Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Seen and Unseen (I didn't mean to)

'I didn't mean to!'

I hear that a lot from my kids. Whenever something happens, one kid is crying and the other is saying 'I didn't mean to, it was an accident.'

It really doesn't matter what you 'meant' to do, what matters is what you did do. So my daughter may not have meant to hit her sister in the eye with the snow shovel, but she did.

The result is the same whether you meant to do it or not.

Similarly, most politicians don't mean to cause the social problems they do, unemployment, poverty, single motherhood and such things. But they do.

The crisis of the hour is sub prime lending. Oh my, poor people who can't afford loans got them and now can't pay them back.

Why did those stupid bankers lend money to people without the habits and values that would make them good credit risks? Why lend to known poor credit risks?

Politics. Banks go in and out of favor as the industry to blame for social problems. For many years now banks have been threatened with lawsuits if fewer than the approved numbers of people in various groups receive loans.

So banks ignore the rules that used to pertain and hand out loans willy-nilly. Money was very cheap and plentiful, and not making the loans meant not only losing money but maybe getting sued for discrimination.

I have yet to hear a pol say that the sub-prime mortgage problem was caused by the government. Always pointing fingers at someone else. But as I tell my kids, when you point a finger there are three fingers pointing back.

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