The REAL Cause of the Housing Finance Meltdown

What’s the biggest problem today in our financial market?  What caused this disaster?  Was it mismanagement?  Was it lack of regulations?  Was it the “other” political party?

Let me just state it for the record: the problem was greed, pure and simple.

We can see a level of shocking greed in our elite business and investment circles merely by looking at the disparity between worker salary and CEO compensation.  In the “better days” of the 1960s, the average CEO earned around 40 times what the average worker earned.  Today the average CEO makes over 500 times what the average worker earns.  And the gap is widening, year by year.

Why has this happened?  The pro-business side argue that this more than twelve-fold increase of CEO pay relative to the average worker can be attributed to proportionately similar increases in market capitalization of large US companies over the years.  The pro-labor side argues that the decline of unionization has been the primary cause of skyrocketing executive pay.  But again, you can’t just play with numbers and justify this massive disparity in compensation; nor can you claim that unionization would be our savior (particularly in a global economy, where increased unionization of labor would merely result in the increased “outsourcing” of jobs).

And the problem has persisted – and continued to dramatically increase – through periods of dominance of both political parties.

Let me say it again: the problem is rampant, cancerous greed.

And this greed does not merely exist at the top of the corporate and financial food chains.  It is in the masses of Americans who wanted more than their means could provide for, who took out loans they could never hope to repay.

And why has greed become such an enormous problem in American life?

Because our ruling elites have actively discouraged religion for decades, and we are eating the bitter fruit of cultural relativism and practical atheism.

What happens when we discourage belief in a Creator God – who created man in His own image, and holds us morally accountable as His image bearers, and begin to inculcate Darwinism in its place?  We get social Darwinism.  And in social Darwinism, the strong eat the weak, and the rich most assuredly devour the poor.  And why shouldn’t they?  Are they not merely living by the obvious standards of the law of the jungle?  Why not be predatory carnivores?  Isn’t that what we ultimately are?

In the early 1960s, during the Warren era of the Supreme Court, we began to see the Establishment Clause interpreted in a more and more secular humanist and blatantly anti-religious manner.  In the case of the Ten Commandments, it was decided that, “If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments.”  And we couldn’t have any of that, could we?

What happens when you divorce religion and morality from society and from public life?  The thought of our founding fathers, the thought of the men who framed and wrote our laws, and the thought of the men who contemplated what made our culture great, continues to teach us if we will but listen:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens…”
- George Washington, Farewell Address, Sept 17, 1796

“…And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion…reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
- George Washington, Farewell Address, Sept 17, 1796

“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts in the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step, by which they have been advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
- George Washington“Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.”
- John Adams, Letter to Zabdiel Adams, Philadelphia, June 21, 1776

“We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion…  Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
- John Adams, Address to the Officers of the Massachusetts Militia, 1798

“Religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness.”
- Samuel Adams, Letter to John Trumbull, October 16, 1778

“The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor…and this alone, that renders us invincible.”
- Patrick Henry, Letter to Archibald Blair, January 8, 1789

“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?” -Thomas Jefferson in “Notes on Virginia”

“Yes, we did produce a near perfect Republic. But will they keep it, or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction.”
- Thomas Jefferson

“Yes, we did produce a near perfect Republic. But will they keep it, or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction.”
- Thomas Jefferson”Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity…in short of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.”  – Samuel Adams, 1790

Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the
happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever by encouraged.
- Northwest Ordinance, Article III, July 13, 1787

“…[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom.  As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
- Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Messrs. The Abbes Chalut and Arnaud, April 17, 1787

“The only foundation for…a republic is to be laid in Religion.”
- Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence and member of the Continental Congress

“The only foundation for…a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
- Benjamin Rush, “Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical,” 1798

“In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste
so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government. That is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible.”
- Benjamin Rush, 1798

…I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel…
- Benjamin Franklin

We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages…I therefore beg leave to move—that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business…”
- Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention, June 28, 1787

“…how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly appealing to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible to danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered… And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance?…
- Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention

“Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine…Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants.” Foundations Reappear
- James Wilson, “Of the General Principles of Law and Obligation,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Signed U.S. Constitution

“Without morals, a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
- Charles Carroll Letter to James McHenry, November 4, 1800.  Signer of the Declaration of Independence and member of the Continental Congress

“To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you
destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated
and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.”
- Daniel Webster, 4th of July, 1800, Oration at Hanover, N.H.

“In my view, the Christian Religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed…no truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian Religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
- Noah Webster, Reply to David McClure, Oct. 25, 1836

“Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man towards God.”
- Gouverneur Morris, 1832

“…as man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should,
in all points, conform to his Maker’s will. This will of his Maker is called the law of nature…This law of nature…dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority…from this original.”
- William Blackstone, “Commentaries on the Law,” 1723-1780

“Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.”
- William Blackstone 1723-1780, “Commentaries on the Law,” 1723-1780

“…the moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws…  All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising
or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
- Noah Webster, “History of the United States,” 1833

“It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations.  But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men who rule in the fear of God, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness…”
- Noah Webster, “Value of the Bible,” 1834, #302

“The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive one without the other.”
- Alexis de Toqueville, “Democracy in America”

“The religious atmosphere of the country was the first thing that struck me upon my arrival in the U.S. In France, I had seen the spirits of religion and freedom almost always marching in opposite directions, in America, I found them intimately linked together and joined and reigned over the same land…
- Alexis de Tocqueville, “Democracy in America”

Religion should therefore be considered as the first of their political institutions. From the start, politics and religion have agreed and have not since ceased to do so.”
- Alexis de Tocqueville, “Democracy in America”

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God…
- Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation & Prayer, April 30, 1863

…We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us…and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own…
- Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, 1863

…Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
- Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, 1863

… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

Our founding fathers knew full well that religion and morality were inseparable to good governance and to the well-being of a democratic society.  If you throw out God and religion, eventually morality and ethics will likewise go down the drain.  And then you will see more and more greed, worse and worse behavior, more and more crime, which in turn will necessitate more and more regulations and laws and more and more oppressive government in order to restrain an increasingly amoral and frankly bad people.

It should come as no surprise that our society, and frankly our country, began to unravel beginning in the early 1960s, as a series of sweeping policies from unelected secular humanistic judges and liberal politicians began to dramatically alter society.

We’re paying dearly for the amorality that has been increasingly encroaching upon our society.  And we will continue to reap the whirlwind until – like Lincoln – we realize that we have forgotten God.

It’s not yet too late to remember Him.  But I fear that we are on the verge of reaching a tipping point, where the culture just begins to spiral inexorably downward, as though driven by some giant reciprocating engine whose every stroke takes us farther and farther downward into a chaos from which we can never emerge.

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4 Responses to “The REAL Cause of the Housing Finance Meltdown”

  1. Shocked Observer GA Says:

    Firstly let me say I have always said the “financial crisis” all over the World is caused by greed. Your second paragraph is therefore absolutely right and the poor for whom Obama cares so much are victims of this greed.

    What I did not realize is the extent to which Obama is involved with the sleaze. Way I see it now he is in it over his eyeballs.

    Help us Great heavens above. America may end up having the greatest slimeball ever elected President and taking charge of the racket. I shake my head in amazement.

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    I was thinking of a Psalm, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” when I wrote this.

    Our founding fathers intimately understood that religion and morality are inseparable. We have thrown the former away, and now we are shocked that we are plagued by an appalling lack of the latter.

  3. Old Time Believer Says:

    So tell me the World has changed, go right ahead and tell me. Tell me it’s a Global Village and we must go with it. Borrow more and buy bigger houses and bigger cars because it’s nice. Buy stocks and shares because the neighbor made a lot of money that way. Convert the whole Wall Street to derivatives and paper [not just 95%, go the whole hog and make it 100%] and sell the paper to the oil sheiks [that’s how they recently acquired the Chrysler building in New York by buying Wall Street paper with their oil paper] yeah go right ahead call me any names you want to and when you are all done enjoy a good dose of strong recession while you blame it on Bush. Easy easy you say? The fundamentals of the economy are still strong. I agree with McCain it is. Factories are still running making real hard assets; farmers [corporate and private] are still raking the soil to produce real food. But the financial management of the country is in the hands of a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate both working together with their good buddies on Wall Street running [stealing] the economy into a disaster. There is but one and only one way to stop it: take the crooks out or face a real recession.

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    The fundamentals ARE still strong; but they used to be a lot stronger when WE were the producers and the manufacturers. Our industrial bases have dwindled dramatically.

    We used to build wealth by actually building; now we build wealth by “investing,” even as our infrastructure breaks down to to lack of building or even maintenance.

    And when our economy largely stops making sense, it is a LOT easier to convince people who would have rejected the direction we’re now heading a generation ago to embrace it. It’s all too complicated now, so people accept whoever can offer the explanation that gets the most “air time.”

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