I don’t even know if there was a Katrina commission, but if there was, and I was on it, I would first ask “why were the levees inadequate?” If the guys running the FCIC were running that commission, their first question would be “Well, Brownie, what was the worst thing FEMA did?” At least that’s what Chairman Angelides thought the world most wanted to kno about the financial crisis: “Specifically, Mr. Blankfein, what two negligent or wrong things do you most have to apologize for?” or words to that effect.
The whole idea that this commission starts with organizational issues at the investment banks, rather than the macroeconomic environment in which they operated, blows my mind. Of course, the day is young, and only the most political members of the commission have spoken as I write this. But the fact remains that the first panel of grillees consists entirely of scapegoats, when it should, of course, consist of scholars. We can get to the bad actors – some people certainly misbehaved – but no one operates in a vacuum, and this Commission’s indifference to macroeconomics, or, to put it more bluntly, its lust for fault, is simp0ly embarrassing.