If you are Alan Greenspan, you retreat from your 2008 epiphany in which you acknowledged your “state of shocked disbelief” that “the whole intellectual edifice” of your deregulatory ideology had collapsed. Now, you condemn reform efforts as “the current ‘anything goes’ regulatory ethos” — a phrase that paradoxically recalls your own failed policies at the Federal Reserve. In short, after driving the economy over the cliff, you offer to give driving lessons.

If you are JP Morgan’s chief investment officer, you refute the statement that your chairman and chief executive, Jamie Dimon, made to the FCIC in 2010 blaming the failures of major financial institutions on “the management teams 100 percent and . . . no one else.” You revise your opinion on the causes of the crisis to instead focus blame on government housing policies. The source for this newfound wisdom: shopworn data, produced by a consultant to the corporate-funded American Enterprise Institute, which was analyzed and debunked by the FCIC report.

If you are most congressional Republicans, you turn a blind eye to the sad history of widespread lending abuses that savaged communities across the country and pledge to block the appointment of anyone to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless its authority is weakened. You ignore the evidence of pervasive excess that wrecked our financial markets and attempt to cut funding for the regulators charged with curbing it. Across the board, you refuse to acknowledge what went wrong and then try to stop efforts to make it right.


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.