This post was originally published at The Deliberate Agrarian.
Paul Krugman is a popular guy these days. The American economist was awarded a Nobel prize in Economics this year. In a recent interview I heard Krugman say that no one person is responsible for America’s current financial crisis. But, he said former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan certainly deserves a lot of the responsibility.
As for Greenspan, he spoke this past week before Congress and said he was “in a state of shocked disbelief” about what has happened to the economy. He further stated: “This crisis, however, has turned out to be much broader than anything I could have imagined.”
Greenspan went on to blame the crisis on “explosive demand by investors around the world” for what were (at one time) very profitable mortgage backed securities. To feed the great demand for these investment vehicles, mortgage lenders started giving mortgages to people who, under normal circumstances, would never have been able to get such loans. As a result, the securities being bought by investors all over the world were tainted with what is now known as “toxic assets.”
Meanwhile (and, incredibly) these risky securities were being rated as relatively safe and sure investments. When it came to light that they were not so safe and sure, the house of cards started to fall, and it is still falling.
How could bad investments be rated as good investments? According to Greenspan: “The whole intellectual edifice… collapsed… because the data inputted into the risk management models generally covered only the past two decades, a period of euphoria.”
So, “Surprise. Surprise. Surprise! Sergeant Carter”…
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