(Yes, I realize this is going to take several minutes of my life I'll never get back but, just in case there was any doubt, I'd like to demonstrate why trying to engage a Blogging Tory intellectually is an utter waste of time. To paraphrase an old saying, trying to educate a Blogging Tory is like trying to teach a pig to sing -- it's a waste of time, and it annoys the pig. And on that note, to work.)
It started here, when Justin (allegedly young and fit despite his numerous posts complaining about how bad Canada's medical care is when he needs it) fell hook, line, sinker, rod, reel and entire copy of Angling Times for the dishonest right-wing spin of ... well, let's let Justin dig his own grave here, shall we?
The current recession goes back to the housing crisis. But, who created the housing crisis? The answer that liberals give you is the free market. The problem is, the free market was not in control of the two companies that the housing crises stems back to. Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae are GSEs, government sponsored enterprises. These two enterprises gave out thousands of mortgages to poor people who couldn't pay back their loans.
So ... in Justin's mind (and based on his very own words above, let's remember that), the current economic meltdown is the fault of, literally, "thousands" of poor people who couldn't keep paying their mortgages. OK, let's go with that.
Your humble scribe (that would be me) -- realizing full well that Justin was full of shit in his description of the basis for the current economic collapse -- took him outside, yanked down his panties and paddled him thusly, using clearly hypothetical numbers to demonstrate that, even if one extrapolated Justin's own argument to an absurd extreme, it couldn't possibly make any sense. Allow me to quote myself at length:
How many "thousands" of these mortgages are we talking about, Justin? Five? Ten? Twenty? Hey, Justin, let me be generous and say, oh, half a million. Yeah, for the sake of argument, even though you claim only "thousands" of allegedly bad mortgages, I'll hypothesize that there were half a million. Does that work for you? I don't want to shortchange you, I want to give you every opportunity to make as dire a case as possible.
Movin' on, then, what was the average value of one of these mortgages? Now, given that these were sub-prime mortgages (and Justin himself claims that they were given out to "poor people"), I think it's reasonable to assume that they didn't represent stunningly expensive properties, but I'm going to give Justin plenty of leeway and assume that each of these mortgages was worth, oh, what the hell, half a million dollars and I think we can all agree that I'm bending over backwards to be generous to Justin.
And, finally, in terms of a meltdown in the sub-prime market, let's assume a totally worst-case scenario and assume that every single one of these mortgages tanked completely and lost every single penny of value of its original mortgage price. You still with me? That is, in order to be (more than) fair to Justin, I'm proposing the absolutely worst possible outcome to see just how much this would affect the global economy.
So ... half a million sub-prime mortgages, each worth half a million, and every single one of them tanking and losing its entire value, gives us a (ridiculously over-inflated) loss of ... $250 billion.
Read that again: $250 billion.
Positively worst-case with ridiculously generous numbers, Justin. And yet, here we are, watching the U.S. getting revved up with a stimulus package worth almost $800 billion. Why, Justin? Go on, explain that to me, Justin. Because, given that the entire sub-prime situation could have been (according to my out-of-thin-air numbers) resolved with a mere $250 billion, how exactly is it that were talking, literally, trillions of dollars in the long run to repair the world economy?
Intelligent people will, of course, realize what I was doing above -- I was taking Justin's argument and figures as he presented them in his original post, then used obviously speculative figures that showed how, even if one extrapolated Justin's own position considerably, it was still a stupid, dumbass, retarded argument.
Sadly, rather than accept that he just got thrashed soundly, Justin comes back with, well, you have to read it to believe it:
Not quite dire enough, because you are way off. Someone didn't do their homework. Let me rephrase that. Let's up this from a few thousand, to at least a million, the real numbers, from Wikipedia:
During 2007, nearly 1.3 million U.S. housing properties were subject to foreclosure activity, up 79% from 2006.
Very, very long pause to really and truly appreciate what kind of fucking idiot Justin is. And now, let me explain why.
Justin, my little douchebag, as almost all of my readers will appreciate since they're not complete retards, my figure of 500,000 mortgages was not meant to represent reality. As my readers will understand, that was an out-of-thin-air value that was chosen only to represent an absurd extrapolation of your own argument. You, Justin, used the original claim of, literally, "thousands" of subprime mortgages, and I correctly and accurately gave you the intellectual beating you deserved for it. But there's more.
Justin clearly thinks I haven't done my homework in that I was unaware of how many bad subprime mortgages there were. In this, Justin would be sadly mistaken as I have, on a number of occasions, blogged on that fiasco so I'm well aware of what the situation is. (Readers are welcome to go to the search box on this blog and type in "subprime" if they have any questions.) But I didn't need to use that correct figure as that's not the figure Justin produced initially. His original claim was "thousands" and, because I am an honest man, I slapped him upside the head for precisely the numbers he used in that post.
Justin's response, if I read this correctly and I'm sure I do, was to quickly do some research, realize that he was at least a couple orders of magnitude off in his initial value, produce the right value, and then (curiously) make fun of me for criticizing his original claim the way he had actually written it. Yes, Justin, the fact that your original post was utter shash is, of course, completely my fault. I'm guessing that's the way it works in Blogging Tory land -- their stupidity is always someone else's fault. Which brings us to my main point.
Justin made that original post, and I responded to it based on exactly what he had written. By way of reply, Justin runs off, comes back with a totally different number, then mocks me for not refuting that value. This is, of course, absolutely typical wanker logic -- get hammered and proceed to quickly shift the goalposts. And if I were to slap the bejeezus out of Justin's newer argument, you know as well as I do that there would again be a rapid relocation of those posts. So here's what I'm going to do, Justin, you little dimbulb.
I will be happy to debate this issue with you, Justin, as long as I can see, in writing, that what you've written is your final and irrevocable argument and that you aren't going to drag those posts across the field again. In short, Justin, what I want from you is an agreement that this is your final position:
The exclusive and fundamental cause of the current worldwide economic crisis is American subprime mortgages.
It's that simple, Justin -- let me hear from you that that's the position you're defending. No waffling, no weaseling, no tap dancing. These are your own words from that original post:
The current recession goes back to the housing crisis.
Is that what you're prepared to defend, Justin? Because if it is, then sure, I'll give you the smackdown you deserve. But I'm not interested if what you're going to do after it's over is to try to weasel out of it with, "Well, OK, it's not the exclusive cause, but it's a big part of it. Well, OK, it's a part of it. Well, it certainly had something to do with it. So I'm still right, neener, neener, neener."
If you're going to stick with your original claim as I've interpreted it, then I'll play. But if you're just going to be a typically intellectually dishonest Blogging Tory, then do me a favour and fuck off and don't waste any more of my time.
Well, Justin, let's hear it. Poor Americans with bad mortgages are solely and exclusively responsible for the current worldwide economic meltdown. Is that your final position? Yes or no?
BY THE WAY, Justin, the fact that you're howlingly ignorant about how mortgages even work in the U.S. was pointed out by Ti-Guy here. I thought you should know that.
EXTRA FUN AND GAMES: Here's Paul Krugman, from November of last year:
Fannie Freddie Phony
So I was listening to Arnold Schwarzenegger before doing the This Weak round table, and he was mostly making sense — except for one thing. He asserted, as a simple matter of fact, that “government created the housing bubble”, because Fannie and Freddie made all these loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them.
This is utterly false. Fannie/Freddie did some bad things, and did, it turns out, get to some extent into subprime. But thanks to the accounting scandals, they were actually withdrawing from the market during the height of the housing bubble — the vast majority of the loans now going bad came from the private sector.
Yet it’s now clear that the phony account of the crisis — that it’s all due to Fannie, Freddie, and nasty liberals forcing poor Angelo Mozilo to make loans to Those People — is setting in as Republican orthodoxy, part of what you have to believe to be a respectable member of the party.
In short, there's what truly stupid people believe and post on their blogs. And then there's reality.