the public, to make examples and villains out of them.
The government is in the unique position of being able to intimidate any individual or institution they want. It is we, the people, who have given our government such power with the promise that they rarely use it. However, conservatives believe our government is willing to use that power now more than ever before.
When President Obama would step into a room full of private industry leaders and tells them they had all better get on board for the new regulations he’s going to force on them, how likely do you think any of them are going to be to put up a fight or object? They know that doing so could subject them to tax audits, government investigations or even takeover (see General Motors).
(Why do you think President Trump’s records show he was giving money to Democrats and Republicans all over the place?)
This is another example of the argument technique of using one fact to make a point while ignoring the context of the situation and the realities of how people function. It is true that the government didn’t literally force banks to make the loans. But they certainly influenced them to do so.
The United States was founded on a fear and skepticism of government. It wasn’t that long ago – like the 60s and 70s – that liberals were prominently carrying the message “Question Authority.” They also brought us the slogan “don’t trust anyone over 30.”
But now that one of their own is in power, those sentiments seem to have disappeared. And at the same time, they look down at conservatives and Tea Party members who have put action to those words.
Conservatives don’t fear government as much as they do the collective. When there is a problem needing a solution, conservatives will look first to the power and creativity of the individual to solve it.
They will empower people to work on the problem and give them the resources they need to pursue it. Government will form a committee, hold a meeting, get people together and look for consensus. Meanwhile, the problem lingers on.
Look back at your own experience and think about which one has yielded the best results. You need the group together and informed so they can execute, but the best plan is usually one that originated from within the creativity of the individual mind. Unfortunately, government often works to stifle individual achievement because it makes the case for less government.
Individuals and small groups are also generally more invested in and passionate about a specific outcome. If a person, or a neighborhood has a tough problem, the people who are most likely to solve it are those who are most invested in that person or neighborhood.
Government bureaucracies are soulless and inhuman. They don’t consider or care about the human side of any situation. This is why conservatives fear the government and trust the individual.