In Cohan’s perfect world, everybody ought to be a lawyer with great eyesight who can read and understand thirty pages of fine-print legalese constructed to befuddle people:

In addition to committing us to creating an entire new bureaucracy at a cost of $500 million (and rising) a year, her brainchild gives us all yet another excuse to avoid taking responsibility for our own actions. Instead of being prudent with the amount of personal debt we take on, instead of reading carefully the documents we sign — be they for new credit cards or new mortgages — and instead of learning how to live within our means rather than light years beyond them, we can now continue to blame others for our own failings.

And then there’s this completely unsupported statement:

Yes, some people who have lost their homes were victims of fraudulent mortgage brokers and shady lenders. But the vast majority of those who held the billions of dollars in mortgages now foreclosed on knew exactly what they were doing.

How does Cohan know this? He just assumes it. Meanwhile, here’s a stat that belies that: 61 percent of subprime borrowers in 2006 actually qualified for prime loans but were shunted into the high-interest-rate ghetto. Think they “knew exactly what they were doing”?

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.