Ron Johnson a piker compared to a more infamous Johnson

The investigative, and I use that term loosely, media has breathlessly reported that U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson received a cool $10 million parting gift from his Oshkosh-based plastics company, Pacur. I guess the “expose” was supposed to make me want to take Johnson out back and beat the daylights out of him, but somehow I just can’t manage to get worked up over it.

Since I have neither the time nor the inclination to envy another person’s success, I greet Johnson’s deferred compensation revelation with a gigantic yawn.

You see, until recently, the greedy bandits who are partly responsible for the nation’s near economic collapse in 2008, the people who ran Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae into the ground and enriched themselves in the process, have been largely ignored by the mainstream press.

It seems a New York Times reporter conspired to commit a righteous act of journalism with a new book titled Reckless Endangerment, which noted the role of one Jim Johnson in the financial fiasco that nearly destroyed the American economy. THAT Johnson was in charge of the two government-backed mortgage behemoths that, aided and abetted by the federal political class, encouraged the lax lending practices that contributed so much to the meltdown.

In the process, Johnson reportedly built a $100 million fortune.

The narrative that the meltdown was caused by Wall Street greed and predatory lending by banks works well enough on the surface, but in their long overdue book, Times reporter Gretchen Morgenson and financial analyst Joshua Rosner lay out the pattern of financial malfeasance and deception of Johnson, his colleagues, and the federal “overseers” and politicians who looked the other way while Fannie and Freddie were engaged in their incestuous behavior.

Some of those elected officials received campaign contributions from none other than Fred and Fan, no doubt making them less likely to go sniffing around.

Sort of makes you want to march on Washington, doesn’t it?

It was sure comforting to know that Congressman Barney Frank and former Sen. Chris Dodd, who assured us all that Fannie and Freddie were in fine financial shape, are the authors of the Dodd-Frank bill, that financial fix that was supposed to make everything just peachy.

Instead, Dodd-Frank and its litany of “unintended consequences” stands as the Obama-era legislation that’s most deserving of repeal, primarily because it did nothing to end “too big to fail.” At some point, the taxpayers will again be asked to bail out, with their tax dollars, yet another entity that makes a foolish bet the rest of us would suffer the consequences for. Count on it.

It should be noted that since leaving the Senate, Dodd has landed a gig as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America. I wouldn’t be surprised if the financial drama he helped inspire becomes the subject of a blockbuster motion picture, with plenty of self-serving Hollywood license.

But I digress. Despite the reader comments below, I'm well aware of the potential campaign finance implications of the Ron Johnson story, but the press has largely ignored the truth behind arguably the biggest financial story since the 1929 stock market crash, so my point about selective outrage apparently did not register. The Fannie and Freddie “Johnson” was rewarded for contributing to our misery by amassing a massive personal fortune with our tax dollars, and I’m supposed to develop a deep sense of outrage over Ron Johnson, who ran a successful company that employed people and contributed to the tax base? Get serious.

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