Economics

Please, Mr. Lender, Exploit Me Some More

|

In last night's vice presidential debate, Sarah Palin attacked "predator lenders," which made it sound like she was opposed to the sharing of lions and tigers among zoos. Judging from the context, I'm pretty sure she meant "predatory lenders":

Moderator Gwen Ifill: The next question is…about the subprime lending meltdown. Who do you think was at fault? I start with you, Gov. Palin. Was it the greedy lenders? Was it the risky home buyers who shouldn't have been buying a home in the first place? And what should you be doing about it?

Palin: Darn right it was the predator lenders, who tried to talk Americans into thinking that it was smart to buy a $300,000 house if we could only afford a $100,000 house. There was deception there, and there was greed and there is corruption on Wall Street. And we need to stop that.

Again, John McCain and I, that commitment that we have made, and we're going to follow through on that, getting rid of that corruption.

One thing that Americans do at this time, also, though, is let's commit ourselves, just everyday American people, Joe Six Pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say never again. Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars. We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings and we need also to not get ourselves in debt. Let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card. Don't live outside of our means. We need to make sure that as individuals we're taking personal responsibility through all of this. It's not the American people's fault that the economy is hurting like it is, but we have an opportunity to learn a heck of a lot of good lessons through this and say never again will we be taken advantage of.

Despite the nod toward "personal responsibility" in that last paragraph, this is a very strange take on the situation, especially coming from a self-identified conservative who supposedly believes in free markets. Exactly what is a predatory lender, and how does he profit by lending money to people who can't pay him back? That sounds more like a stupid lender. What about the predatory borrower, who takes out a loan and breaks his promise to pay it back? If anyone is getting ripped off here (aside from the taxpayers who have to pay for the bailout Palin and her running mate support), isn't it the lender? Evidently not. In Palin's topsy-turvy world, you are being "exploited and taken advantage of" when you take the money and run.