“If That Mockingbird Don’t Sing, Papa’s Gonna Buy You a Diamond Ring”
You can scarcely pick up (OK, click on) an Op-Ed page these days without encountering the latest housing remedy du jour.
Today’s proposal is courtesy of Alan Blinder, Princeton professor and former Federal Reserve official:
As nationalized companies that dominate the mortgage market, the government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, should be taking the lead, not watching their profits and mortgage-backed security (MBS) prices. If GSE managements won’t move, their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, should push them. If the regulator won’t push hard enough, the U.S. Treasury, their major shareholder, should. If Treasury officials won’t, President Obama should order them to. If the whole administration is too timid, Congress should change the law.
–Alan S. Blinder, “How to Clean Up the Housing Mess“; The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 20, 2011)
My reaction(s) to the above, in no particular order:
–That’s A LOT of “if’s”
–How unexpected for an academic like Blinder to come up with such a politically viable proposal; and
–That cadence sure does remind me of something else. Hmmm, what could that be??
A second later, it came to me:
Hush, little baby, don’t say a word, Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird don’t sing, Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.
And if that diamond ring turn brass, Papa’s gonna buy you a looking glass.
And if that looking glass gets broke, Papa’s gonna buy you a billy goat.
And if that billy goat don’t pull, Papa’s gonna buy you a cart and bull.
And if that cart and bull turn over, Papa’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover.
And if that dog named Rover won’t bark. Papa’s gonna to buy you a horse and cart.
And if that horse and cart fall down, Well you’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.
–lyrics, “Hush Little Baby“
Looking for Solutions
If academics, politicians, and government bureaucrats had a silver-bullet solution to the housing (and broader economic) mess . . . we’d be home free by now (pun intended . . . sort of).
Which we’re clearly not.
By process of elimination, that means the solution(s) will have to come from . . . elsewhere.
My candidates include: Occupy Wall Street; some other genuinely grass roots (vs. AstroTurf) campaign that has yet to break the surface, in some off-the-map place (Winnemucca, Nevada, anyone?); a pimply (and brilliant) 17 year-old on Facebook — sort of a “public policy” Steve Jobs; or, at the opposite end of the demographic continuum, a latter-day Howard Jarvis, of Proposition 13 fame in late 1970’s California (where I happened to be at the time, an oblivious college undergrad).
Or maybe even the group of professionals closest to the housing mess, day in and day out (note: that would be Realtors).
Just not anyone on Wall Street, in government, or academe.
P.S.: It’s certainly fitting and (un)intentionally ironic that The Journal’s other headline Op-Ed today was penned by Congressman, Presidential aspirant — and noted Libertarian Ron Paul.