How did we get here?
There’s lots of blame to go around on what caused the latest recession that is so widespread and continuing:
The banks did it.
The stock market did it.
The traders did it.
Bernard Madoff did it.
The government did it.
Hell, everyone has a share in this one-and they’re all equally to blame.
The banks did it:
Actually, it began back in 1980:
Banking deregulation began in 1980 with the passing of the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act and continued in 1982 with the passing of the Depository Institutions Act. This deregulation led to the failure of more than 500 banking institutions between 1980 and 1988, according to Columbia University Press.
That led to not only those failures, but the continuing failures to this day: FDIC Failed Bank List
The government is to blame for this mess:
Another part of the puzzle is the SEC, which is the government agency that oversees the financial institutions on Wall Street.
It’s only now, in 2011, that the sins of the SEC are coming under fire.
An enforcement lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission says that the agency illegally destroyed files and documents related to thousands of early-stage investigations over the last 20 years, according to information released Wednesday by Congressional investigators.
To be sure, the SEC is supposed to have been on the watch for most of what happened in the financial community. That they did not catch all of the meltdown before it happened should not be surprising-because they didn’t want to enforce the very same laws they themselves were breaking.
The entire recession is an interlocking puzzle that has so many variables that it will always be hard to pin the blame on any one institution-but I would be willing to bet my bottom dollar that for all of those listed above, the banks and the government are really the only ones we should really blame.
But to this day, not one banking or financial institution listed has ever been prosecuted for public fraud, despite the overwhelming evidence that abounds.
Why? Because we, the American public and taxpayers, did not complain when it all went wrong. We didn’t care enough to care.
Now we’re really paying the piper twice: for our failure to care and for our failure to hold to account those who so obviously took us for a ride.
So part of the blame is actually ours: for failing to stop what was being done against our better judgement and interests.
In short: We did it to ourselves.