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From the RNC Convention to the “Mother Jones Videos,” Romney and his ilk have the gall to blame the working class (and Obama) for the 2008 economic collapse and ensuing fallout. For example, in September, Romney began running ads proclaiming (against a backdrop of Obama’s image): “...under President Obama... home values collapsed, home construction jobs lost, high rate of foreclosure.” The nonpartisan Politifact calls out Romney on these lies, reminding us that these woes “began well before Obama was elected. Analysts say they have been driven by a natural... market correction much more than by any government policies... the decline in home values happened on Bush’s watch....” But on Fox News and in conservative newspapers, we still find folks blaming the sheep for having been devoured by Wall Street wolves. Yes, a small percentage of working-class families defaulted on their home mortgages at the start of the biggest recession since the Great Depression. But minority homebuyers were mostly victims, not perpetrators. The mortgage meltdown was a direct result of Wall Street bankers’ manipulations: greedy brokers “selling bets” on over-leveraged home mortgage sausages called “derivatives.” Debt defaulted on by the lower middle class was a tiny fraction of the trillions lost in over-blown derivatives that collapsed. Nor can we scapegoat Democrats, as some do, citing Fannie Mae’s mistakes. The recession was NOT caused by government efforts to help minorities get home loans: “Between 2004 and 2007, private lenders originated three quarters of all subprime and alt-A mortgage loans.... The biggest culprits in the housing fiasco came from the private sector, and more specifically from a mortgage industry that was out of control.” (Washington-Post, January 23, 2012)
    And while many foreclosures were on sub-prime, small mortgages, more actual dollars were lost on upscale home defaults and wealthy Wall Street cons. Blue-collar folks were not working some scam; they wanted to stay in their homes, wanted to pay their mortgages—that’s why they’d saved up to buy a home in the first place. But a year before the Wall Street implosion, the country entered into an economic downturn—driven in part by greedy speculators who sent real estate and energy (gasoline) prices soaring. Consumers cut their spending, sales decreased, corporations began layoffs, the bubble burst, and a vicious downward spiral began. As always happens in a recession, the poor and working class, with the smallest cash-cushion, were hurt the worst. So naturally, some minority homeowner loans went into default. In the big picture, those losses were a drop in the 8-trillion-dollar bucket. The broker-bankers, speculators and insurance moguls caused the crash, then began a “bailout” raid on the public treasury that dwarfed minority home-repos. Behind the Great Robbery of 2007-2009, the real culprits were the Wall Street profiteers (who got billions in bonuses funded by taxpayers), not the “47% minority” that Mitt blames for all our woes... nor even the Democrats. All this began under Republican George Bush’s watch, so to blame it on Obama or on minorities is a rich irony. Pun intended.
    For more on this and other ridiculous “wolves blaming sheep” stories, read the book, Class Crucifixion: Money, Power, Religion and the Death of the Middle Class (which has over 200 footnotes of proof), available on Amazon.
~Rev. Dr. Lance Moore

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