Friday, November 25, 2011

Lest we forget

I was reminded by this piece in Forbes of a conversation (more of an argument) I recently had with some acquaintances. They were insistent that the real cause of the financial crisis in 2008 was a law passed in 1977. When I called them on that (how can a law passed in 1977 cause a crisis in 2008? Shouldn't it have kicked in before that?) they changed the meme. It was passed in 1977, but it was changed in 1997.

So it wasn't Carter's fault, it was Clinton's fault. I was beginning to sense a pattern, as they skipped over all POTUS with (R) following their names.

When the raw math (see the piece in Forbes for starters) was presented to them, they then said the amount of lending didn't matter. Regulations on the financial market caused those involved in said markets to develop a mental block. Regulation causes stupidity. Not short-term greed. Regulation.

These folks with no connection whatsoever to the derivatives industry were convinced they had insight into the psyche of that industry, and claimed to be able to divine the motivation of random bond traders they have never met.

It was an amazing bit of cognitive dissonance - no matter what, it was the fault of a) Democrats and b) Government. No amount of evidence confirming the greed and stupidity of Wall St. caused them to examine their beliefs, rather it just pushed them further down the road towards daft conspiracy.

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