Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Slams Greenspan, Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson, Summers, SEC, Rating Agencies and Big Banks for Causing Crisis

George Washington's picture

Washington’s Blog

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is releasing its report Thursday.

The New York Times has a preview of the report, which shows that the Commission will slam the right people for causing the financial crisis.

Barry Ritholtz gives a good summary of the Times' article:

The many causal factors highlighted in the FCIC report:


• Alan Greenspan’s
malfeasance — his refusal to perform his regulatory duties because he
did not believe in them — allowed the credit bubble to expand, driving
housing prices to dangerously unsustainable levels; Greenspan’s
advocacy for financial deregulation was a “pivotal failure to stem the
flow of toxic mortgages” and “the prime example” of government


• Ben S. Bernanke failed to foresee the crisis;


• The Bush administration’s
“inconsistent response” — saving Bear, but allowing Lehman to crater —
“added to the uncertainty and panic in the financial markets.”


• Bush Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. wrongly predicted in 2007 that subprime meltdown would be contained.


• The Clinton White House, including then Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers,
made a crucial error in “shielding over-the-counter derivatives from
regulation [CFMA]. This was “a key turning point in the march toward
the financial crisis.”


• Then NY Fed President, now Treasury secretary Timothy F. Geithner failed
to “clamp down on excesses by Citigroup in the lead-up to the crisis;”
Further, a month before Lehman’s collapse, Geithner was still in the
dark about Lehman’s derivative exposure;


• Low interest rates brought about by the Fed after the 2001 recession “created increased risks” but were not chiefly to blame, according to the FCIC (I place some more weight on Ultra-low rates than they do);


• The financial sector spent $2.7 billion on lobbying
from 1999 to 2008, while individuals and committees affiliated with
the industry made more than $1 billion in campaign contributions. The
impact of which an incestuous relationship between bankers and
regulators, Congress and bankers, and classic regulatory capture by the


• The credit-rating agencies “cogs in the wheel of financial destruction.”


• The Securities and Exchange Commission allowed the 5 biggest banks to ramp up their leverage, hold insufficient capital, and engage in risky practices.


• Leverage at the nation’s five largest investment banks was wildly excessive: They kept only $1 in capital to cover losses for about every $40 in assets;


• The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency along with the Office of Thrift Supervision, “federally pre-empted” (blocked) state regulators from reining in lending abuses;


• The report documents “questionable practices by mortgage lenders and careless betting by banks;”


• The report portrays the “bumbling incompetence among corporate chieftains” as to the risk and operations of their own firms:

-Citigroup executives admitting that they paid little attention to the risks associated with mortgage securities.
-AIG executives were blind to its $79 billion exposure to credit default swaps;
-Merrill Lynch top managers were surprised when mortgage investments suddenly resulted in billions of dollars in losses;

I certainly agree with all of these points.

It should be noted that leading banking analyst Chris Whalen - who I greatly respect - agrees with FCIC Commissioner Peter Wallison (co-director
of the American Enterprise Institute's program on financial policy
studies) that Freddie and Fannie were a leading cause for the crisis.
This is the minority view of the FCIC.

Many people - including me -
have criticized the FCIC for seeming to sidestep the massive fraud
which was a core cause of the crisis. However, the Commission has indicated that it will make criminal referrals. We'll have to wait and see if the referrals are for big or small fish.

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Nikki's picture

Any Chinese, Latinos, African Americans in this pile of crooks ?.. How is it that it is 90% yahoods responsible ?.. Coincidence or conspiracy ???

Hephasteus's picture

Bad boys bad boys what ya gonna do?

What ya gonna do when fucking corrupt midgets come for you?

Whatta's picture

I think we should reward and give bonuses to all those named-names. And maybe keep them in high ranking positions. Gee, that would be a swell way to treat them. Maybe give them a puppy too.

David99's picture

Have all of these jokers hanged or not yet??

SwingForce's picture

Of course they haven't been prosecuted, not with Andrew Cuomo as Attorney General, now Governor of NY.

pan0p's picture

Not with a public that believes all they have to do is bubble in a multiple choice option "prosecute" before returning to the sports arena or bingo hall.

pan0p's picture

Is Starbucks still in business?

Are people still investing "in the market?"

Miss Expectations's picture

In conclusion, we don't believe it's possible that any of this was accidental.

Bob's picture

Now, they can't go there!  It would be too "political."

Very good point, Miss.  They just throw out the data and then the corporate media stages the dog and pony debate that puts the public to sleep while the banksters keep that money machine churning.

11b40's picture

Right! Plenty of blame to go around, but zip in the way of punishment.

How about if we offer them some tax breaks as an incentive to be better corporate stewards in the future?

orangedrinkandchips's picture

I agree with Greenspan and Bernake for sure. I abhor Timmy to no end. However, I have to be fair and ax "how the fuck would Timmy know Dick-head Fuld was levered to the hilt?


Wait, that's right....probably during a bong session in Timmy's basement, Fuld should have told him they were levered 33 to 1. Why not?


And why he was at it...have Fuld make that announcement to the entire world...see what happens!

There is no way Tim would have known they were that screwed....


In the game of go are not going to broadcast what you have!

other than that... summed up in one word.....DUH! (aka....NO SHIT!)

pan0p's picture

Is this the dog part or the pony part?'s picture

so the gov't won't blame itself for forcing banks to lend to folks with no money, In the in in the name of ah-um minorities.

pan0p's picture

So the sheep won't blame themselves for their slide into absolute material debauchery? Admittedly such an understanding would require some sort of critical thinking faculty...

pan0p's picture

For, what other purpose does a "constitution" (as we understand them since 1789) serve than to keep a central bank in power?

Constitutions and democratic elections serve only one purpose: To justify the rule of a pernicious and mendacious minority over the rest of the people.

Cue the social sciences...

Bob's picture


Constitutions and democratic elections serve only one purpose: To justify the rule of a pernicious and mendacious minority over the rest of the people.


Assuming we're responding to the same article, you're referring to the bankster oligarchy?

David99's picture
They all are 100 times bigger criminals than Guatemala detainees, please hang them asap
cossack55's picture

There are detainees in Guatemala?  Gold smugglers, no doubt.

David99's picture

When will ZH let me know that they all are hanged till death??

David99's picture

My cup of tea is getting cold, can't have it till all of them are hanged asap

JW n FL's picture

the God like quant... with his magic copulas'...

and POOF! the world ends...

the risk soup was a lil spicey, huh?

Salinger's picture

check out the about us section of fusionIQ and you will see that Barry is a quant wannabe

and as for the point in the above summary, kind of ironic given that he is part of the financial sector as a small time money manager in the order of Doug Kass who promotes his funds via his blog


The financial sector spent $2.7 billion on lobbying from 1999 to 2008, while individuals and committees affiliated with the industry made more than $1 billion in campaign contributions. The impact of which an incestuous relationship between bankers and regulators, Congress and bankers, and classic regulatory capture by the industry.

David99's picture

Hanging is the only solution now please do it asap before I can have a cup of tea

David99's picture

I can't have my food till they all are not hanged

David99's picture

Have all them hanged till death or not yet??

David99's picture

I am not intrested to see all these jokers for a second


Please hang them asap

David99's picture

Hang them today not tomorrow please


Hang them till death right now

whoopsing's picture

What will the sheeple think when they hear this? Refund for a defective product.....Um,this gov't thingy ain't workin' as advertised.we want our money back

Salinger's picture

Barry Ritholtz gives a good summary of the Times' article:


Geroge, if we wanted to read Ritholtz we would go to his sorry excuse for a blog, you can do much better than quoting that wall street insider... what next are you going to link to Cramer?

some ZH references to the Great Barry Ritholtz

ZeroHedge - On Jumping Sharks With Barry Ritholtz

ZeroHedge - Some Afternoon Confusion

Hedgetard55's picture



Barry jumped the shark when his book came out and suddenly it was "all about Barry", his book, his tv appearances, etc. Then a bunch of left wing kooks began to dominate the comments section and drove the good thinkers away, and Barry's leftist tendencies began to appear in his own comments and excoriation of conservative commenters. I left and have not looked back.

Mercury's picture

What about Freddie and Fannie?  Remember them?  In fact, they might also consider addressing how that whole national housing policy thing has been working out...

cossack55's picture

They would have to contact Frankie "steal all the mofo's &*$@" Raines on his private island in the Pacific.

whoopsing's picture

So,is any of this new's? 

Bob's picture

It can't become "news" until it's released by a "bipartison commission," because the corporate media doesn't do investigative financial journalism.

satansanus's picture

Prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. This was the most destructive american event in history on capital basis.

Death Penalty trials for many of these people living like kings off the suffering of innocents

Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

Hang 'em from the highest tree ... or telephone polls along I-95 would do.

MarketFox's picture

What about "accountability" for $Trillions lost ?

The message became clearer when Blankfein was invited to the big Chinese meeting. And do note that the President's speech spoke nothing about "financial justice" that he himself is a member/prostitute of the indicated by Farber....



cossack55's picture

I think you have financial justice confused with social justice.  Using bankers math, the two justices cancel each other out, thus one is left with social financing (thats when society finances the TBTF)......oh, wait, thats  what is happ.......someones at the door.

A_MacLaren's picture

Where is the dismantelling of Glass-Steagall on this list?

Too offensive to the Banksters to include it? 

Talk about regulatory and oversight capture...

cossack55's picture

No one remembers that.  They also don't remember uptick rules and FASB 157.

Pee Wee's picture

Both are symptoms of regulatory collusion and magic accounting standards which to this second mask the fraud from top to bottom... hence left out.

Lies recommended instead of reality.

williambanzai7's picture

Gee wiz, how do they dream this stuff up?

A_MacLaren's picture

Dreams? More like The Power of Nightmares

bonddude's picture

Larry king interviews Hillary about small town banking fraud.