George Will compares the housing "crisis" (his scare quotes) to another one of his famous pseudo crises:
The housing perhaps-not-entirely-a-crisis resembles, in one particular, the curious consensus about the global warming "crisis," concerning which, the assumption is: Although Earth's temperature has risen and fallen through many millennia, the temperature was exactly right when, in the 1960s, Al Gore became interested in the subject.
There is a big difference, someone ought to point out, between the "climate" and the "weather" or the "temperature" at any given year. Suggesting that these are the same–and then pointing out how silly global warming is–is just dumb. I'm not even sure if this would rise to the standard of the straw man. At least with the straw man you have to approximate someone's real argument in order to make the deception work.
Anyway, on the strength of this astounding misunderstanding, Will launches into an a priori, and rhetorical-question-driven, assault on the housing crisis. He writes:
Are we to assume that last year, when housing prices were, say, 10 percent higher than they are now, they were exactly right? If so, why is that so? Because the market had set those prices, therefore they were where they belonged? But if the market was the proper arbiter of value then, why is it not the proper arbiter now? Whatever happened to the belief, way back in 2007, that there was a housing "bubble"? Or to the more ancient consensus that, because of, among other things, the deductibility of mortgage interest payments from taxable income, too much American capital flows into the housing stock?
Where's the drooling dunce who holds the position Will ever so skillfully skewers (that's two alliterations) here? Nowhere I bet. People may be wrong about the nature of the housing issue–they may even exaggerate it in a bit of political hyperbole–but Will should do us a favor of describing someone's actual position rather than the a priori incoherence of a straw man's position.