Readers ice Berg
Rick Berg would like to blame politicians for causing our economic crisis ("Obama Bungles Blame Game," 3/6/09). He may be right, but for all the wrong reasons.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac held $168 billion of the $1.3 trillion sub-prime mortgage market. The other 88% came from banks, who can't claim they were "coaxed" into making bad loans.
The entire mortgage market in the U.S. is worth $10.6 trillion, a large sum, to be sure, but the equally toxic credit default swap market is worth at least $50 trillion. Neither banks nor Berg can rightfully blame this debacle on defaulting homeowners.
The sub-prime meltdown merely pulled back the curtain on a financial industry that was for too long allowed to make up its own rules. It is the banks that demanded the deregulation that put the world in the position it's in today.
The Republican business plan - to free market forces from government regulation - has been U.S. economic policy for the last 30 years. This was the dream of the GOP, and they lived it. I don't care how many Democrats went along with it, this is their baby.
Now Berg claims George Bush wanted greater oversight of the banking business, but was blocked by people like Democrat Barney Frank. Examples of government oversight under Bush include FEMA during Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq occupation and his intended Social Security privatization.
There is a strong Alice in Wonderland quality to the whole concept of blaming Democrats when Republican dreams become nightmares.
Years of Republican efforts to nullify regulation of the entire financial industry, unfortunately abetted by Democrat Bill Clinton, turned American finance into the wild west.
Why insult your readers week after week with this drivel from a party whose entire economic policy has clearly been an unmitigated disaster for the entire planet? We used to turn to journalists to learn the truth. I don't think this kind of "balance" is an adequate substitute.
Floyd A. Hummel
About those ads...
After reading your feature article "Streetwise in Madison" (2/27/09), I turned to the want ads assuming, incorrectly, that you no longer took ads for prostitutes. Imagine my surprise to see, on page 33, blatant ads leaving nothing to the imagination. Featured under "Misc. Services" was Sexy, Classy & Educated. The ad describes her physical attributes and declares "Great rates!" Your advertising policy states "No ads allowed referencing the exchange of sex for money." Did I miss something?