I received a request to break down who I blame for the housing crisis/financial mess/recession we've gotten ourselves into and thought it might do some good to not only list all of those at fault, but what percent responsible they were. Thus a handy little pie chart;
I first and foremost blame the sub prime borrowers because, as I've said before, none of us would be in this mess if they did what they said and paid back what they owed. Thusly I assign a 23% blame on them.
However, it's not like financial dead beats could have done this on their own. They needed help. Specifically, they needed some moron to loan them the money and here I blame mortgage brokers and lenders. In the past these people would have normally weeded out the sub prime dead beats from borrowing money in the first place and summarily denied them the loans. However, driven by commission and short term profits, these idiots lent money out they knew they would never get back. Thusly, I assign a 17% blame to them.
Now, unbeknownst to most people, and arguably the main point of my book (which you should buy), is that the media and society only focus on one side of the housing crash problem; demand. All we ever look at is how demand was artificially inflated by shoddy, if not, absent lending controls, a flood of sub prime dead beats entering the market and easy credit. Nobody looks at the other side of the equation and that is supply. Here the exact same story was repeating itself.
For it wasn't just sub prime dead beats that wanted to own houses, but scumbag, moronic real estate developers who wanted to build more and more housing and sell it at inflated prices. These people are just as much to blame, for as much as the sub prime dead beats artificially inflated demand, these crooks skyrocketed supply. And so much did they boost the supply of housing, they flooded the market with it, which drove prices down and made it impossible to sell your house for anywhere near what you paid for it. I blame them precisely as much as I do their demand-side counterparts - 23%.
Again, these real estate developers could not have done this without help, and here is where the fourth culprit lie - banks and bankers. Banks, blinded by what they deemed to be perpetual commission for continually approving $35 million suburbanite real estate development deals, would pay no heed to the burgeoning level of supply they were dumping on the market. And since they didn't care about how much supply was hitting the market, they also didn't care if it would bankrupt them, necessitating a taxpayer financed bail out. They put their commission ahead of not only the long term longevity of the bank, but from lessons learned from the S&L bail out, they knew the taxpayer would be stuck with the bill. They are equally to blame for the mortgage banking scum that lent so frivolously to the sub prime deadbeats - 17%.
The two sides of the economic equation, supply and demand are accounted for, but it behooves the question "what were people thinking?"
Well most "people" were neo-Americans, accustomed to not having to work or pay for anything. It was their entitlement mentality that they were entitled to a house, entitled to a flat panel TV, entitled to a convertible and entitled to a life. Additionally, most neo-Americans put themselves first above and beyond all others, so even if Banker Bob knew lending money to Developer Dave would result in a $10 million loss for the bank, what did he care? He was going to get a cool $100,000 commission off that deal. Besides which, he had no loyalty to the bank, he was already looking for another job. It was this childish, me-first-at-all-costs-including-tanking-the-US-economy mentality that created the environment by which the housing bubble and subsequent crash could fester. Ergo, it is the spoiled brat, entitlement, American psychology that is to blame, earning 13% of its share.
The two remaining culprits were simply responding to what Americans and society wanted. Investments banks, though not the originators of the loans, accelerated the bubble by allowing the originators to sell the toxic loans they did make. This disassociated the originator holding onto the risk of the loan and gave them great incentive to go for volume and approve everything under the sun. Again, adhering to the "me-first" mentality, investment banks passed on crappy loans to unsuspecting investors, of course, not without first, getting their cut in commission - 4%
And finally, how can a good ole fashioned bubble form without the implicit consent of the good ole government. Again, prompted by the desires of neo-Americans to have everything for free, and always eager to use taxpayer money to buy votes at the expense of society, democrats (primarily) through the years instituted policies such as the CRA that somewhat sternly suggested banks lend to losers and scumbags. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the government intermediaries that made this possible as they financed/guaranteed the mortgages made to the most rotten, degenerate scumbag borrowers. And if you weren't for giving away free houses to the poor, you were a racist, nazi, sexist fascist. Of course, the "government" is really just an illusion, as last I checked this was a democracy and it is the people who govern, thereby making the government just a condoner of the things going on and earning it a 3% share of the blame.