小北的不老歌

The Blame Game

From NYTimes, the latest article in its “The Reckoning” series: Chinese Savings Helped Inflate American Bubble. The title might be a true statement, but pointing to Chinese savings for the crisis is as ridiculous as suing McDonald’s for causing the obesity problem.

One could blame McDonald’s for selling the fattening BigMacs in the first place. One could also point to the fact that the BigMacs are priced very low, so that now it’s possible for people on a small budget to load up on the calories. One could also argue that the regulatory scheme is lacking: the FDA could have banned the BigMacs, the USDA could have declared the beef patties unsafe, etc. But if you ask me, I’d say the 300-pound guy who eats BigMacs three times a day only has himself to blame for his obesity and heart attack.

But when it comes to the economic crisis, the NYT seems to blame everyone but the 300-pound guy. In its almost 20-article series, it blames the regulators, the risk-takers, and now the Chinese savings that enabled cheap credit. But it seems unwilling to say the obvious: ultimately it’s the consumers, stupid. American consumers over-borrowed, and over-spent. Everything else, including regulatory failure, aggressive risk taking by the banks, and yes, Chinese savings that enabled cheap credit for the US government and American consumers, might have failed to put out the fire, but they didn’t start the flames.

Liberal media of this country need to stop portraying middle-class America as the victim rather than the culprit of the economic downturn. The U.S., as well as the average American consumers, have been able to borrow very cheaply in the past decade, but instead of investing, they blew the borrowed money on supporting a war and consuming beyond their means; and instead of being thankful for the cheap credit, they are now criticizing how cheap it was. But then again, being quick to criticize others is so typically American, just like America’s habit of overborrowing and overspending.

Comments (5)

  1. j

    There’s nothing wrong with the statement itself. China savings did help inflate the bubble. If it’s the mid-class americans to blame, which is also a fact, the article would be too superficial to stop just there. It has to initiate a discussion of mainstream culture, and facilitators of this culture, which Nytimes itself is included. To be a sensational “标题党”, it’s what media do for a living.

  2. jack

    I don’t think average Americans really buy it. After all, media need to come up with something sensational along with freaking “pundits” to keep themselves alive.

  3. Harry

    I must say I cannot agree more with littlenorth. It seems nowadays Nobody, at least close to none, has the guts to put some well deserved blame on the American people.

    There was a Times article around two months ago about the problem of obesity in the US. It blames everything, from poverty to lack of proper social programs. Yet it left out as I understand the biggest culprit of all. The guy who eats so much. The so called experts forget to mention the best way to keep being thin is just not to eat so much. The will power that was cherished and admired so much was thrown out of the window. Nowadays it is all about getting whatever I want, never mind if I can afford it or whether it is good for me. Pure satisfaction rules! Well, it is probably pay back time now.

  4. Zhan

    从郭凯博客上看来的,写得挺有意思

    “终于,《纽约时报》开口说话了:次贷危机有中国人的份。

    这不是一个新观点,在学术界和智囊机构已经漂了有不少时间了。基本的故事很简单:中国人靠出口换了大量的资本,然后把这些资本都投到了美国,然后帮着吹起了一个大泡沫。

    往 “外人”头上扣屎盆子是很多国家喜欢用的伎俩,因为“外人”没法反驳,一句“非我族类,其心必异”就能把所有的理性啊,逻辑啊都抛到脑后。这两天不还有一大群人在骂茅予轼是“汉奸”吗?扣上了一顶“汉奸”的帽子,就把茅先生定义成“外人”了,骂“汉奸”也就意味着茅先生你不用劳神反驳了,即便你有道理,反驳也没人会听的。中国人被美国人扣一个屎盆子也没什么好奇怪的,他们骂格林斯潘会有一大群死党出来替格林斯潘辩护,骂中国人就没有这个问题。

    坦率的说,如果没有中国人如此大规模的借钱给美国,美国的泡沫也许吹不到那么大。但中国人借钱给美国人,和美国人怎么用那笔钱根本是两回事,你一年从全球借七八千亿美元,可以去修路架桥,给穷人提供医疗保险,总之干点有用的事情,你也可以去各个地方烧钱:房地产啦,伊拉克啦之类的。结果是你选择了后者。现在事情没玩转,回头来怪借钱给你的人了,这是什么逻辑?

    我想了想,这是老子和儿子的逻辑。老子给了儿子不少钱,儿子跑去吸毒,结果把自己吸残废了,回头来怪老子,说:如果你不给我那么多钱,我就不会吸毒吸成这样,现在我残废了,你得负责。

    可是美国人从来没有认过我们做爹啊?我觉得这样吧:喊声爹我们就认了。”

  5. xiao

    It reminds me of one of (still) President George W. Bush’s most famous quote, “If it feels good do it; if there is a probem blame someone else.”

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