As far as I'm concerned, Peggy Noonan is one of the finest writers in America.
I make my son read her editorials in the Wall Street Journal (he hates it) ... (I don't care).
Here's her analysis of what went wrong with the mortgage market.
Click anywhere below to get the entire piece.
You, for political reasons, both Republicans and Democrats, finagled the mortgage system so that people who make, like, zero dollars a year were given mortgages for $600,000 houses.
You got to run around and crow about how under your watch everyone became a homeowner.
You shook down the taxpayer and hoped for the best.
"Democrats did it because they thought it would make everyone Democrats:
'Look what I give you!'
Republicans did it because they thought it would make everyone Republicans:
'I'm a homeowner, I've got a stake, don't raise my property taxes, get off my lawn!'
And Wall Street?
We went to town, baby.
We bundled the mortgages and sold them to fools, or we held them, called them assets, and made believe everyone would pay their mortgage.
As if we cared.
We invented financial instruments so complicated no one, even the people who sold them, understood what they were.
"You're finaglers and we're finaglers.
I play for dollars, you play for votes.
In our own ways we're all thieves.
We would be called desperadoes if we weren't so boring, so utterly banal in our soft-jawed, full-jowled selfishness.
If there were any justice, we'd be forced to duel, with the peasants of America holding our cloaks.
Only we'd both make sure we missed, wouldn't we?"
I think that just about covers it.