October 3, 2011
Three years ago the most-powerful instutitions in America were the nation’s largest banks and brokerages, Wall Street for short. While millions of people were losing their homes, their jobs and their savings, the nation’s elite extracted a $700 billion line-of-credit from Uncle Sam.
Now Wall Street is our financial Vietnam. It’s broken. The old cures and postponements won’t work. Everyone knows it.
“High risk mortgage lending and shortcomings in consumer protections for mortgage borrowers were among the most important underlying causes of the housing bubble and the financial crisis that resulted,” according to Sheila Bair, past chairman of the FDIC. “Not only did the proliferation of high-risk subprime and nontraditional mortgage products help to push home prices up during the boom, but excessive reliance on foreclosure as a remedy to default have helped to push home prices down since the peak of the market over four years ago.”
No longer are huge financial corporations seen as too big to blame — nor as too big to fail. In fact, some have even embraced the idea of a voluntary bankruptcy.