08/13/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

New Pecora Commission Will Give Rise to Public Anger...Which Is Why Elites Fear It

Are suppositions about the complexity of the financial crisis just another way of keeping the real story from public scrutiny?

If there's one thing that everyone seems to agree on, it's that the current financial crisis is complicated. There are two problems with this. First, it's not, fundamentally, true. The causes for the crisis are fairly simple when you strip away the artifice and lingo. (Most notably an $8 trillion housing bubble that the financial over-class insisted wasn't a bubble.) But more importantly, the perceived complexity of the issues are being cynically manipulated by those responsible to stem the tide of popular anger and insulate themselves from the wholesale reforms that are necessary.

In a piece on the bailout, Matt Taibbi referred to this posture of condescension as the "eye-roll." As soon as you ask a question -- why did you think housing prices would go up forever? -- you are treated to the eye-roll which is the posture of those in power to the supposed ignorance and idoicy of those attempting to figure out just how they broke the world.

The point is that complexity has an enervating affect on the polity: people can only marshal anger and action about the crisis if they feel that at some basic level they understand it. Before we have a politics, or a broad call for reform, we must have some broadly shared understanding of what went wrong and who's responsible. That's why a new Pecora Commission is so vital....

You can read the rest of Roosevelt Institute Braintruster Christopher Hayes's piece at
New Deal 2.0.