Paul Krugman is a first-rate economist who has written perceptively about the economic crisis. He is also an unabashed Democratic partisan who often goes overboard in his hatred of the Republians, as in his June 1 New York Times column entitled "Reagan Did It." He means that Reagan is ultimately responsible for the current crisis: "Reagan-era legislative changes essentially ended New Deal restrictions on mortgage lending--restrictions that, in particular, limited the ability of families to buy homes without putting a significant amount of money down." The specific change he mentions is the passage in 1982 of the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act, though he does not explain why he singles out that Act among the measures that the Reagan Administration took to deregulate the savings and loans institutions.
There is no doubt that the deregulation of the S&Ls, which was an initiative of the Reagan Administration, was an important step on the road to the deregulation of banking (broadly defined to include all forms of financial intermediation), and that deregulation was a significant causal factor in the risky lending of the early 2000s that precipitated our current crisis. But it ignores the other causal factors, notably the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve beginning at the end of 2000, and, more important, it ignores the bipartisan character of the deregulation movement.