Sunday, November 6, 2011
Our Bright And Shining Elite
His CDOs flew too close to the sun.
Shorter Ross Douthat: Alas, if our meritocracy had only been taught humility!
I don't know if Master Ross came up with this all on his own like a big boy or if he heard it in a sermon during Mass but this meme has legs. All our elite need is a little Old Time Religion and they can go back to ruling the world just like God and Nature intended.
It's strange, however, that Ross doesn't mention money once when discussing why our elite screwed the chunky pooch. It's all they're-to-smart-for-their-own-good and if-only-they-had-accepted-Jesus-as-their-personal-savior. There is no mention of how the rich became much richer or the immorality of income inequality.
Sigh. If only we had smart and moral people to lead us, like little Ross Douthat!
Posted by Susan of Texas at 10:48 AM
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why our elite screwed the chunky pooch
Hey, I'm not a chunky pooch! *sniff*
And I didn't even get a kiss afterwards.
What the hell was that? The "elites" of the last ten years?
The Rightwing has been carrying water of the 1% for over a century. With a few word changes this story Ross wrote would've been filed for William Randolph Hearst about the dangers of educating (ahem) certain classes of people or allowing women to vote...
Blogspot is bloggered today, but the Times site is worse.
Do you suppose Ross thinks he got his job on merit?
Absolutely. I'm sure he thinks he's right and can't understand why everyone else doesn't feel the same way. He has the elite education and the elite job and the respect of his peers; why wouldn't he think he's the best and brightest?
The funny part is that Ross, a born moralist, consistently declines to take the moral measure of the avaricious, the vainglorious, and the other scumbaggious fuckheads that actively, wittingly control the levers of power.
Instead, they're "too smart for their own good," like naughty teenagers whose high spirits do occasionally land them in scrapes. The systematic removal of legal restraints on greed; the barely-disguised corruption of the Supreme Court; the lies leading to Iraq, etc., etc.: to Ross they're all just lamentable flaws in "our" meritocracy.
If our elites had donated more money to the Junior Anti-Sex-League, none of this bad stuff would have gone down.
How can a moral scold discuss a moral topic and leave out morality? I'm going to tell Baby Jesus on him.
Ross Douthat has a friend in the President Obama who stated at a presser that Wall Street's role in Economic collapse was "reckless, immoral, and undisciplined, but not illegal" --this is beltway/MOTU messaging. Obama's chugging 1% Kool-Aid too.
The difference between Moralists and people with morals: Moralists apply standards to others but never their own because they're super-moral exemplars. Moral people apply it to themselves and hope to serve as examples. It's all about ENTITLEMENT.
And what does gallant Ross think of "Entitlements"? "Fine for me(1%) but not for thee(99%)."
You disagree with that statement by the president? With rare exceptions, I expect that most of what led to the crash was legal. The bankers wrote the laws, after all.
The design may have been legal, but the implementation was saturated in crimes.
In 2005, for instance, Washington Mutual did an internal audit of two of Long Beach’s biggest offices, one in Downey, California, and one in Montebello, California. They found that 53 percent of the Downey loans involved some type of fraud, while the number in Montebello was 83 percent. The internal investigation drummed up the usual litany of unsafe financial sexual practices, using white-out to disguise low income levels, cutting and pasting info from good borrowers onto the loan applications of less worthy applicants, and so on.
So you know what WaMu did about all that fraud they found? Zip.
The company overrode its auditors and sold those phony loans off into the market anyway. And internally, they did nothing to change lending practices. WaMu did a follow-up investigation in 2007, and found the fraud rate at Montebello was still 62 percent.
Which is a reminder : In a big institution, Countrywide, Penn State or the Catholic Church - institutional practice trumps law every time.
Lurking Canadian, I read what I think is an excellent link at naked capitalism today.
Attorney General Holder made two extraordinary statements at that hearing demonstrating his utter ignorance. Chairman Angelides asked Holder to explain the actions the Department of Justice (DOJ) took in response to the FBI’s warning in September 2004 that mortgage fraud was “epidemic” and its prediction that if the fraud epidemic were not contained it would cause a financial “crisis.” Holder testified: “I’m not familiar myself with that [FBI] statement.”
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