Dean Baker explains (Beat the Press, 10/13/08) his fantastical headline “USA Today Thinks It’s Possible That Elvis Caused the Financial Meltdown”: “Well, if the Republicans blamed the financial crisis on Elvis Presley, USA Today would probably just write it up politely and then note that the Democrats disagree.” Baker says “that is exactly what the paper did today in an article discussing how both parties contributed to the crisis”:
The article notes that Phil Gramm, a former senator and adviser to John McCain, pushed through a law that prevented the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from regulating derivatives. It then presents Gramm’s claim that the real problem was the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), but notes that Democrats and “many experts dispute that.”
It would have been worth noting that Gramm’s claim makes no sense. The CRA did not even apply to the biggest actors in the subprime market. How could the CRA be responsible for forcing financial institutions to make subprime loans when they were not even covered by the CRA?
According to Baker, “It makes as much sense to blame Elvis.”
Listen to the FAIR radio show CounterSpin: David Cay Johnston on Meltdown/Bailout (10/10/08)