25 People Responsible for the Crisis

Greenspan, King, and Clinton all played a role, the Guardian writes

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 26, 2009 3:25 PM CST

(Newser) – The current recession is a wholly man-made phenomenon, the Guardian reminds us, and they’ve got the names of those responsible. Here are four from their list of 25:

  • Alan Greenspan: Fed chair for 19 years, Greenspan kept interest rates low as the housing bubble developed, backed subprime lending and variable interest rate mortgages, and strongly defended the use of credit derivatives.

  • Mervyn King: Governor of the Bank of England since 2003, King played down the signs of a brewing financial meltdown, declining to cut rates early on. He also refused to inject cash into the financial system, citing “moral hazard.”
  • Bill Clinton: The president strengthened the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, making subprime lending easier. He also repealed the Glass-Steagall act, allowing deposit-based and investment banks to merge.
  • Kathleen Corbet: Under her tenure as CEO, Standard & Poor's pumped out AAA credit ratings for collateralized debt obligations, the securities backed by mortgages—often subprime—that turned into today’s “toxic assets.”
Click the link below for the complete list.

A portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan by artist Geoffrey Raymond is photographed outside the New York Stock Exchange,  Friday, Oct. 24, 2008 in New York.
A portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan by artist Geoffrey Raymond is photographed outside the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, Oct. 24, 2008 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
President George W. Bush is greeted by former President Bill Clinton--two of the Guardian's list of 25 people most responsible for the financial crisis.
President George W. Bush is greeted by former President Bill Clinton--two of the Guardian's list of 25 people most responsible for the financial crisis.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Before then-Sen. Phil Gramm decried a nation of whiners, he was busy causing the financial tsunami they were whining about, according to the Guardian.
Before then-Sen. Phil Gramm decried a "nation of whiners," he was busy causing the financial tsunami they were whining about, according to the Guardian.   (AP Photo/Douglas Healey)
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Some people look at subprime lending and see evil. I look at subprime lending and I see the American dream in action.
- Phil Gramm

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