Forensic study

We note with approval a report last week that the U.S. Senate might be about to undertake an important study pushed by, among others, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. Isakson, along with Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., John McCain, R-Ariz., and John Dorgan, D-N.D., has for more than a month now been advocating a bipartisan congressional committee to investigate the history and causes of the financial collapse. The committee would, in Isakson’s proposal, work with the Justice Department and would have subpoena powers. According to the New York Times, the Senate on Wednesday agreed in a voice vote to consider creation of such a committee. It’s an important matter, to say the least. The country’s best and only hope of avoiding this kind of economic strife in the future is to take a hard, unblinking look at what caused the trouble we are in right now — to let the facts lead where they will, without bias or presupposition. It’s too much to hope, in the real world of Washington, that partisan politics can be kept entirely out of the process. A crisis this severe makes blameshifting and scoring points at opponents’ expense easy and, for some, irresistible. But the key sponsors of this measure have reputations and records of integrity, which suggests that the process can work more or less as it should. A safe prediction is that any thorough forensic investigation of the financial crisis will find more than enough blame to be widely shared. — Dusty Nix, for the editorial board