Financial Mess: Who’s To Blame?

Jan 26, 2009 12:43pm

ABC News’ Stu Schutzman reports:

The late great comic actor Oliver Hardy used to repeatedly blame all of his troubles on his dithering sidekick, Stan Laurel. "This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into," he’d admonish Laurel in movie after movie. Today the British newspaper, The Guardian, admonished an entire nation for this financial mess the world has gotten itself into. Included in the Guardian’s list of the top 25 most culpable for the global economic crisis is the American Public. Yes, there’s plenty of blame to go around, says the Guardian; there’s scandalous Wall Street greed and political inaction, "but if millions of Americans had just realized they were borrowing more than they could repay then we would not be in this mess." For the record, the paper also lashed out at the British calling them, the "credit junkies of Europe."

But the Guardian’s public enemy number one is none other than the former rock star of international economics himself, Alan Greenspan. As head of the Fed, Greenspan, says the paper, allowed the housing bubble to swell and burst and he looked the other way as the financial industry got involved in some very risky business. Other prominent members of this Hall Of Shame include Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and British P.M. Gordon Brown. The sub prime mortgage meltdown, says the paper, was nurtured and thrived on their watch. Former Senator and John McCain Economic adviser Phil Gramm takes a big hit. It was Gramm, says the guardian, who legally greased the skids for the sub prime securities and credit swaps that brought the worlds financial markets to their knees. His characterization of Wall Street–"to me," he said, "that’s a holy place."

Abby Cohen the "perpetual bull" of optimistic economic analysis is high on the list. A gaggle of CEOs are up there — of AIG, Lehman Bros, Citi, Countrywide, the list goes on and on.  Even the elder statesmen of finance, Warren Buffet and George Soros couldn’t escape scrutiny.

"The worst economic turmoil since the Great Depression is not a natural phenomenon," says the Guardian, "but a man-made disaster in which we all played a part."

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