Washington Mutual went under this week in the nation's biggest bank failure ever. But not before putting out a final press release touting its devotion to affirmative action and "diversity," and the awards it received from Hispanic and gay-rights groups, such as being placed on an "annual Diversity Elite list" for its race-conscious efforts in recruiting, lending, and donations to Hispanic advocacy groups.
Maybe it would still be in business if it had paid as much attention to prudent lending practices as it paid to the race of its employees and customers.
The government is obsessed with race, too. It spent years promoting risky sub-prime mortgages through affordable housing mandates imposed in the name of "racial justice" and "diversity." And it punished lenders who refused to make risky loans through the Community Reinvestment Act and other laws. Those mandates helped spawn the mortgage crisis. Yet now, Congressional leaders are including affirmative action in the $700 billion bailout of America's financial system.
At the behest of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who justified the Los Angeles race-riots (which destroyed countless Korean-American businesses) as an "uprising" by the "oppressed," Congress is adding affirmative action provisions to the bailout bill. (Waters opposed reform of the fraud-ridden government-sponsored mortgage giant Fannie Mae, which helped trigger the financial crisis, calling its corrupt CEO Franklin Raines “outstanding").
The proposed $700 billion bailout of the banking system has been set forth only in very broad terms, and vast discretion has been left in the hands of the Treasury Department to buy bad loans at a high or low price, with few checks and balances. Congress could not be bothered to place any meaningful standards on this discretion. But there is one exception: an affirmative action mandate!
Even in the middle of what they claim is a national emergency, liberal Congressional leaders have included in their bailout bill an order to the Treasury Department to promote affirmative action in contracts related to the bailout to the "maximum extent practicable," even in emergency situations when the Federal Acquisition Regulation must be suspended (see pp. 23 & 58 of the draft bill incorporating their deal with the Bush Administration). If the world were about to end, liberal Congressmen would still be busy drafting affirmative action proposals.