Did hippies cause the US financial meltdown?

Like someone mentioned upthread, these sorts of propositions reek of an attempt to retroactively rewrite the 60s-era Culture War (of which actual hippies were but a mere fringe). Which come to think of it was NOT such a stunning triumph for the forces of the “Hippie” Left as is often believed. Sure, we got racial and gender integration, some social programs, freer sexual expression, dope and rock-n-roll. But down at the fundamental level we hardly moved in the direction of an utopian socialist free love culture, on the contrary within a decade we got the ascent of the Reagan Right (and later their would-be heir-pretenders the neocons) as a dominant force for the whole next generation, to the point people in public life run away from the epithet “liberal” like it were “leper”. The mainstream of the past generations, be they left or right sympathizers, had they been stoners or squares, jocks or nerds in school, bought into whatever was being sold at the time and we all share responsibility.

As to why should we want to assign “class” blame for this crisis upon the “hippies”, well, one could imagine certain factions using it as more ammunition for their arguments as if to say, “look: proof of what great harm they did to the economy; wouldn’t you say ALL the social and political influences brought upon our culture by that cohort are suspect?”.

I would be curious to see that as well. A lot of these so-called Hippy types went to liberal colleges like Berkeley, Yale, Harvard and so on. Where do people think investment banks hire from?

Chief Pedant is right. No one single group or person caused the financial crisis. Plenty of blame to go around:

  • People making $40,000 a year or less who thought they should be able to afford $500,000 homes.
  • Speculators trying to cash in the the real estate bubble
  • People who lie on their mortgage applications
  • Lenders who don’t do their proper due dilligence in order to sell more loans
  • Institutions who packaged mortgages into RMBSs and didn’t model the risk properly
  • Rating agencies who fail to adequately assess the risks of RMBSs.
  • Government agencies that pressured banks to make more loans to low income lendees
  • Failure of government oversight and regulatory agencies

Plenty of greed and blame to go around.
I hate hippies as much as the next guy, but I think “Generation Zero” appeals to a certain type of so-called “teabagger” conservative. From what I can tell, these people seem to fit a particular profile. Usually working or middle class. Not particularly well educated. Typically come from more rural states or regions. And they all have a sort of absolutist “Grandpa Simpson” political bent where anything that doesn’t involve working with your hands, fighting for your country, marrying your high school sweetheart, drinking beer while watching football and NASCAR or buying/hiring white anglo hetero non-Jewish/Muslim/Miscellaneous American is unpatriotic (and possibly gay). It is a very simplistic, un-nuanced, old fashioned view of the world.

Not that Liberals are any better. Many Liberals seem to have a “just do whatever the heck feels good” mentality. And that’s fine as long as you can figure out a way to support yourself and not bother anyone else. But a lot of them seem to be very anti-government and anti-corporation, and yet they seem to expect that these same institutions they are constantly fighting against should somehow provide the financial backing for their idealistic notions. In fact, much of Liberal ideology seems based on doing what they think is “right” regardless of the cost or unintended negative consequences.

"Hippies. They say they want to change the world, but all they do is smoke pot and smell bad. "
-Eric Cartman

Did you not read the numerous posts above yours?

Oh, yeah? Well, next time you’re desperate for a tied-dyed shirt or a hand-dipped candle, just don’t come whining to me!

Guilty as charged, now get off my estate!

So a bunch of people who spent the sixties stoned off their faces started getting serious about their careers in the seventies and then over the next few decades surpassed all their straight-laced contemporaries to become the masters of the universe? That’s some fucking generation America produced, those guys really were something special.

How about the late twenties/early thirties meltdown? The 1880s were a time of liberal hedonism in America too?

I guess blaming Jimmy Carter for the meltdown didn’t even pass the laugh test for conservatives so they’ve gone back to the old faithful.

:dubious: I think there’s a reasonable case to be made that liberals, however flawed we may admittedly be, ARE in some significant ways “better” than the homophobic, racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, anti-intellectual bigots that you’re describing here.

I agree that being anti-corporation is part of the liberal stereotype and isn’t uncommon among actual liberals, but I don’t know where you get the idea that liberals are typically anti-government.

Yes, gosh-darn those annoying liberals, always trying to do what they think is right. :rolleyes:

Let’s look at who was personally responsible then. Like you say, let’s look at the do-gooding liberals and think about the Community Reinvestment Act. Luckily for us the Board of Governors of the Fed looked into the subprime part of the meltdown and analysed all the subprime loans. This is what they found :

Our analysis of the loan data found that about 60 percent of higher-priced loan originations went to middle- or higher-income borrowers or neighborhoods. Such borrowers are not the populations targeted by the CRA. In addition, more than 20 percent of the higher-priced loans were extended to lower-income borrowers or borrowers in lower-income areas by independent nonbank institutions–that is, institutions not covered by the CRA.6

Putting together these facts provides a striking result: Only 6 percent of all the higher-priced loans were extended by CRA-covered lenders to lower-income borrowers or neighborhoods in their CRA assessment areas, the local geographies that are the primary focus for CRA evaluation purposes. This result undermines the assertion by critics of the potential for a substantial role for the CRA in the subprime crisis. In other words, the very small share of all higher-priced loan originations that can reasonably be attributed to the CRA makes it hard to imagine how this law could have contributed in any meaningful way to the current subprime crisis.

So Jimmy Carter isn’t to blame. I agree with you that it was all the no-document liar loans and total lack of lending standards that were to blame for all the bad loans being made. But who was responsible for that? Which president appointed a bunch of bank lobbyists, people who’d spent their careers trying to get banking regulation scrapped, to run the various federal regulators’ offices? It wasn’t a do-gooding liberal. Here’s a picture from a press conference these guys held just before the bad lending got going :

Yes, that really is a regulator taking a chainsaw to a stack of mortgage regulators.
However I don’t agree with you that you can blame individuals for buying houses they couldn’t afford. Because they were told that they could afford them by all the deregulated firms selling deregulated mortgage products. They were given a mortgage with a two or (mainly) three year teaser rate loan that was cheaper than renting for three years and told that “don’t worry when the loan jumps up (to unaffordable levels) because you can always refinance!” Except they couldn’t. And the firms making the loans didn’t give a shit either because they didn’t have to keep them till maturity anymore, they were only liable for the loss for the first six months (covered by the cheaper-than-renting teaser rate) and could sell them on to Wall Street for securitisation immediately. You can see from the chart below how all those loans that started after the end-of-2003 chainsaw presser started to reset, the banks holding the securities realised they weren’t so secure and the meltdown got going :

And we already went through this! We already went through an era of totally unregulated loans being made at artificially low interest rates to people who couldn’t really afford them which then set off a wider meltdown. It happened in the 1920s and went into meltdown in 1929. We actually had a financial commission who did a great job back then and when they looked at the bad loans part of the mess they saw it was caused by predatory lenders and decided to set up regulatory bodies to prevent predatory lending in future, because it turns out if you let unregulated unscrupulous scumbags into the lending business they find ways to take advantage of people who aren’t knowledgeable and have no consumer protection laws. You can guess what happened to those regulators, can’t you?

Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers’ ability to repay, making loans with deceptive “teaser” rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.
Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers.
Predatory lending was widely understood to present a looming national crisis. This threat was so clear that as New York attorney general, I joined with colleagues in the other 49 states in attempting to fill the void left by the federal government. Individually, and together, state attorneys general of both parties brought litigation or entered into settlements with many subprime lenders that were engaged in predatory lending practices. Several state legislatures, including New York’s, enacted laws aimed at curbing such practices.
What did the Bush administration do in response? Did it reverse course and decide to take action to halt this burgeoning scourge? As Americans are now painfully aware, with hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure and our markets reeling, the answer is a resounding no.
Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.
Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.
In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.
But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation…

Wait wait wait. Hold on.

Liberals are “very anti-government”? I thought liberals were the champions of more government, not less.

Does this mean that conservatives are now “very pro-government”?

I see your point, but actually I think the problem is not falling for the scam, but not paying the impossible to pay mortgage after they fell for the scam.

It has always amazed me that people who regard taking away someone’s money because you’re bigger and stronger is wrong, but outsmarting people is ok.

Liberals are only “anti-government” when the government is run by jewels like Nixon and Shrub. Liberals are for government that helps feed the hungry and provide medical care to those who can’t afford it. Liberals are against governments that start purposeless wars, spy on the general public, and torture people.

Conservatives are just the opposite.


That’s just some bullshit meme that’s been repeated so often it is a conservative article of faith.

Aha! That’s why it didn’t show in the covers collections, it was not a monthly issue!

The username? Like the Soviet approved “humor” magazine? Droll.

Krokodil has google-fu, doo-dah, doo-dah,
Krokodil has google-fu, all hail Krokodil.

We are not worthy.

From what I can tell, Liberals and Conservatives are “anti” and “pro” government when it suits them. They just believe the government should be doing different things. Do you think hippies want MORE government?

You mean the government that keeps greed freaks from turning our rivers into chemical baths, or the government that sends our kids off to futile and pointless wars? Goes a long way when we consider whether or not government is groovy.

Exactly! I found a book of cartoons from KROKODIL and became a fan. They were surprisingly heavy on classical references.