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Sunday, June 15, 2008

An appearance of impropriety on the HIll? Say it ain't so, Joe

Say it isn't so. Bloomberg reports that Sen. Kent Conrad "admits" that he was given preferential treatment on his Countrywide mortgage. This is a day or two after he denied any knowledge of being given a mortgage for 1 percentage point below the going rate. It might not be Sen. Conrad's fault: if a Senator is always given preferential treatment, he/she might not know that it's preferential.

I am currently reading Upton Sinclair's Metropolis which is basically an indictment of New York "Society" in the early 1900s. The book describes a sub-set of the population living the gilded life, spending the equivalent of a million dollars on a single party and so forth. The main protagonist, Allan Montague, asks his brother Oliver how Ollie can afford to pay thousands of dollars for a wardrobe, or hundreds of dollars for a handkerchief. Ollie's response is that he (and the rest of the set) don't pay full price, if they pay anything at all. Much like celebrities of today, "Society" in Sinclair's book wear certain clothes to generate newspaper articles about said clothes. In turn, those who are wealthy but not in "Society" go to the particular clothier and pay full price. Montague is taken aback by this form of consumption, but it suggests that there have been people in this country (and I am sure in others) who don't realize, or at least don't admit in public, that what they get to consume is somewhat different than the rest of us mere mortals.

I think Sen. Conrad, and other Senators who were treated favorably in their mortgages should, at the very least, resign their leadership posts if not from the Senate. Instead, Sen. Conrad will write a check to charity?!?!?

June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Senator Kent Conrad said he was given preferential treatment on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial Corp. and will write a $10,500 check to charity.

Unbelievable. (sarcasm)I know, I know, it's just another isolated incident.(/sarcasm)

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