NEWSFLASH: The Meltdown Didn't Have to Happen

Brian Hicks

Updated January 28, 2011


Watching the government do practically anything is often akin to watching molasses run down the hill in January.

But like that slow running ooze, even the government eventually manages to accomplish its feat.

The problem in this case is that they are telling us what we already know.

So here’s the newsflash sportfans: the financial meltdown could have been stopped.

Gee thanks…

From the New York Times by Sewell Chan entitled: Financial Meltdow was ‘Avoidable’, Inquiry Concludes

The 2008 financial crisis was an “avoidable” disaster caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street, according to the conclusions of a Congressional inquiry.

The government commission that investigated the financial crisis casts a wide net of blame, faulting two administrations, the Federal Reserve and other regulators for permitting a calamitous concoction: shoddy mortgage lending, the excessive packaging and sale of loans to investors, and risky bets on securities backed by the loans.

The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done,” the panel wrote in the report’s conclusions. “If we accept this notion, it will happen again.”

The commission’s report finds fault with two Fed chairmen: Alan Greenspan, a skeptic of regulation who led the central bank as the housing bubble expanded, and his successor, Ben S. Bernanke, who did not foresee the crisis but then played a crucial role in the response to it. It criticizes Mr. Greenspan for advocating financial deregulation and cites a “pivotal failure to stem the flow of toxic mortgages” under his leadership as “the prime example” of government negligence.

It also criticizes the Bush administration’s “inconsistent response” to the crisis — allowing Lehman Brothers to go bankrupt in September 2008 after earlier bailing out another bank, Bear Stearns, with help from the Fed — “added to the uncertainty and panic in the financial markets.”

Like Mr. Bernanke, Mr. Bush’s Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., predicted in 2007 — wrongly it turned out — that the subprime meltdown would be contained, as the report notes.

Democrats also come under fire. The 2000 decision to shield over-the-counter derivatives from regulation, made during the last year of President Bill Clinton’s time in office is called “a key turning point in the march toward the financial crisis.”

The crisis was the result of human action and inaction, not of Mother Nature or computer models gone awry,” the report states. “The captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system ignored warnings and failed to question, understand and manage evolving risks within a system essential to the well-being of the American public. Theirs was a big miss, not a stumble.” 

No sh*t Sherlock……


Why people aren’t ready to riot I’ll never know.

Have a great weekend!

Related Article:

Bill Black: Fire Holder, Geithner and Bernanke

The No Spin Zone: Bill Black Calls BS

Epic Fail: Brooksley Born Demolishes Alan Greenspan

Matt Taibbi: Goldman is “Re-creating the conditions for another crash”

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