Naturally, the two presidential candidates are moving quickly to deal with this crisis -- that is, to blame it on everyone except themselves. John McCain and his surrogates are pushing the dubious notion that the primary problem is a lack of transparency and accountability. He might send someone down to Lehman's trading floor to ask the people packing up their desks whether they feel they've gotten away with something.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama is pointing the finger at John McCain, or at least Senator McCain's ideas:The challenges facing our financial system today are more evidence that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren't minding the store. Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.
I certainly don't fault Senator McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to.
This may play well on television, but it is rather disappointing coming from the man who promised us a new kind of politics. There have been no significant changes to the financial regulations in the last eight years that might credibly have created this crisis (the one major alteration, Sarbanes-Oxley, moved things in the other direction). And it's hard to blame loosened oversight when the entire market systematically overvalued the now-toxic securities. Lehman Brothers was not, after all, trying to put itself into receivership for the sheer joy of molesting taxpayers.
Worth reading the rest of it.
It's a little disconcerting to have both major party candidates running as populists. Of the primary candidates in both parties this year, I think the one who might have been best-qualified to deal with the financial crisis was Mitt Romney. He didn't have the sorts of qualifications the American public seems to prefer this year though: he wasn't raised by a single mother, didn't spend any time in a POW camp, didn't live until age ten in Scranton, PA, didn't seem like he actually liked hunting, etc.