This little exchange on O'Reilly's The Factor a couple weeks ago (November 27, 2013--the day before Thanksgiving, to be exact) sparked the most intense response I've received since appearing on the show. While the segment started out focusing on Ashton Kutcher's excellent remarks on the entitlement culture among young people today (we all agreed they were excellent), it quickly shifted to a more lively debate as to who was responsible for the mortgage crisis, and in turn, the economic collapse of 2008.
As you can see from the screenshot, Bill was none too happy with my assertion that it was not President George W. Bush (or greedy banks), but Presidents Carter and Clinton and their Community Reinvestment Act that bear the lion's share of the blame. Under the act, banks were forced to make loans to people who in many cases had no hope of ever repaying them. Yes, yes, I know it was more complicated than that, but I have about 30 seconds to make a point, folks!
My guess is that Bill was playing the devil's advocate to some extent--we've all seen his interview with Barney Frank and he knew what was going on. But I was a little surprised by the dismay my comments generated--I wasn't making a new pronouncement, but restating well-known facts.
I'm grateful for the outpouring of passion and fire on this one--and that, for once, they were not directed against me, but on my behalf! I must admit, I was stunned by how intensely people feel about this. But they should. This--the economic implosion--is what happens when government sticks its nose in and tries to meddle around to achieve a particular, redistributive outcome. It wasn't a little blip. It was a catastrophe, and the American people paid, and are still paying, a massive price. We need to get the causes of this right, lest it happen again. I think we all know, sadly, it's happening again, in different industries, as we speak. And the people will, again, pay the price.