"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Little Weiner v. The Big Story

About the least important story in America right now is whether or not Anthony Weiner will drop out of the mayoral race in New York.  Weiner, a world-class creep, should not be mayor of Dogpatch, much less New York, arguably America's most important city.   What would it say to the world if a serial sex stalker like Weiner would be elected mayor of the city where the 9/11 terrorists struck?  It would say, quite obviously, that we are a truly decadent, silly people, a civilization in decline, awaiting our fall.

But the story itself is unimportant.   Whether Weiner stays in or drops out, whether Weiner is elected or defeated, does not affect whether we decline and fall, it merely stands as a signpost on the way.   Symbolic?   Yes.   Causal?   No.

Meanwhile, we miss the truly big stories, such as this:

American Dream Slipping as Homeownership at 18-Year Low 
The U.S. homeownership rate, which soared to a record high 69.2 percent in 2004, is back where it was two decades ago, before the housing bubble inflated, busted and ripped more than 7 million Americans from their homes.  
With ownership at 65 percent and home values rising, housing industry and consumer groups are pressing lawmakers to make the American Dream more inclusive by ensuring new mortgage standards designed to prevent another crash are flexible enough that more families can benefit from the recovery. Regulators are close to proposing a softened version of a rule requiring banks to keep a stake in risky mortgages they securitize, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

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