AngryFrenchGuy

How Do You Call a Quebecois Who is Not a Minority?

with 131 comments

quebecois-pur-laine

How do you call a regular generic Canadian?  You know, a white guy called Rob or Bill with a last name that starts with W and ends with ON?

Or what about an American (see description above)?

You just call him a Canadian or an American, right?  If need be you could call him an Anglo or a white guy or a WASP, but unless race or ethnicity is an issue, you just use the standard issue label, right?

That’s the way it was supposed to work in Québec too.  In French the label Québécois was taken up PRECISELY to shed the baggage of the old French-Canadian label that implied that you were White, Catholic and had way to many siblings.  A Québécois would be someone who lives in Québec.  Period.

Sadly, it seems that even Them, the Franco-French-North Americans of French Expression, have picked up the very sad and even dangerous English-language concept of using the word Québécois to define not anyone who lives in Québec, but specifically one group of people, the white French-speaking men an women who have at least one uncle in either Gaspésie or Saguenay.

I have friends, born here, French-speaking, not especially fervent Canadian patriots, who will say things like: « Mon boss est Québécois », as if, because of their Viet Namese or African Roots, they weren’t Québécois themselves.

People, for a variety of reason, need a word to identify THEM.  Whether it is to express solidarity, denounce exclusion or spew out racist prejudice for profit in Canada’s daily newspapers, people need a word that points to THEM.  Since we need to protect the use of Québécois as a generic label that includes all the members of our civil society, even those we don’t like, it is time we pick an official label for THEM.

Many are already in use.  Pick one, people:

Pur (Pure) Laine: The most commonly used word in the English language to designate the Them.  The notion of purity is part of the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars inspired vision of Canadian multiculturalism that celebrates a motley crew of men and women in easily identifiable folkloric costumes who fight evil separatists before returning to ethnically segregated ghettos.  This is what John Porter called the Vertical Mosaic in 1965.  Jews get +3 business ability points and Them get +5 in goaltending.  Just as in the Lord of the Ring, English-speaking white males with no special skills have all the command jobs.

De Souche: Literally « of the stump », as in a tree stump.  This is the more common word used in French to designate Them.  The tree is indeed a nice image to describe a people, any people.  Out of innumerable and invisible roots a common trunk emerges before, once again dividing up into hundreds of branches that reach to the sky (take that poet-laureate!)  Sadly the Québec version of the image carries the weight of it’s terminal loser syndrome, the stump symbolising where the tree was cut down to make way for a Tim Horton’s parking lot.

French-Canadians: French-Canadian has a quaint old fashioned feel that evokes horse-drawn sleds and midnight mass.  Although still commonly used by Them when travelling abroad to avoid the whole « What’s a kweebeekwa? » conversation, most don’t use it at home.  Federalists feel they are full patch Canadians and indépendantistes don’t feel they are Canadian at all.

Paleo-Québécois: As opposed to Néo-Québécois.  A commenter on this forum came up with that one.  It is the AngryFrenchFavorite.

Written by angryfrenchguy

May 3, 2009 at 3:22 pm

131 Responses

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  1. Je ne cherche pas de bouc émissaire. Nous tous responsables du marasme actuel. C’est la société québécoise dans son ensemble qui dort au gaz. Ce n’est pas la faute d’un seul homme, ni la faute d’un parti. C’est notre faute à tous. Le peuple québécois n’a pas à chercher hors de lui. Il est son propre ennemi. L’ennemi est dans notre propre tête. Il est dans notre paresse, dans notre inconsistance, dans notre conscience collective angélique, notre fatigue congénitale.

    Où sont ils les intellectuels organiques? Où sont ils les artistes engagés? Où est le mouvement ouvrier? Et les jeunes, les vieux, les immigrants, les femmes et les hommes de ce pays? Ils se cherchent des excuses pour refuser le seul combat vraiment révolutionnaire de ce coin d’Amérique. Celui de la liberté. Ils prétendent s’intéresser enfin aux « vraies affaires ». C’est quoi exactement les « vraies affaires »? Le niveau de chlore dans leur piscine Citadelle à marde? Les taux d’intérêt de leurs fonds de pension? Leurs problèmes de prostate ou de cellulite? Leur vie d’homme rose ou leur féminisme americano bourgeois de Barbie blanche et siliconée? Ils semblent préférer arpenter les Réno Dépôt, les Canadian Tire ou les Tim Horton à la recherche d’un bonheur jetable, en plastique de préférence.

    Je déteste les gérants d’estrades cyniques et les donneurs de leçons professionnels. Si je prends la parole, c’est comme un simple militant. Un militant parmi tant d’autres. Ma parole ne vaut pas plus que celle des autres militants. Elle ne vaut pas moins non plus. Pour moi, la lutte pour l’indépendance est une lutte pour la vie ou la mort. Comme disait Miron, « la mort des peuples c’est aussi la mort de quelqu’un ». Et la libération du peuple québécois va bien au delà des problèmes de traits d’union, de stratégie référendaire à la graisse de binnes, de sondages bidons du Globe and Mail raciste, d’analyses politiques insignifiantes de commentateurs débiles payés grassement pour faire la job.

    La lutte pour l’indépendance est une lutte quotidienne, faite de petits gestes quotidiens. C’est une lutte à tous les niveaux, dans tous les secteurs de l’activité humaine. Pas seulement une lutte parlementaire. Il s’agit d’être, de vivre. Notre lutte est une lutte pour la culture, dans le sens anthropologique du terme, pas dans son sens réducteur des « zarts zartistiques ». Chaque geste, chaque mot, chaque action, aussi minime soit elle, qui fait exister la culture québécoise, un peu plus chaque jour, est un fait de résistance, un pas vers la libération. Quel que soit le secteur d’activité, sport, mécanique, agriculture, vêtement ou poésie. Il s’agit d’être le grain de sable dans la machine bien huilée du néo colonialisme canadian, de l’impérialisme américain, de l’esclavagisme climatisé des multinationales. Courage!

    http://www.pierrefalardeau.com/content/view/20/2/

    He’s the greatest intellectual we have. That’s not saying much, but if he’s an embarrassment, what are we all?

    deprenyl

    May 6, 2009 at 2:11 pm

  2. Acejack,

    Hijacked identities are a problem. Of course not every Quebecer lives at the place where the river narrows. However, over time identities redefine themselves.

    Fon

    May 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm

  3. Aight check this:

    I’m cashmere-silk blend.

    Fon

    May 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm

  4. We’re embarrassed.

    Fon

    May 6, 2009 at 5:27 pm

  5. One more idea for a substitute term for “Paleo-Québécois,” with a tip of the hat to Fon: Franco-blanco.

    littlerob

    May 6, 2009 at 5:57 pm

  6. Sure, many people when faced with that situation feel as if they are being forced from the identity of citizenship (be it Quebec or Canadian) which they then repudiate. That said, many people of immigrant or minority ethnic origin often feel the pull of the heritage if it’s fairly recent.

    Obviously the language with which we frame the discourse on identity contributes to how we see and experience identity. I think AFG’s point with this whole post is to create a dialogue of equality so that everyone can feel that the term Québécois belongs to all.

    I think that’s a great goal, but there’s a lot of work to do. You’re obviously well-intentioned and I laud you for that, but your “homogeneous background” colours the way you speak and may then also affect the way others perceive themselves. For example if I tell everyone I am short, because I wish the word to mean biped whether short or tall, I won’t change the meaning of the word. Nor will I change the fact that society probably sees me as tall. After a while despite my self-appellation “short” I will probably internalize the identity of a tall person (volunteering to help shorter people reach high up, asking to be goalie in soccer games, etc). So the identity is, in part, constructed by how a person believes society perceives him or her and not solely by how he or she wishes to be perceived.

    Fon

    May 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm

  7. Actually, it’s more about undergarments than fur…

    Pure Laine

    May 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm

  8. `He’s the greatest intellectual we have.`

    Congratulations.

    `if he’s an embarrassment, what are we all?`

    How the hell am I supposed to know?

    `La lutte pour l’indépendance est une lutte quotidienne, faite de petits gestes quotidiens. C’est une lutte à tous les niveaux, dans tous les secteurs de l’activité humaine. Pas seulement une lutte parlementaire. Il s’agit d’être, de vivre. `

    Take a chill pill, Falardeau.

    allophone

    May 6, 2009 at 7:23 pm

  9. @Fon:
    “It’s not at all the same for Americans. No one assumes that a white American is of “American” origin, while non-white Americans are somehow not.”

    Well… do you remember Sarah Palin, in rural-white-anglo-saxon-and-protestant county, saying how proud she was to campaign in the “American” part of the USA ? And all these talks about the “Real Americans” – i.e., rural wasp – which were especially infuriating to the majority of americans who, in fact, live in big cities ? Ask to Le Pen if Zidane is French, you will get a different answer than from Ségolène.

    But perhaps there’s a debate in the debate. Right-wing and traditionalist Frenchs or Americans have a national identity that is mainly defined by ethnicity, while left-wing people do not.

    Complicated indeed.

    Tancrède

    May 6, 2009 at 7:31 pm

  10. Listening to music in English = being colonized?

    Wtf? The best music comes out of the US and Britain.

    allophone

    May 6, 2009 at 7:41 pm

  11. kind of like Mormon magic underwear?

    Edward

    May 6, 2009 at 9:09 pm

  12. I’m quite fond of Arabic music from North Africa.
    I guess I’m a victim of the jihad.

    To paraphrase Freud: “Sometimes a singer is just a singer”

    Edward

    May 6, 2009 at 9:11 pm

  13. It must be difficult to be absolutely correct, yet surrounded by dullards who won’t join or even acknowledge your struggle to overturn their meaningless lives.

    I too would be irritable and cantankerous forced to live under such intolerable conditions.

    Edward

    May 6, 2009 at 9:56 pm

  14. Maybe Québécois should reclaim the term Canadien as Acajack nearly suggested. It belongs to you and it is not right that it should apply more aptly to a Cantonese real-estate broker in Vancouver than to a French Canadian lumberjack.

    Actually I don’t really care what people call themselves. You know who you are, and if you don’t then you probably don’t deserve a name anyhow. As M. Pure Laine implies, it is more about what you have wrapped around your heart and balls than what you wear on your shirt sleeves. Maybe the real problem is that we all want to belong to some group and the definition of belonging is based on exclusion of others. How about just being individuals connected as much by our differences as our similarities?.

    Edward

    May 6, 2009 at 10:10 pm

  15. You guys are right on the mark here.
    The edges may be fuzzy but pretty much everyone agrees on the main points of what is fair and just. Yet sometimes the Devil is in the details. You can’t have my wife’s body, but I can’t keep you from stealing her heart. What we know to be safe and civil and what we seek in our wildest (separatist) dreams need not be the same thing….until we start debating it.

    Edward

    May 6, 2009 at 10:22 pm

  16. “human being” as a label works best for me. i’m big on the bollywood stuff because dance and song is an affirmation of life – but i’ve had the biscuit with identity politics. identity is personal and as someone said earlier will be a major influence (if not the major influence) on what you say and how you act towards others and yourself.

    sometimes in a discussion, a most salient and obvious fact is ignored and this discussion is a good example of where something fundamental has been overlooked – namely, the label “quebecois” was and has been politicised from moment it was coined. it was never hijacked – it was an instrument. edward rang the bell when he said “culture club”.

    the parti quebecois used the “label” to great advantage in popularising the secessionist movement, confusing the electorate with a divisive theme of nous et les autres, ceux qui ne parlent pas notre langue dans notre pays. the pequistes were surprised when it succeeded at first and were even more surprised when it failed. but they’re working on trying to be more “inclusive” and have also adjusted from communism legere to socialism au boute. it still stinks but it is an improvement.

    the secessionist movement has deep roots in a coalition of left wing idealogues (the labour/union/marxist maoist block) who have always posed the question of secession in a parentheses of victimisation and twisted the optimism of “maitres chez nous” into palace intrigues. it has consistently framed the debate as a question of oppressed and oppressors – the classic struggle of the proletariat. did i ever mention that the term “racism” was invented by leon trotsky?

    socialism is a morally bankrupt and entirely failed venture and the sooner aspirations for it disappear – the better. that goes double for the systems in cuba, nicaragua, venezuela, china and the rehabilitation of josef stalin’s image in russia. trivial, but, syria is a special case where bathists (from the stalin school of management) parade around as proud facists.

    quebec has the highest per capita rate of card-carrying union membership in north america – it should be no surprise then that the agenda of the pequistes have enjoyed a measure of success over the last few decades; but natural law informs every human with a brain that – when a labourer in a pig abbatoir makes the same money as junior engineer – well… decide for yourselves.

    sound familiar – the premise is that there is no merit in individual effort – we are all in the collectivity and we are all equal. forget about equality in opportunity – this is passee – now the terms have morphed into equality of outcome. this is the reason doctors leave quebec – specialists in medicine (and everyone is a specialist now) earn 30% less in quebec than elsewhere and on top of that they will pay less tax in another jurisdiction.

    what would you do for your family with an extra 70k per annum? then think about what you would do with that much less.

    it’s amazing that the word quebecois has evolved by political necessity from its origins into something much bigger and brighter than the secessionist movement. 30 years ago if someone told me i was not quebecois i would probably have agreed – today i can look them in the eye and know that they don’t know what the word means.

    colonisee, vendu? – bullshit marxist agitprop.
    independence = the sheep will be shorn and it won’t matter what language you bleat.

    before anyone beats me up – let me say that quebec does not need to be independent to take care of the frail and elderly. quebec needs stability and the creation of wealth to do that. and lower taxes. independence is the antithesis of stability.

    let’s keep the musicians.
    i’ll shut my nasty fat gob now.

    johnnyonline

    May 7, 2009 at 12:38 am

  17. Not really… simply a reference to the humble origins of those who contributed to the early development of the province (or the country if you wish).

    Pure Laine

    May 7, 2009 at 5:03 am

  18. “the secessionist movement has deep roots in a coalition of left wing idealogues (the labour/union/marxist maoist block) who have always posed the question of secession in a parentheses of victimisation and twisted the optimism of “maitres chez nous” into palace intrigues”

    Absolutely true. PQ/BQ/QS are commie parties.

    “socialism is a morally bankrupt and entirely failed venture and the sooner aspirations for it disappear – the better”

    Absolutely true.

    “quebec has the highest per capita rate of card-carrying union membership in north america”

    The unions (with the help of PQ/BQ) will bring this province down. How long can you expect to go on working as little as possible, getting paid as much as possible, having benefits through the roof, being able to go on strike whenever you want, to stay on strike as long as you want, so no and so forth…
    How much do bus drivers earn per year in Montreal? I heard some crazy figures. And they’re on strike every 2 years, asking for more money.

    “this is the reason doctors leave quebec – specialists in medicine (and everyone is a specialist now) earn 30% less in quebec than elsewhere and on top of that they will pay less tax in another jurisdiction.”

    They can try to pursue a career in bus driving.

    allophone

    May 7, 2009 at 8:40 am

  19. Falardeau: “Où sont ils les intellectuels organiques? Où sont ils les artistes engagés? Où est le mouvement ouvrier? Et les jeunes, les vieux, les immigrants, les femmes et les hommes de ce pays?”

    What do you mean immigrants? What do we have to do with your paranoid bullshit?

    Falardeau: “Ils se cherchent des excuses pour refuser le seul combat vraiment révolutionnaire de ce coin d’Amérique”

    Che Falardeau.

    allophone

    May 7, 2009 at 8:54 am

  20. Vinster171, personality no. 1: “[…] although I am French-Canadian, and although my roots in Québec go way back to a member of the French army who traveled to the Nouvelle-France in 1685 to marry the daughter of a “fille du Roi”[…]… I am not a Quebecois ?”

    Vinster171, personality no. 2: “Fact 1 : I do not believe in the genetically-identified-quebecois identity. Quite the opposite, in fact, and I thought it was obvious to the point that you should probably have noticed.”

    Well… In the first post, you seem to think you get “bonus point” for being a Quebecois because of your ethnicity. Then you say you don’t believe in the geneticaly-identified-quebecois identity. Just point this out. Not sure what to do about it.

    On another point “un bon québécois” was a phrase used by René Lévesque to describe the quebecois of the part scottish and irish, part french canadian Robert Boyd, president of Hydro Quebec during the crucial years. I like that sentence, because people who use it often do not realize of far they go from the old ethnic identity (when you call someone whose name ends in “ovicz” “un bon québécois”, you can get a laugh, but that’s an healthy laugh who recognize how far we all traveled).

    Tancrède

    May 7, 2009 at 11:56 am

  21. @johnnyonline:
    “…maoist… Stalin… Trotsky…”

    Did you know the cold war is over ? Is there something like this story about the japanese on his island going on ? Did you know that during our most “socialist” years (say 1976-1996) we had a graduate from the London School of Economics at the Ministry of Finance ?

    …Or perhaps you are of the crowd who believe Obama is socialist ? You know – the people who _lost_ their election in that neighbooring country, saw their economic believes crushed by reality, and are compensating by delusional statements ?

    Sorry if this post is not very civil, but yours is fill with conspiracy theory and hatred.

    Tancrède

    May 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm

  22. tancrède,

    i didn’t take your post as lacking in civility.

    i’m sorry if it sounds like i’m beating the drum for conspiration point com but if you haven’t looked at what is going on in the world or… if you have and you like what you see – well, what can i say?

    re: the london school of economics – it does not take a degree or any degree of intelligence to spend like a drunken sailor and mortgage the future. no slur on the former minister’s intelligence – he is a very bright guy, but his politics leave a lot to be desired. he was not all bad – ok? – there i said it.

    what would you call wealth redistribution on such a scale? do you think students of milton friedman would call for the nationalisation of banks… the automotive industry? m. parizeau was a keynsian and i am not surprised one bit that this type of thinking is more popular today in the usa than it has been for a very long time.

    if you haven’t noticed – there’s a new game in town and statists of all stripes have learned to harness the power of capitalism – like china. you should be worried if only just a little bit… i worry enough for the both of us.

    that’s why i would never consider a vacation in cuba;
    the hospitality workers there have 80% taken of their hard-earned money taken by the state. those who vacation there are supporting a communist regime – a repressive dictatorship.

    and finally to be clear – i detest the politics and beliefs of certain individuals and groups – that’s true. but hate is irrational and a complete waste of time and emotional energy; i cannot afford to waste either of these things if i am ever to convince anyone of the error in their ways.

    johnnyonline

    May 7, 2009 at 6:07 pm

  23. We are all keynesian now… again. And I’m happy with that, though I would have prefered that it did not take a major depression for practical libertarian to see the error in their way.

    That’s not to say that one cannot be a libertarian for reasons based on values (putting property right above all for instance). But not for practical reasons (saying that libertarianism will produce the best possible world, for instance).

    But what do you see right now ? Countries that were “student of Milton Friedman” are nearly bankrupt (for instance, Iceland). Countries (or province) who, like Quebec, were social-democrat, succeed, as the theory predict, in smoothing the downward curve almost out of existence; and I suppose that communist countries do as bad as ever (I don’t know if there are any of these left – and I don’t mean China).

    The major wealth distribution already happen. Since the eighties. It went to the wealthy. Our gdp doubled; but the middle class gained 50$ in income (in recent constant dollars). The bottom 20% lost income. So much for the arguments of the Mulroney, Reagan, Bush, Tatcher and co.

    Now we are back to maximin and that’s a good thing. And let’s agree that being a follower of Milton Friedman is not a necessary condition for being pro- market economy. Because if you think it is, then you really are surrounded by commies in banks, governments, and the street…

    Tancrède

    May 8, 2009 at 7:58 am

  24. Well, at least we’re not giving too much money to the banks and auto companies, after all once the inevitable inflation from all this rampant printing of money kicks in, even billions of dollars will be worth very little.

    And as a free bonus, the existing national debt will be wiped out as well.

    I, for one, am glad to be holding loonies instead of greenbacks, though that is probably a false refuge.

    Edward

    May 8, 2009 at 9:46 pm

  25. How do you fight deflation (which is the current threat) ? In part with expansionary monetary policy; that was even the opinion of this arch-capitalist, Milton Friedman, about the Great Depresssion ! In zero-interest rates, you need to act a little bit differently, but the principle is the same.

    If the inflation is negative (decreasing price indexes) it is necessary to push it in the other direction to get, at least, to zero inflation (or a little more). Deflation is a plague. We were raised in an almost always positive inflation world, but ask the Japanese how they like negative inflation.

    Tancrède

    May 9, 2009 at 2:52 am

  26. what major depression?
    do you see cars pulled by horses?
    is unemployment rocketing to the moon?

    we live in the world’s most successful civilisation and you’re telling me that because capitalism is experiencing problems (created by socialists who directed banks by law to loan money via mortgages to people who could not afford to repay them) that now we need more government intervention in the economy?

    at least we agree about private property.

    j’aimerais vous offrir cette vignette:
    http://www.quebecoislibre.org/09/090415-10.htm

    johnnyonline

    May 9, 2009 at 5:08 am

  27. Come now. The bulk of the problem is not really programs that encouraged lending to risky clients, it was predatory lending practices that included unethical but commonplace practices like using second-mortgages to finance downpayments, and adjustable mortgages with unreasonably low “introductory” rates as if a mortgage was just like a credit card.

    The government programs made it possible for predatory lenders to put the taxpayer on the hook for greedy lending, but never forced them to act irresponsibly.

    I hate this mantra that naive, working men and women who went to their bank for a loan with the expectation that the bank would behave professionally are somehow responsible for mortgage-backed securities becoming leveraged 50 to 1.

    Edward

    May 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

  28. I guess AFG may not be the only one of us who is turning Japanese.

    I found this quote about Japan from Ben Bernanke in 2002 which can be read in a somewhat different light today:

    “The claim that deflation can be ended by sufficiently strong action has no doubt led you to wonder, if that is the case, why has Japan not ended its deflation? The Japanese situation is a complex one that I cannot fully discuss today. I will just make two brief, general points.

    First, as you know, Japan’s economy faces some significant barriers to growth besides deflation, including massive financial problems in the banking and corporate sectors and a large overhang of government debt. Plausibly, private-sector financial problems have muted the effects of the monetary policies that have been tried in Japan, even as the heavy overhang of government debt has made Japanese policymakers more reluctant to use aggressive fiscal policies (for evidence see, for example, Posen, 1998). Fortunately, the U.S. economy does not share these problems, at least not to anything like the same degree, suggesting that anti-deflationary monetary and fiscal policies would be more potent here than they have been in Japan.

    Second, and more important, I believe that, when all is said and done, the failure to end deflation in Japan does not necessarily reflect any technical infeasibility of achieving that goal. Rather, it is a byproduct of a longstanding political debate about how best to address Japan’s overall economic problems. As the Japanese certainly realize, both restoring banks and corporations to solvency and implementing significant structural change are necessary for Japan’s long-run economic health. But in the short run, comprehensive economic reform will likely impose large costs on many, for example, in the form of unemployment or bankruptcy. As a natural result, politicians, economists, businesspeople, and the general public in Japan have sharply disagreed about competing proposals for reform. In the resulting political deadlock, strong policy actions are discouraged, and cooperation among policymakers is difficult to achieve.

    In short, Japan’s deflation problem is real and serious; but, in my view, political constraints, rather than a lack of policy instruments, explain why its deflation has persisted for as long as it has. Thus, I do not view the Japanese experience as evidence against the general conclusion that U.S. policymakers have the tools they need to prevent, and, if necessary, to cure a deflationary recession in the United States.”

    Edward

    May 9, 2009 at 12:41 pm

  29. drawde,

    it is such a complex fiasco – and i merely point to the root of the problem. banks were forced by law to accept quotas of high risk mortgages under pain of suffering higher rates for capital from the treasury if they did not meet them – which would render them uncompetitive. it didn’t help that fannie mae and freddie mac were complicit in guaranteeing these instruments and bundling them up with “normal” risk mortgages (a truly stable lending paper) and selling them off to the aig’s, lehman bros. and goldmansach’s etc.

    throw in a measure of flipping properties, greed and echoes of the savings and loans free-for-all and presto!

    one of the current president’s greater achievements in private life before politics, and it’s a very short list, was suing citibank for not providing loans to home-buyers.

    in the new scheme – recently included in the unprecedented spending by the obama administration is a proviso that every new mortgage over $100,000 will incur a fee of $425.00 that will go to acorn – the community activist organisation in which obama was schooled in chicago (home of honest politicians). actually the last honest one – i think – was abe lincoln.

    this is the same acorn organisation that has been indicted in 12 states for voter registration fraud.

    home-a-phonia!

    johnnyonline

    May 9, 2009 at 6:55 pm

  30. Johnny,
    You’ve been watching too much FAUX-NEWS. The acorn indictments are a red herring, all politically motivated and include things like registering Mr. Mickey Mouse to vote. I assure you the Mouse never actually cast a vote, which would be real fraud.

    As for Clinton’s Community Reinvestment Act, which is the favorite GOP target as the origin of the real estate bubble and where you appear to be headed in your post, it incentivized loans to underserved inner city areas, but actually exerted fairly high levels of regulatory control. The subprime mortgages that were the source of the bubble were almost all made for non-urban house purchases.

    To extrapolate from a bunch of regulated loans to low income inner city areas to the meltdown of the entire US banking system requires superhuman suspension of disbelief. The banking crisis resulted not as a consequence of a bunch of small loans to inner city residents, but because the financial sector leveraged these and many many other subprime loans to an absurd degree (using mortgage-backed securities) and these high-risk subprime securities were give AAA ratings by Moody’s, S & P, and other credit analysts who were either asleep at the wheel or else stood to profit from making the securities more attractive investments. There was misrepresentation and conflicts of interest from floor to ceiling.

    Telling banks that they had to give more loans to poor people without imposing restrictions requiring the loans be sensible may have helped set the mood, but can’t be blamed for the crisis any more than you can blame crashing your car through your living room window on the fact that there was no speed limit posted on your driveway.

    Edward

    May 9, 2009 at 11:15 pm


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