Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Who Caused the Economic Crisis?

Who Caused the Economic Crisis?
October 1, 2008 blames McCain advisers. He blames Obama and Democrats in Congress. Both are wrong.

A Political Action ad plays the partisan blame game with the economic crisis, charging that John McCain’s friend and former economic adviser Phil Gramm “stripped safeguards that would have protected us.” The claim is bogus. Gramm’s legislation had broad bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Clinton. Moreover, the bill had nothing to do with causing the crisis, and economists – not to mention President Clinton – praise it for having softened the crisis.

A McCain-Palin ad, in turn, blames Democrats for the mess. The ad says that the crisis “didn’t have to happen,” because legislation McCain cosponsored would have tightened regulations on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But, the ad says, Obama "was notably silent" while Democrats killed the bill. That’s oversimplified. Republicans, who controlled the Senate at the time, did not bring the bill forward for a vote. And it’s unclear how much the legislation would have helped, as McCain signed on just two months before the housing bubble popped.

In fact, there’s ample blame to go around. Experts have cited everyone from home buyers to Wall Street, mortgage brokers to Alan Greenspan.

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