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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Personal responsibility

For my money, this was Palin's best moment tonight (particularly the line below in bold):
IFILL: ...Now, let's talk about -- the next question is to talk about the subprime lending meltdown. Who do you think was at fault? I start with you, Gov. Palin. Was it the greedy lenders? Was it the risky home-buyers who shouldn't have been buying a home in the first place? And what should you be doing about it?
PALIN: Darn right it was the predator lenders, who tried to talk Americans into thinking that it was smart to buy a $300,000 house if we could only afford a $100,000 house. There was deception there, and there was greed and there is corruption on Wall Street. And we need to stop that. Again, John McCain and I, that commitment that we have made, and we're going to follow through on that, getting rid of that corruption. One thing that Americans do at this time, also, though, is let's commit ourselves just every day American people, Joe Six Pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say never again. Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars. We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings and we need also to not get ourselves in debt. Let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card. Don't live outside of our means. We need to make sure that as individuals we're taking personal responsibility through all of this. It's not the American people's fault that the economy is hurting like it is, but we have an opportunity to learn a heck of a lot of good lessons through this and say never again will we be taken advantage of.
UPDATE 10/3, 1:40 PM: Jacob Sullum disagrees, arguing against the very concept of predatory lending: "Exactly what is a predatory lender, and how does he profit by lending money to people who can't pay him back? That sounds more like a stupid lender." How about: lending such that the borrower is on the borderline of being able to pay back; focusing on short-term profits and assuming you won't be in the job once the bill comes due; passing the risks onto other institutions via opaque mortgage-backed securities; assuming the government will bail out your own institution if a lot of borrowers default. These seem like predatory practices to me.

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