As my subject says, if you are not mad you should be. The housing bust has turned into a Wall Street bust with the news coming this weekend that Secretary Paulson and President Bush are scheming to nationalize our finance industry.
I’m mad. The problem is I don’t know who to be mad at. Should I be mad at…
- Banks for being so greedy that they risk their liquidity and goodwill with their communities by packaging up loans into fake “securities” and selling them off to Wall Street so they don’t have to carry all that debt on their books (just the responsibility)?
- Wall Street for being so stupid for buying this junk?
- Consumers for being ignorant, not understanding the ramifications of taking mortgages they can’t pay? (I assume you are not one of them if you use our software.)
- Credit agencies for overrating these ridiculous “securities” and making everyone think they are safer than they are?
- The Fed for keeping short-term interest rates so low that credit flipping looked like a smart move when every kid in school should learn that you don’t pay off one credit card with another?
- Greedy CEO’s who walk away with multi-million dollar pay packages when their companies file for bankruptcy?
- My grandparents (Greatest Generation) and parents (Baby Boomer) generations for leaving me and my fellow Gen Xers and Gen Yers with trillions of dollars of debt that they don’t seem to care about paying back?
But these folks just get me upset. Who really makes me mad is the Federal Government, who over the past 20 years has systematically abandoned its main (and some could argue only) purpose: to make sure that a capitalist society functions correctly. After all, Capitalism only works when everyone thinks they can get ahead, when everyone believes the markets are efficient, and when everyone believes that my neighbor doesn’t have more information than me. Our government has abdicated its role in regulating business — the extremely boring task of making sure that all businesses and consumers play by the same rules — in favor of more politically interesting fights such as abortion and gay marriage.
And that makes me really mad.