Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Earth to Doug Holtz-Eakin

I had thought I was done with the occasional Doug Holtz-Eakin-bashing after the 2008 campaign. I only did it because I expected better from him. So in a way it was a compliment. And indeed much of the time during the campaign he said inconvenient but true things, rather than the crazy hack things that drew my ire, and that a campaign normally assigns to run-of-the-mill politicos, rather than to serious credentialed economists. It was more than disappointing, as well as gratuitously harmful to his reputation and that of the economics profession generally that he engaged in sporadic hackery; it was downright weird. But a campaign can put one under strange pressures, which is one reason why I would never join one.

Today, however, after a cooling off period of several days I find it just too hard not to respond to the news of Doug's joining the organized Republican dissent from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. They appear to argue that there was nothing wrong in the way financial institutions were operating - it was all Fannie, Freddie, and the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (that evidently slow-acting time bomb that also somehow exploded across Europe).

They also apparently demanded that the main report not use the terms Wall Street, deregulation, interconnectedness, and shadow banking, and followed this strange counsel in their own document. This is essentially the photo negative version of writing about the Chicago Bulls' championship teams without mentioning Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen. (Come to think of it, that may be how the Jerry Krause version would look.)

Rather than continue my own rant, why don't I simply link here to the wise words of Barry Ritholtz.

A distressingly crass explanation of why Doug is doing this is probably, on balance, the most complimentary one available.

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