I got very upset with this Ben Bernanke interview, where he joins the rest of the policymaking architecture of the post-crisis era in making excuses for utterly failing homeowners. It's the same pabulum - stopping foreclosures is hard work (somehow the Obama team managed a multi trillion-dollar bailout with complex special purpose vehicles and emergency lending facilities, but loan modifications were too tough) and helping homeowners is unpopular (elite policymakers constantly congratulate one another for doing what's right instead of what's popular, but only when it comes to homeowners does the popular will become a stone wall).
This covering for failure has by now become familiar. But when combined with how homeowners on the edge continue to be treated every day. In the first of a three-part series, the Chicago Tribune reviewed over a million property assessments, finding that the Cook County assessor systematically inflated prices on low-income housing and deflated prices for the wealthy's homes.
Rather than using computer modeling, the assessments, which determine property tax amounts, are done partially by hand, without adhering to professional standards. There are no statistics on the "hand checks" that change what a Chicago homeowner owes in property taxes, but somehow they always seem to favor the rich and disadvantage the poor. And this is a Democratic county assessor, a machine candidate who raises millions from just the kind of people he's giving breaks to left and right.
This stunning corruption, combined with the relative indifference to the suffering of foreclosure victims, paints a disturbing picture of establishment malevolence. They not only don't care about the plight of the rank and file, they feel unencumbered to actually steal from them. And yes, Bernanke's excuse-making sets the table for this type of greed engineering. The culture of impunity and the failure of accountability represent a large reason why we have the government we have today.
Also, not an appearance, but an update to a prior appearance. I testified in April in the California Assembly about AB315, a bill to increase transparency on pharmacy benefit managers. That bill passed the Assembly last week. Cool!