Business Bloggers To Debate CRA Role In Housing Crisis For $100K

07/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Hey, everybody! Want to make a quick and dirty $100,000? All you have to do is beat Barry Ritholtz, business journalist and author of Bailout Nation in a debate over whether the Community Reinvestment Act caused the entire housing industry to melt down into unending crisis. Here's Ritholtz, serving it up:

I've run out of patience with tired memes and discredited claims by fools and partisans.


Well, its time to put up or shut up: I hereby challenge any of those who believe the CRA is at prime fault in the housing boom and collapse, and economic morass we are in to a debate. The question for debate: "Is the CRA significantly to blame for the credit crisis?"

A mutually agreed upon time and place, outcome determined by a fair jury, for any dollar amount between $10,000 up to $100,000 dollars (i.e., for more than just bragging rights).

There's no shortage of potential challengers. You can pull a veritable rogue's gallery of CRA paranoiacs from this posting from Mary Kane at FAIR: Charles Krauthammer, Neil Cavuto, Lisa Schiffren, Alex Castellanos, even Rush Limbaugh. But according to Felix Salmon, it looks like Ritholtz is going to sparring with Clusterstock's John Carney.

That'll make for an interesting debate. Carney's only recently changed his mind on the CRA issue. On June 23, Carney published a post entitled, "Sorry, Folks, The CRA Really Did Require Crap Lending Standards." Carney followed up with a flurry of blog entries after that, and is today looking for backers. (Carney has a fair question, by the way, on how, exactly a "winner" in this debate is to be determined.)

Reuters' Felix Salmon is of the mind that Carney's crazy, but nevermind that! I don't see Salmon risking any of his green on this.

So, that's today's update on how your financial journalists are diddling around, making high-stakes blog wars with each other while everyone else in the world slides slowly and inevitably into unemployment.

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