Oped newspaper columns are beginning to appear in anticipation of the fifth anniversary of the 2008 housing bust that provoked the long recession from which the US and the world still struggles to recover. Most of these able articles describe the same terrain transversed in the opening pages of Discovery Sr. Fellow Jay Richards' new book, Infiltrated.
What leapt out at Jay's inaugural book party at Discovery headquarters in Seattle this week, however, was the new and wholly original information his book provides on the figures who helped drive the political push for irresponsible credit lending, Martin Eakes and Herb and Marion Sandler. The powerful left-wing propaganda machine they created may have been "well-meaning" (or not), but it certainly was deceptive, ruthless and immensely damaging. The massive funding behind it is daunting and frightening.
There is urgency as well as novelty in Richards' telling, since American government is still making many of the mistakes that lead to the 2008 crisis.
When you encourage people who cannot meet traditional credit standards to take out loans anyhow you should not be surprised when they default. And when enough of them default in succession, you have a crisis that affects us all.
In addition, as Richards demonstrates, the very members of Congress who caused the policy crisis in '08 (especially Sen. Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank) are responsible for the Dodd-Frank Act, a faux reform that has foisted a whole new, confusing and largely arbitrary regime on the country. You have to read the material in the book on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau slowly to fully grasp the horror of what this new bureaucratic monstrosity is capable of.
Infiltrated is not just a book about the lamentable recent past. It is a demanding cry for reform of the "reforms" of '09-10--the perverse reactions to '08 that threaten even worse results ahead.