Arnold Kling  

I Thought I was Being Civil

Rojas on Selfish Reasons to... Moral Risk-Aversion and the De...

Strongly worded, perhaps, but civil. You can decide. I find that the video takes a long time to load. My prepared remarks begin around 25 minutes in. Right after I finish, the Committee Chairman mentions this blog. The Q&A starts about 15 minutes later.

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COMMENTS (15 to date)
Dave writes:

No, he was clearly prepared to "reprimand" you regardless of how you said it. Your answers in regard to low-down-payment mortgage schemes were fantastic. The rebuttals of "but that makes it too hard for the folks we wish would buy houses" totally miss the point.

Eric falkenstein writes:

Ratcliffe stated some sample of low down payment loans had below average loss rates. I'm sure they did, given the relative adverse selection for teaser rates and ninja loans. But to assume then that down payments are sufficient at 5%, and presumably, below, seems like a lot of wishful thinking.

It's the same flawed extrapolation that led to Ninja loans and low down payments in the first place.

tms writes:

How is this discussion supposed to be "productive" if their was no disagreement?

Well done!

hsearles writes:

I must second tms, they simply expected the economists and special interests there (very good observation, by the way) to agree with them to boosts their egos and give more credence to their plans. If anything, Barney Frank's remark about econlog was the bit of demagoguery there, not your comments.

dullgeek writes:

I wonder how much less confident you came off because you seemed to be trying to deliver it w/out reading it. When you paused - presumably to remember the next specific point you were going to make - I wonder if it was taken as lack of confidence.

I think that the commentary calling your testimony simply a "reading of your blog" was intentionally meant to belittle your testimony. But honestly, I think when you go into the lion's den, unless you're a lion, you should probably expect to get eaten.

Daniel Klein writes:


The calumny was classic, too.

Seeing this is terribly instructive about the nature of politics/government. Your performance should be shown in every political economy and political science course.

chipotle writes:

I could not identify one specific thing that you said that was un-civil.

On the other hand, you could've been less blunt. But why paint in muted tones when Technicolor© is available?

You could've appealed to their vanity/patriotism ('I trust that the distinguished representatives will not let us repeat the folly of the 2000s again!') or you could've taken a Socratic approach ('How can we make sure that Americans never engage in reckless overborrowing again?').

But, no, Arnold, you decided to go with unvarnished honesty. And you got a reprimand from the Chairman, who instantly revealed himself to be an ass.

Take heart--Congressional testimony is mostly just a charade, anyway.

Another Dave writes:

I agree with the first Dave's comments. The mention of your blog was premeditated and inevitable. I guess next time, just keep your hand closer to your chest.

Jeffery writes:

Thank you for having the brass to stand athwart this latest attempt to resuscitate the housing zombie and yell "STOP"!

Some of the grandees seemed downright perturbed that their expertise in managing this latest round of magic regulation that will raise home values while keeping housing affordable was likened to gambling.

Sen Robert Menendez seems like a tool, btw.

MikeDC writes:

Definitely showing this to my classes

Mark writes:

Well, first I would say that you don't want to insult your hosts if you want to get invited back. But I do admire your candor.

Second, I like the statement that a home without equity is just a rental with a put option.

Steve Brown writes:

Members of Congress, as a group, probably do not deserve civility. I can't think of a more disreputable public institution in America today.
"Mothers, don't raise your sons(and daughters) up to be politicians."

Jack writes:

Blunt, but civil. Thank you!

Hearing the politicians, I can't help but think of Raghu Rajan's arguments, he is exactly right: housing policy is today's Panem et circenses (bread and games). They will not let it go.

Bill writes:

dullgeek attempts to link signaling a lack of confidence to your presentation style. My gawd, how could anyone have confidence in anything the chairman mumbled / attempted to read if that were the case?

dullgeek writes:

Bill makes a good point.

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