Speaking the truth helps focus the mind.
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It can be hard to get used to how much Garay talks about money in church, one loyal parishioner, Billy Gonzales, told me one recent Sunday on the steps out front. Back in Mexico, Gonzales’s pastor talked only about “Jesus and heaven and being good.” But Garay talks about jobs and houses and making good money, which eventually came to make sense to Gonzales: money is “really important,” and besides, “we love the money in Jesus Christ’s name! Jesus loved money too!”
From here Rosin arrives at this dazzling insight:
Many explanations have been offered for the housing bubble and subsequent crash: interest rates were too low; regulation failed; rising real-estate prices induced a sort of temporary insanity in America’s middle class. But there is one explanation that speaks to a lasting and fundamental shift in American culture — a shift in the American conception of divine Providence and its relationship to wealth.
Isn’t that amazing? While some people might suggest that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or the FHA — which is about to experience its bankruptcy — or the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 or its implementation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development or ACORN, which broke up Congressional hearings trying to reform it, or Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank who kept it going when all the danger signs began to appear, or Wall Street, which bundled these worthless mortgages, or the ratings agencies, which gave them all AAA ratings — that any or all of these might have conjured up a housing meltdown. But no, instead Rosin gives us a smug portrayal of some ambitious, churchgoing Mexicans in Charlottesville trying to secure a portion of the American dream.
This calls for some historical revision. Maybe we can blame the Great Depression on Billy Sunday and the recession of the 1970s of Reverend Ike. That some eccentric writer would float this theory at a New York cocktail party is perfectly understandable. That a major magazine would run the story on its cover is a national disgrace.
Then there’s Paul Krugman. Now I know there’s no sport in knocking Paul Krugman. Even President Obama has put some distance between himself and the Nobel Prize-winning New York Times columnist, whose only solution to everything is for the government to spend more money. But on the subject of U.S.-China relations, Krugman and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner seem to see eye-to-eye. Here’s what Krugman has to say about “China’s outrageous currency policy”:
China’s bad behavior is posing a growing threat to the rest of the world economy. The only question now is what the world — and, in particular, the United States — will do about it.
What are they doing that’s so terrible? They are buying dollars! It seems that, unlike the Fed and the Obama Administration, the Chinese do not want to see America’s currency degraded:
If supply and demand had been allowed to prevail, the value of China’s currency would have risen sharply. But Chinese authorities didn’t let it rise. They kept it down by selling vast quantities of the currency, acquiring in return an enormous hoard of foreign assets, mostly in dollars, currently worth about $2.1 trillion [emphasis added].
Many economists, myself included, believe that China’s asset-buying spree helped inflate the housing bubble, setting the stage for the global financial crisis.
By setting interest rates at zero, the Federal Reserve is trying to inflate the currency as fast as possible. What else do you do when you’re $12 trillion in debt? That’s what we did during the 1970s under Jimmy Carter, isn’t it? But China, which owns $1.7 trillion of this debt, is worried about the dollar losing value. So it enters in place of the Fed and offers support. And for this, Krugman and the Obama Administration say China is the problem!
Like fourth-generation heirs to some 19th-century industrial fortune, liberals have long forgotten where money comes from and are spending it as fast as they can with the inbred assurance there will always be more there. They have two simple lessons awaiting them:
a) You can’t go on forever
spending money you don’t have.
b) You can’t go on borrowing money to spend what you don’t have.
Our economic future is at stake. Republicans know this in their bones. That’s why they’re opposing just about everything Democrats are doing right now, from healthcare on down. Democrats have nothing to say in response except to ignore the situation and look for scapegoats — the religious right, China, whoever is at hand. Even with control of the Presidency and both Houses of Congress, they’re having a tough time facing reality. Be prepared. When they start losing power, they may become incoherent.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?