Thomas Sowell
The first time I saw Chris Christie on television, shortly after he became governor of New Jersey, my immediate reaction was, "My Gosh! A Talking Republican!" It was almost like seeing a talking giraffe or a talking salamander.

Technically speaking, Republicans do talk, but talking is definitely not their strong suit. Nor do they seem to have put a lot of thought into what they say or how they say it. The net result is that articulate Democrats can get away with the biggest lies, without any serious rebuttal from most Republicans.

I have not heard any Republican official or candidate even try to answer a standard claim of the Democrats, that "deregulation" is the reason the housing market went haywire and brought down the economy. Therefore, according to the Democrats, Republicans who want to restore a free market are just trying to "go back to the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place."

That sounds very persuasive, if you don't know the facts -- and it sounds like pure hogwash if you do.

But facts don't speak for themselves. And if we wait for the Republicans to speak, the whole country can be in big trouble.

The "deregulation" gambit is not new. It was tried out years ago, in California, when some of the most heavy-handed regulation of the electrical utility companies forced them to charge less for electricity than they had to pay to buy it. After this led to their financial collapse, and then to power failures and blackouts that outraged the public, the Democrats' response was that this was all due to -- you guessed it -- "deregulation."

It is the same story today on the national level. Federal agencies with powers of economic life and death over banks and other lenders forced these lenders to lower their lending standards. The words of the regulators themselves are a matter of public record, and they sound like something out of "Alice in Wonderland." They ought to be quoted, to give the lie to claims that "deregulation" is the reason for the housing boom and bust.

Some people think that nonsense is too silly to answer. But not answering it can just allow nonsense to prevail -- to the detriment of the whole country.

Much as I admire the approach of Congressman Paul Ryan, I cringed during one of his speeches when he said -- in just one sentence -- that none of his reforms would deny benefits to people already getting Social Security. When the truth is just a passing blip on the screen and the lies go on at great length, guess which one is likely to prevail politically.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate