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Showing posts from May, 2010

Who is to blame for this mess?

There seems to be a lot of discussion to who is to blame for the financial crisis. But an awful lot of the media coverage is highly misleading. Here is synopis:

1) The meltdown in the financial market had little to do with people getting mortgages they couldn't afford. The collapse of the mortgage backed CDO's was caused by the collapse in the value of the houses which provided the collateral. It turned the mortgages behind the "collateralized debt obligations" (CDO's) into mostly un-collateralized debts. The result was that they went from AAA rated bonds to junk.

2)So what caused the housing bubble and collapse? Many people blame the fed, but don't have the story right. The fed did play a role. By keeping interest rates on Treasury Bonds low, they provided a market for alternative bonds that would pay a greater return.

But the major cause of the housing bubble was the creativity of the investment banks. These are not the retail banks that make home mortgages n…