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Old 09-07-2012, 12:31 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is online now
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I'm pretty sure this is actually the most important election in my lifetime.

Forum's pretty slow today. Allow me to speed things up with a super-wide view of the current political landscape.

You can thank me later.

I never like the idea of saying "this is the most important election of my lifetime" because it feels to hyperbolic. The only time I actually felt that way was during 2004 in the middle of the Bush presidency, but the Bush presidency gave way to the Obama administration, which is starting to unwind a bunch of the things I considered the Bush administration to have screwed up (the wars, the recession, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, Medicare's financial unsustainability). So it's pretty clear I overreacted in 2004. If only I had been a ChiefsPlanet poster then so you all could mock me for it.

All the other elections just seemed to be very important, because you can do a lot of things in 4 years when you've got the White House on your side.

The reason I think this election is so important, however, is because I don't think this election is about the next four years. I think the next decade of policy rests on this election's shoulders.

Obama was and is a game changer, politically. He represents the nation's fresh breath of anti-neoconservativism that the nation felt it needed in 2008 after Bush. Obama is unabashedly liberal, but incredibly charismatic and likeable (hardcore conservatives don't feel this way, but I assure you the polling has always suggested that everybody else does). The moment we elected him to was huge, as well, putting him right behind the 8 ball with the wars and the economy, a situation which clearly set him up for an extremely difficult four years.

If he is able to win reelection, it's possible that this country could face a true electoral realignment of Reagan proportions (or maybe even greater) within the next decade, the realignment that Rove so desperately wanted for Bush in 2004 but failed to achieve. I'm talking about a realignment that fundamentally changes the way the vast majority of the population views these two political parties.

I've written about this a lot on this forum, but I predict that no matter who wins the election in 2012, unemployment will drop like a rock in 2014 as the job openings/job applicant mismatches start to vanish and the pool of applicants adapt to all the job openings. Again, this is despite Obama or Romney being President.

But assume it is Obama. Then you're talking about, at the conclusion of 2016, a presidency that would have presided over a gradual but successful recovery from the worst recession in our and our parents' lifetimes, withdrawals from both wars in the Middle East, the killing of OBL, the passing and now implementation of full healthcare reform, and at least three SCOTUS judges... Even without Republican cooperation in Obama's second term, all these things would happen, with the only significant question mark being the unemployment situation, which I do believe will recover like gangbusters in a couple years.

If all these things happen, the contrast of the past two decades will be unbelievably stark in 2016: you can do it the Democratic way, like the charistmatic and successful Obama and Clinton admistrations did, and preside over successful economies and sane foreign policy, or you can do it the Republican way, like... George W. Bush.

Combine that with the demographic changes this country will be going over the next decade (Texas could genuinely become a swing state by 2020, for starters), and I believe we could be facing a realignment.

I think this would be especially likely if Hillary were to run in 2016. Barring a complete shitfit, she couldn't lose, running on the records of Obama and Clinton, who would both extensively campaign for her, giving her a 3-to-1 advantage over whomever the Republicans trot out. Thinking of what she could accomplish in the wakes of what these two Presidents have laid for her in terms of policy foundations, is mind boggling.

The Republican Party, in the face of this, would absolutely have to evolve from their current exclusivity, their current regressive tax policies, and embrace something more inclusive, more moderate, and less reactionary. More conservative, less reactionary regressive. And then you'd finally have the post-Boomer conversation about the true value of liberalism and conservativism that this nation has lost since the Vietnam war embedded the Boomer population in a decades-long culture war. This development would change the entire dynamic, and provide those weird things like "hope" and "change" that we've ridiculed for five years.

On the other hand, what if the Republicans win? Romney/Ryan '12.

Most of Obama's accomplishments would obviously be trashed. Healthcare reform would either be outright repealed, or simply not enforced and de-fanged until it could no longer accomplish much of anything. The Democratic goal of bringing back the Clinton tax rates for the wealthy would be a thing of the past; in fact, Romney and Ryan would move the offensive forward, attempting to bring their tax rates down even lower. The landmark regulations for the financial industry passed under Obama would almost certainly be neutered to the point of irrelevancy, in particular Consumer Protection.

But even more than his policies, the idea of what Obama represented would be defeated. The idea of providing more for the less fortunate, for collectivism and the social safety net, would suffer irreperable harm as Romney and Ryan get to benefit from an employment boom in 2014, something they will understandably take credit for and the public will understandably reward them for, embedding in the public psyche the idea that regressive policies somehow accounted for all of this, and cementing trickle-down economics as vindicated once and for all.

And while Ryan seems very green now, assuming Romney wins reelection, Ryan would be a powerful candidate under this philosophy in 2020 running against whomever the Democrats could put up. By then, barring any huge screwups or scandals by the Romney administration, the conversation between conservativism and liberalism would almost certainly vanish, and instead be between conservativism and libertarian regressivism.

You're talking about two radically different futures for the next decade-plus, one with generational realignment possibilities in my opinion.

All of it sparked from one election.

That's why I think this could be the most important election in our lifetimes.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:11 PM   #226
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My issue doesn't have anything to do with Bush. That's your issue and it's based on a lack of understanding of why we are where we are.
I disagree. You seem to state fannie and freddie and the dems created the realestate bubble like its fact. It's gravity. It's Hitler started WWII. And thats just not true. It's not accepted scientific fact.

From this month:
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/...crisis/250121/

Academic economic profiessors posted on the WSJ circa 2010:
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/...ancial-crisis/

Washington post about the big lie:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...OqM_story.html

You can google it yourself.

I'm not going to go on and on about this but your "facts" are not "facts" they are conclusions. And it seems that Republicans and anyone who hates anything realted to government are the ones subscribing to these "facts" when they are nothing but an individual or groups conclusion.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:28 PM   #227
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I disagree.
I finally figured out who BRC reminds me of. The born again Baldwin.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:49 PM   #228
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I finally figured out who BRC reminds me of. The born again Baldwin.
I was hoping for...........

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Old 09-09-2012, 09:55 PM   #229
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I was hoping for...........

Mitch Hedburg has been dead for a while now.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:57 PM   #230
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Mitch Hedburg has been dead for a while now.
cool, I can haunt your house now?
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:04 PM   #231
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cool, I can haunt your house now?
I just bought a 2-bedroom house, but I think I get to decide how many bedrooms there are, don't you? "**** you, real estate lady! This bedroom has an oven in it! This bedroom's got a lot of people sitting around watching TV. This bedroom's over in that guy's house! Sir, you have one of my bedrooms, are you aware? Don't decorate it!"
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:11 PM   #232
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I disagree. You seem to state fannie and freddie and the dems created the real estate bubble like its fact. It's gravity. It's Hitler started WWII. And thats just not true. It's not accepted scientific fact.
To be clear. No one has said any such thing. Although I certainly believe that a majority of the blame falls on Frank, there is plenty to spread around (Phil Gramm anyone?) What we have stated is that it is lunacy to try and lay this at BUSH'S feet as you are attempting to do. I am not a Bush fan. Rarely will you see me defend him... but I am a huge fan of ACCURACY.. and it's completely inaccurate for him to take the fall for the housing bubble. As a matter of fact, no serious person who has looked at the issue thinks so. Democrat or otherwise.

Now, let;s address your off topic links. (They are off topic because not one of them puts the blame on Bush as you have claimed)

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Ok this one is a complete joke which was thoroughly rebutted by Wallison if you read through to the end and his response. BUT again, the article blames Wall Street not Bush. And where did that deregulation occur? Under Clinton. To be FAIR it was pushed through by Phil Gramm but the Dems voted heavily in favor of it as well on the advice of Greenspan.

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Academic economic profiessors posted on the WSJ circa 2010:
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/...ancial-crisis/
This one is a weird one to link to. It's a hodge podge of different opinions, some of them completely contradictory to others. Some of them clearly support my view, others put more emphasis on global conditions, others point to banking deregulations, etc etc... not one blames Bush.

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Lastly we have a Washington Post article that has been debunked so many times it's not even fun anymore. Ritholtz follows the same black and white bullshit argument that Mins puts forth. There is no question that financial sector deregulation played a major role in this. BUT they ignore and distort and sometimes outright LIE about the roles played by Freddie and Fannie. Of course, if we just forget all that and take what he says as Bible truth... it still points to ... yet again... deregulation passed under who? Bill Clinton.

Let's be clear, I'm a huge Bill Clinton fan. This is not meant to bash him at all. I'm just not going to stand idly by and watch Bush (who I don't like) get blamed for something that had almost NOTHING to do with him.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:21 PM   #233
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WHAT THE ****? Seriously man, there is nothing revisionist here. Yes, the crash occurred during Bush's term... but the policies that led to it were enacted long before. Bush's failure was that he didn't do anything to stop the process, but he sure as hell didn't put that process in place.

You really need to go back and look into the facts on this because you are way way way off base here.
Are you seriously repeating the big lie? Are you referring to the CRA?
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:23 PM   #234
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This one is a weird one to link to. It's a hodge podge of different opinions, some of them completely contradictory to others. Some of them clearly support my view, others put more emphasis on global conditions, others point to banking deregulations, etc etc... not one blames Bush.
They were posted to prove my point that what had previously been stated as fact were conclusions. The links were someone elese conclusions. History will lay the blame and set the "facts".
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:24 PM   #235
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Lastly we have a Washington Post article that has been debunked so many times it's not even fun anymore. Ritholtz follows the same black and white bullshit argument that Mins puts forth. There is no question that financial sector deregulation played a major role in this. BUT they ignore and distort and sometimes outright LIE about the roles played by Freddie and Fannie. Of course, if we just forget all that and take what he says as Bible truth... it still points to ... yet again... deregulation passed under who? Bill Clinton.

Let's be clear, I'm a huge Bill Clinton fan. This is not meant to bash him at all. I'm just not going to stand idly by and watch Bush (who I don't like) get blamed for something that had almost NOTHING to do with him.
Now you're talking out your ass again. No one has debunked anything out of Ritholtz's column. You really are a blowhard that refuses to honestly look at the evidence. You have your mind made up and then actively seek out information that supports that view. Confirmation bias like a mother****er.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:25 PM   #236
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Bush drive for home ownership fueled housing bubble

"We can put light where there's darkness, and hope where there's despondency in this country. And part of it is working together as a nation to encourage folks to own their own home."

- President George W. Bush, Oct. 15, 2002

The global financial system was teetering on the edge of collapse when Bush and his economics team huddled in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a briefing that, in the words of one participant, "scared the hell out of everybody."

It was Sept. 18. Lehman Brothers had just gone belly-up, overwhelmed by toxic mortgages. Bank of America had swallowed Merrill Lynch in a hastily arranged sale. Two days earlier, Bush had agreed to pump $85 billion into the failing insurance giant American International Group.

The president listened as Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, laid out the latest terrifying news: The credit markets, gripped by panic, had frozen overnight, and banks were refusing to lend money.

Then his Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson Jr., told him that to stave off disaster, he would have to sign off on the biggest government bailout in history. Bush, according to several people in the room, paused for a single, stunned moment to take it all in.

"How," he wondered aloud, "did we get here?"

Eight years after arriving in Washington vowing to spread the dream of home ownership, Bush is leaving office, as he himself said recently, "faced with the prospect of a global meltdown" with roots in the housing sector he so ardently championed.

There are plenty of culprits, like lenders who peddled easy credit, consumers who took on mortgages they could not afford and Wall Street chieftains who loaded up on mortgage-backed securities without regard to the risk.

But the story of how the United States got here is partly one of Bush's own making, according to a review of his tenure that included interviews with dozens of current and former administration officials.

From his earliest days in office, Bush paired his belief that Americans do best when they own their own homes with his conviction that markets do best when left alone. Bush pushed hard to expand home ownership, especially among minority groups, an initiative that dovetailed with both his ambition to expand Republican appeal and the business interests of some of his biggest donors. But his housing policies and hands-off approach to regulation encouraged lax lending standards.

Bush did foresee the danger posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage finance giants. The president spent years pushing a recalcitrant Congress to toughen regulation of the companies, but was unwilling to compromise when his former Treasury secretary wanted to cut a deal. And the regulator Bush chose to oversee them - an old school buddy - pronounced the companies sound even as they headed toward insolvency.

As early as 2006, top advisers to Bush dismissed warnings from people inside and outside the White House that housing prices were inflated and that a foreclosure crisis was looming. And when the economy deteriorated, Bush and his team misdiagnosed the reasons and scope of the downturn. As recently as February, for example, Bush was still calling it a "rough patch."

The result was a series of piecemeal policy prescriptions that lagged behind the escalating crisis.

"There is no question we did not recognize the severity of the problems," said Al Hubbard, Bush's former chief economic adviser, who left the White House in December 2007. "Had we, we would have attacked them."

Looking back, Keith Hennessey, Bush's current chief economic adviser, said he and his colleagues had done the best they could "with the information we had at the time." But Hennessey did say he regretted that the administration had not paid more heed to the dangers of easy lending practices.

And both Paulson and his predecessor, John Snow, say the housing push went too far.

"The Bush administration took a lot of pride that home ownership had reached historic highs," Snow said during an interview. "But what we forgot in the process was that it has to be done in the context of people being able to afford their house. We now realize there was a high cost."

For much of the Bush presidency, the White House was preoccupied by terrorism and war; on the economic front, its pressing concerns were cutting taxes and privatizing Social Security, a government retirement and disability benefits program. The housing market was a bright spot: Ever-rising home values kept the economy humming, as owners drew down on their equity to buy consumer goods and pack their children off to college.

Lawrence Lindsay, Bush's first chief economic adviser, said there was little impetus to raise alarms about the proliferation of easy credit that was helping Bush meet housing goals.

"No one wanted to stop that bubble," Lindsay said. "It would have conflicted with the president's own policies."

Today, millions of Americans are facing foreclosure, home ownership rates are virtually no higher than when Bush took office, Fannie and Freddie are in a government conservatorship, and the bailout cost to taxpayers could run in the trillions of dollars.

As the economy has shed jobs - 533,000 last month alone - and his party has been punished by irate voters, the weakened president has granted his Treasury secretary extraordinary leeway in managing the crisis.

Never once, Paulson said in a recent interview, has Bush overruled him.

"I've got a boss," he explained, who "understands that when you're dealing with something as unprecedented and fast-moving as this, we need to have a different operating style."

Paulson and other senior advisers to Bush say the administration has responded well to the turmoil, demonstrating flexibility under difficult circumstances. "There is not any playbook," Paulson said.

The White House issued an unusually extensive, and highly critical, response to The Times article on Sunday, saying that it had shown "gross negligence" in its reporting and that the story "relies on hindsight with blinders on and one eye closed."

"The Times's 'reporting' in this story amounted to finding selected quotes to support a story the reporters fully intended to write from the onset, while disregarding anything that didn't fit their point of view," the statement said.

In recent weeks Bush has shared his views of how the nation came to the brink of economic disaster. He cites corporate greed and market excesses fueled by a flood of foreign cash - "Wall Street got drunk," he has said - and the policies of past administrations. He blames Congress for failing to reform Fannie and Freddie.

Last week, Fox News asked Bush if he was worried about being the Herbert Hoover of the 21st century. "No," Bush replied. "I will be known as somebody who saw a problem and put the chips on the table to prevent the economy from collapsing."

Darrin West could not believe it. The president of the United States was standing in his living room. It was June 17, 2002, a day West recalls as "the highlight of my life." Bush, in Atlanta to introduce a plan to increase the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million, was touring Park Place South, a development of starter homes in a neighborhood once marked by blight and crime.

West had patrolled there as a police officer, and now he was the proud owner of a $130,000 town house, bought with an adjustable-rate mortgage and a $20,000 government loan as his down payment - just the sort of creative public-private financing Bush was promoting.

"Part of economic security," Bush declared that day, "is owning your own home."

A lot has changed since then. West, beset by personal problems, has left Atlanta. Unable to sell his home for what he owed, he said, he gave it back to the bank last year. Like other communities across the United States, Park Place South has been hit with a foreclosure crisis affecting at least 10 percent of its 232 homes, according to Masharn Wilson, a developer who led Bush's tour. "I just don't think what he envisioned was actually carried out," she said.

Park Place South is, in microcosm, the story of a well-intentioned policy gone awry. Advocating home ownership is hardly novel; Bill Clinton's administration did it, too. For Bush, it was part of his vision of an "ownership society," in which Americans would rely less on the government for health care, retirement and shelter. It was also good politics, a way to court black and Hispanic voters.

But for much of Bush's tenure, government statistics show, incomes for most families remained relatively stagnant while housing prices skyrocketed. That put home ownership increasingly out of reach for first-time buyers like West.

So Bush had to, in his words, "use the mighty muscle of the federal government" to meet his goal. He proposed affordable housing tax incentives. He insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac meet ambitious new goals for low-income lending.

Concerned that down payments were a barrier, Bush persuaded Congress to spend as much as $200 million a year to help first-time buyers with down payments and closing costs.

And he pushed to allow first-time buyers to qualify for government insured mortgages with no money down. Republican congressional leaders and some housing advocates balked, arguing that homeowners with no stake in their investments would be more prone to walk away, as West did. Many economic experts, including some in the White House, now share that view.

The president also leaned on mortgage brokers and lenders to devise their own innovations. "Corporate America," he said, "has a responsibility to work to make America a compassionate place."

And corporate America, eyeing a lucrative market, delivered in ways Bush might not have expected, with a proliferation of too-good-to-be-true teaser rates and interest-only loans that were sold to investors in a loosely regulated environment. But Bush populated the financial system's alphabet soup of oversight agencies with people who, like him, wanted fewer rules, not more.

The president's first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission promised a "kinder, gentler" agency. The second was pushed out amid industry complaints that he was too aggressive. Under its current leader, the agency failed to police the catastrophic decisions that toppled the investment bank Bear Stearns and contributed to the current crisis, according to a recent inspector general's report.

As for Bush's banking regulators, they once brandished a chain saw over a 9,000-page pile of regulations as they promised to ease burdens on the industry. When states tried to use consumer protection laws to crack down on predatory lending, the comptroller of the currency blocked the effort, asserting that states had no authority over national banks.

The administration won that fight at the Supreme Court. But Roy Cooper, North Carolina's attorney general, said, "They took 50 sheriffs off the beat at a time when lending was becoming the Wild West."

The president did push rules aimed at requiring lenders to explain loan terms more clearly. But the White House shelved them in 2004, after industry-friendly members of Congress threatened to block confirmation of his new housing secretary.

In the 2004 election cycle, mortgage bankers and brokers poured nearly $847,000 into Bush's re-election campaign, more than triple their contributions in 2000, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The administration did not complete the new rules until last month.

Today, administration officials say it is fair to ask whether Bush's ownership push backfired. Paulson said the administration, like others before it, "over-incented housing."

Hennessey put it this way: "I would not say too much emphasis on expanding home ownership. I would say not enough early focus on easy lending practices."
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:25 PM   #237
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Originally Posted by KC native View Post
Are you seriously repeating the big lie? Are you referring to the CRA?
No. I am not one of the CRA crowd. I don't think Fannie and Freddie were FORCED to be irresponsible asshats by CRA. I think they did it entirely on their own. I see no conclusive evidence that had CRA not existed, Fannie and Freddie wouldn't have done the exact same thing.

What I DO disagree with are the apologists who claim that Fannie and Freddie are blameless or such a small part of the problem that they didn't matter. That's the real BIG LIE.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:26 PM   #238
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Dude, seriously, you are making yourself look very foolish and not well-informed. It was extremely well documented at the time that the credit crisis that led to the crashes was primarily caused by the loose credit policies of Fannie Mae that were implemented in the late 1990s. Barney Frank and his ilk denied it, but the evidence was overwhelming.
No there is no evidence to support the claim that Fannie and Freddie were responsible for the financial crisis.

The financial crisis was caused primarily by Greenspan's easy money policy and deregulation of the financial sector.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:27 PM   #239
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No. I am not one of the CRA crowd. I don't think Fannie and Freddie were FORCED to be irresponsible asshats by CRA. I think they did it entirely on their own. I see no conclusive evidence that had CRA not existed, Fannie and Freddie wouldn't have done the exact same thing.

What I DO disagree with are the apologists who claim that Fannie and Freddie are blameless or such a small part of the problem that they didn't matter. That's the real BIG LIE.
Fannie and Freddie were late to the subprime game. They got into the game because they were losing market share, not because of a government mandate.

Fannie and Freddie are peanuts in the grand scheme of the financial crisis.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:36 PM   #240
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Bush drive for home ownership fueled housing bubble
Did you bother reading beyond the headline? the only substantial bits are about the fact that Bush failed to stop an out of control process that started before he took office. The author also claims that Bush encouraged it... yet points out that he in fact wanted to reign it in but was blocked by Congress. As has already been stated. The blame on Bush for not doing more to stop it is a valid one. But a weak ass argument when it is clear where it all started.

You(not you in particular, but anyone) are lying to yourself if you can't see that this has little to nothing to do with Bush. To be fair, it has little to with Clinton even though most of it went through during his time in office. The bipartisan blame is at the doorsteps of Barney Frank and Phil Gramm. Both succeeded in setting the stage for this back in the 90s. Of course, there are many more factors to blame as well, some American, many global.. but if we are pointing fingers at individuals.. those two get first point.
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