Explaining something as tangled, technical, and multi-dimensional as the
2008 financial crisis is fraught with difficulty. Some have tried comparing toxic assets to supermodels, while others have given musical theater a shot.
This morning we have another answer--in the form of a 576-page book--from
the congressionally appointed panel charged with investigating the
roots of the meltdown. Were it not for corporate incompetence,
inadequate government regulation, and excessive risk-taking by
Wall Street banks in the housing market, the commission concludes, the country could
have avoided financial calamity.
Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission blames former
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan for failing to contain the
spread of toxic mortgages and the Bush administration for its
inconsistent bailout policy, while labeling the Democrats' decision in
2000 to not regulate over-the-counter derivatives "a key turning point." Just as notably, the report
doesn't accuse the low interest rates instituted by the Fed after the
2001 recession, government-backed mortgage providers Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac, or the government's aggressive push for homeownership of playing major roles in the crisis.