Remember Rick Santelli's rant that put the bow on the tea party movement for FOX News? The media seems to willfully forget how important this rant was to mobilize them and shift the blame for the mortgage crisis from Santelli's Wall Street fat cats to the working class. The poor under-appreciated mortgage lenders and CEO's were the victims of people who couldn't afford to pay for a mortgage because they were too stupid to understand the legal documents, but got themselves a house anyway.
CNBC had one of their talking head panels with Larry Kudlow at the helm which focused on financial reform and the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Once the idea of predatory lending comes up the CNBCers get their freak on and blamed the uneducated poor people for all the destruction the housing bubble caused during the Bush administration as usual except for Janet Takakoli.
Look at about the 5-minute mark of this video — Janet Tavakoli debating Rick Santelli about predatory lending. You basically have a whole panel of CNBC goons pooh-poohing the idea that predatory lending took place, setting up the inevitable revisionist history that the 2008 crash was caused by individual homeowners borrowing beyond their means.
My favorite part of this comes roughly at the six-minute mark. Tavakoli has just deftly explained how a lot of the predatory practices worked — people with limited financial literacy were presented with long and complicated mortgage deals, and told they would have a fixed payment in perpetuity or a guaranteed re-finance, or were nailed by fraudulent appraisals. Then she mentioned the big one, the fact that investment banks then took all these mortgages and with eyes wide open securitized them and sold them off as worthy investments to suckers on the other end of the chain.
While she’s saying all this stuff, Santelli, who is one of the fathers of the Tea Party movement, is shaking his head furiously, video-scoffing at everything she’s saying. When he finally does get a chance to speak, this is what he says:
Here’s my problem with this. It takes two to tango. You can’t cheat an honest man.
You can’t cheat an honest man? What the f*&k does that mean? This whole scene sort of encapsulates what’s wrong with the Tea Party movement
Amen, brother Taibbi. Not many people watch these CNBC programs, but this is the narrative that Santelli and his brethren like Melissa Francis have helped to propagate into the main stream.
The Fox/CNBC types have very cannily latched on this narrative to rewrite the history of the financial crisis. They know that Tea Partiers will go for any narrative that puts blame on poor (and especially poor minority) homeowners, because the idea of poor blacks and Hispanics borrowing beyond their means fits seamlessly with their world view. But this is a situation where poor minorities were really incidental to a much larger fraud scheme that culminated in a welfare program — the bank bailouts — that dwarfs the entire “entitlement” infrastructure. But the millions of people who are actually in the Tea Party movement seem to have absolutely no idea that their so-called leaders, the Santellis of their world, are shilling for tax cheats and crooks and welfare bums of the sort they would despise (perhaps even more than their black and Hispanic neighbors), if they could actually see them.
Unfortunately all the elites, political and otherwise, have a vested interest in keeping the rubes focused on the blacks and browns so it's hard to see the mechanism by which they will be revealed. And that's the whole purpose of right wing populism.
Anyone who has taken out a mortgage knows how complicated the paper work is and you depend on the mortgage broker to be honest with you. That's not what happened when the money was flying around and these predators were sucking on the economy like Vampires in heat. Only they didn't stop with their usual victims (the American people) because of their blood lust and they sucked on it all the way through their own system as Taibbi points out until it crashed and burned.
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