ormer Texas Sen. Phil Gramm thinks advocates of greater financial regulation in the wake of the economic meltdown have it all wrong, said Eric Lipton and Stephen Labaton in The New York Times. Of course, Gramm has a stake in the matter. As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee during most of the Clinton years, Gramm pushed through legislation that loosened restraints on mortgage lending, derivatives trading, and banking. He was a top advisor to John McCain until he suggested that people complaining about the economy were “whiners.”
Now Gramm sounds a bit like a whiner himself, saying he’s been getting a bad rap. He lays the blame for the crisis at the feet of congressional Democrats eager to expand homeownership, “predatory borrowers,” and reckless financial institutions. Asked whether the deregulation he championed in any way contributed to the current mess, Gramm responds, “I just don’t see any evidence.”
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