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September 18th, 2008
10:10 PM ET

How Financial Madness Overtook Wall Street

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/18/art.vert.wallstconstruction.jpg width=292 height=320]

Andy Serwer and Allan Sloan
Time Magazine

If you're having a little trouble coping with what seems to be the complete unraveling of the world's financial system, you needn't feel bad about yourself. It's horribly confusing, not to say terrifying; even people like us, with a combined 65 years of writing about business, have never seen anything like what's going on. Some of the smartest, savviest people we know — like the folks running the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board — find themselves reacting to problems rather than getting ahead of them. It's terra incognita, a place no one expected to visit.

Every day brings another financial horror show, as if Stephen King were channeling Alan Greenspan to produce scary stories full of negative numbers. One weekend, the Federal Government swallows two gigantic mortgage companies and dumps more than $5 trillion — yes, with a t — of the firms' debt onto taxpayers, nearly doubling the amount Uncle Sam owes to his lenders. While we're trying to get our heads around what amounts to the biggest debt transfer since money was created, Lehman Brothers goes broke, and Merrill Lynch feels compelled to shack up with Bank of America to avoid a similar fate. Then, having sworn off bailouts by letting Lehman fail and wiping out its shareholders, the Treasury and the Fed reverse course for an $85 billion rescue of creditors and policyholders of American International Group (AIG), a $1 trillion insurance company. Other once impregnable institutions may disappear or be gobbled up.

The scariest thing to average folk: one of the nation's biggest money-market mutual funds, the Reserve Primary, announced that it's going to give investors less than 100 cent on each dollar invested because it got stuck with Lehman securities it now considers worthless. If you can't trust your money fund, what can you trust? To use a technical term to describe this turmoil: yechhh!

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Filed under: Andy Serwer • Raw Politics • Wall St.
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. S Herr

    Anderson,

    The big issue here is that the American people are not able to pay their mortgages to the big mortgage companies. Why are the government bailing out the mortgage companies, not the American people who desperately need the help? The American people are the victims here, not the big mortgage companies.

    September 19, 2008 at 12:00 pm |
  2. J from DC

    McCain wants to fire Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Committee. However, McCain's economic advisor is Phil Gramm. The man who created policies, which has contributed greatly to this recent Economic Meltdown. Yet, McCain has not even fired him from his own campaign. Unbelievable! Maverick or Mouse.

    September 19, 2008 at 11:11 am |
  3. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    P.S. Just think about the impact 'privatizing' things like Social Security would have on the average individual while the Greedy snake oil salesmen of the large financial firms coerce and manipulate the masses for their own gain while a 'Let the Market control itself' goverment looks the other way.

    Just how much more are we expected to take ? Our good paying jobs are being exported, our homes are losing value, our savings are being wiped out. More importantly the greatest stabilizing influence of any Democracy , The Middle Class, are being systematically
    destroyed for the temporary benefit of the very wealthy few. This is Greed carried to a new and very dangerous height. What they don't seem to realize is that Eventually even those wealthy few will pay the price for this unbridled Greed if this trend continues.

    September 19, 2008 at 11:10 am |
  4. susana

    what they were specting being in iraq for so long, taking care of another country, when is our country the it needs help. I know idiot Bush never won either election, don't understand how can we have some-one so stupid as a president, You can see this coming long time ago. And everyone pretended the we were doing fine. Now people talk about middle class, IS NO MIDDLE CLASS ANYMORE, BUSH KILL THAT. Know we have to work so hard, just to survive, because everything is so over price, and we are not making more money, but they don't see that, how stupid the people our government is, they don't know math, we need to make maney to spend, we are making less, than we can afford to spend.

    September 19, 2008 at 10:10 am |
  5. WIllie

    Bush, the Americans who voted him into office TWICE and the Trillions spent on the Iraq War put us where we are today regardless of who wants to spin it otherwise! Bush and Cheney should have been tossed out of office before 2004 not RE-ELECTED! And the same people who can't see the forest for the trees, want to elect his TWIN and his New Kid On the Block, Palin back into office to ensure that America will never rise out of the Black Abyss that Bush shoved it into!

    Sorry, but my patience for the Americans whose vision and insight of reality is at 0/10 and decreasing has worn out! If you can't clearly see Bush in McCain or Cheney in Palin your eyes are out of focus! Before Nov. 4th get a new pair of glasses! The rest of us shouldn't have to suffer through more disasterous leadership because of your fuzzy, warped vision!

    September 19, 2008 at 8:43 am |
  6. Sam

    I just read an article stating that $2.4 billion of Leahman loans came from south Florida. There are 50 loans, including one associated with the Trump condo in Hollywood. If you do the math you will realize that these loans were not given to little guys who couldn't afford to buy a home. I will vote for Obama simply because he will try to make these criminals pay higher taxes. Maybe we can recoup some of the trillion dollar lifeline Bush has thrown them.

    September 19, 2008 at 12:17 am |
  7. Matt

    One word sums up how we, and subsequently the world, have arrived at our current position: Greed. Greed blurs the lines of black and white creating a gray area where financial integrity and responsibility, ethical business practice, and foresight of future financial stability and sustainability are substituted with a decision and policy making methodology of bottom line justification

    I don't believe one group of companies, industry, or even a country is to blame. We have all played our part in the game and now we must deal with the consequences.

    September 19, 2008 at 12:15 am |
  8. Bob Ramsey

    I am totally opposed any bail out at all. I saw the problems with the increase in housing cost two years ago and bailed out of all stocks a year ago. Everyone said I was crazy to be all cash the last few years. I am in my early forties and have totally paid off two homes. I do not make that much money but I live within my means pay all my bills in full every month and save. My account almost scolded me for paying my homes off. I don't have new cars a boat a fendi or any prada or a Rolex and never took a home equity line to pay for trips cars etc. So I am responsible and all they greedy people in the country get a bail out for being stupid and greedy and I get to foot the bill in taxes. Should I start to learn Russian or French next? They gambled they lost let them get foreclosed on declare bankruptcy etc. How about we take all the bail out money and send to the people that don't have credit card balances pay there mortgages and bill on time. Hmmm I think they might manage the money better. But maybe I am wrong??? Right. I guess we should all start saying the pledge to socialism.

    September 19, 2008 at 12:13 am |
  9. Ruth A.

    I’m not really sure why this is such a big mystery. I, and others like me, have been suffering for several years. I work in IT and my field has been decimated by systemic offshore outsourcing. The auto industry has been dealing with this even longer than the IT industry. Nobody did A THING to stop the insanity. In fact, just as George W. Bush was encouraging American corporations to offshore jobs, he was disallowing employment benefit extensions. Don’t think we have forgotten that one.

    The price of food, clothing, medical care, fuel, EVERYTHING, has skyrocketed, but not our salaries (that is if you are lucky enough to have a job). Then, the “lenders” (AKA criminals) got even more greedy and played on the human being’s innate tendency to want more for less. Folks bought properties that they could, in no way, afford. That worked for a couple or three years and then that bill came. Reality time folks!

    The American people need to spend less time shopping and more time learning. In a sad yet wonderful twist, folks may soon be able to afford nothing but a trip to the local library. What if Americans got smart? Whoa, what a concept. Of course, all this learning is reliant upon there actually being books in the library to read (seems like some folks think that book banning is something worth, at least, “inquiring” about).

    Now we learn that the government, on top of the $85 billion of our tax dollars it has shelled out to bail a cup of water out of AIG’s long haul freighter, has decided to throw even more into the pot. The fleecing of America has been entirely overlooked and, NOW our government rides in on a chariot dragged by millions of American workers. What a joke!

    Any more questions?

    September 19, 2008 at 12:03 am |
  10. Kris Toliver

    The guest comment about the bank failure of 1929 was just a blink and "people went back to drinking their Gin, and the economy recovered". At that time the banks loaned money for investors to use to by stock and when they lost it banks had nothing as colateral and instead called in other loans from working class people such as, mortgages and business loans to stay solvent. People couldn't come up with this kind of money, they lost everything. My grandmother and her sisters and all their children children moved in with her mother and father on the farm. She said people even gave away their children to other families because they could not feed them.

    September 19, 2008 at 12:03 am |
  11. Bruce

    How can a broke company loan itself money. For that matter how can a broke country loan broke companies money to stay in business without dragging itself further down. I guess we'll keep stealing from Peter to pay Paul but what happens when Peter stops printing worthless money. Hillarious, if it wasn't so sad and we weren't such born suckers to believe this can go on forever...

    September 18, 2008 at 11:42 pm |
  12. Bruni

    Some one just mentioned derivitas, some one should really explain what they are. One hears that no one really understands them bottom line it's legal gambling on a huge scale. A bunch of suits sit together and figure out how they can steal a lot of money without going to jail. Some analyst should get on the TV and explain in simple language what a dirivitave is. The financial advisers intimitate people with a lot of fancy words example: highly leveraged, that means hocked to the hilt.
    Derivitas explenation bettiing on market fluctuations and betting on market fluctuations again their value is zero. No one has the guts to stand up and tell the truth.
    Bruni, Fl

    September 18, 2008 at 11:40 pm |
  13. Susan

    To: Dan Stewart

    The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 was signed into law 11/12/1999 by former Preident Bill Clinton.One of the effects of the repeal was to allow commercial and investment banks to consolidate. Some economists have critized the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act as contributing to the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis.

    Susan
    Phoenixville,PA

    September 18, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  14. Ammed Saavedra

    Anderson,
    I think that obama has forgotten about the young vote. Every economist suggest for people who have 20 to 25 years to retirement to invest . Why doesnt he call about the young vote to espire this message. As apart of a more comprehensive economic plan.

    September 18, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  15. R Bean

    I am so fed up with big business being bailed out of their stupid greedy mistakes. These CEO'S will never learn from their mistakes by being helped.

    We have been lied to and the powers to be will not tell the truth.

    These people need to go to jail. I do not expect the Government to bail me out if I make bad business decisions.

    The first place to start is to get rid of the money sucking private held Federal Reserve who is part of this whole matter.

    If the media would tell the truth about the Federal Reserve the American people rise up and demand our government to buy back the Federal Reserve or get rid of it.

    These so called financial experts need to tell the whole truth and stop lying to the public.

    This is bigger than the great stock market crash. It is not the same and finicial pundents know it.

    September 18, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  16. Kevin

    We are all missing the fact that the US economy cannot finacially support the unpopular war in Iraq. This has had a major effect on the US economy by lowering the value of our dollar and the rise in the cost of oil, which is tied to the falling US dollar. I guess the McCain-Palin ticket can fix this by having a transparent government. My question is the lack of cooperation inf the Troopergate investigation by the Governor the type of transparency that we will see of McCain becomes President?

    Let save our economy and get out of Iraq. Let fight to save our Country. They say put country first, let us doing by taking care of America first, that includes our economy, our children and our future.

    September 18, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  17. SHERMA

    This mess started because of greedy bankers who made loans to people they knew could not afford the payments. As one who almost got sucked into one of these loans and someone who worked for Ameriquest Mortgage Company, Argent Mortgage Company and Option One Mortgage Company, I know for a fact that these brokers and account executives would do anything, including falsifying documents and forgery to "make the loan happens". The borrowers also have a part to play, but in all honesty no one could have known what a domino effect this would have. I have personally been affected by this, because my company closed like many others after saying that everything was "fine". We can only hope that these politicians in Washington can put their differences aside to work towards the common good of American people.

    September 18, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  18. Travis

    I had always thought that the fundamental key to our free market capitalist system was that is you made it, fine, and if you failed, fine. The outcome was yours. Now the same companies that don't want government oversight have their hands out. Perhaps this will be the end of the 20mil a year CEO.

    September 18, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  19. Gary Benjamin

    I feel that President Bush only went into the White House with the same motives his father went into office. The war in Iraq. No matter what happened on American soil he would have tried to point his finger at Iraq anyway. He did not have any plans to deal with the domestic issues and it's very obvious that the only people he cares about about his that 2% of the filthy rich.

    September 18, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  20. Gary Benjamin

    I am very happy to see Obama leading in the poles. I had always felt there was a racial undertone. I feel that McCain has not shown that he has a detailed plan to run this county. I felt that Obama has given a whole lot more detail. I feel that the reason that a lot of people can't vote for Obama is because they just don't feel comfortable with a black man in the White House.

    September 18, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  21. Damaris

    WAKE UP !! This crazy, I wish the media including CNN would stop candy coating the economy and the mess America is in. We are in a RECESSION, own it.... We did it to ourselves, however the republicans were very instrumental in the downward spiral. For the past eight years we have spent money on an unnecessary war. I say impreach george w. bush. (BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT!!!!)

    September 18, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  22. Keith

    What Heather wrote is lucidly cogent.

    September 18, 2008 at 10:50 pm |
  23. Mark Lippman

    Who to blame? Who to blame? How many of us were all too willing to go along for the ride when our house values were going up? 50% appreciation during 2005 in Phoenix, Arizona. Our homes became virtual cash machines as banks fell all over themselves to lend money to appease our materialist appetites. No one cared how it was all possible. It was magic and we were all getting rich. Only now are we getting an inkling of what was going on behind the scenes with investment bankers, mortgage-backed securities, derivatives and matters that are far too complicated for the average person to understand. So we need someone to blame. Deregulation turned Wall St. into a casino and now the very people who created it, the Republicans, are shocked that there was gambling going on inside.

    September 18, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  24. Gilby-HI

    Would someone be interested in knowing who where the Senators that where against regulation of the investment industry?
    They are all Democrats starting with Sen. Dodd and ending with Sen. Obama.

    September 18, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  25. Annie Kate

    Lets stop blaming people and fix whats broken and then we can investigate why it went wrong and allocate blame – I'm sure there is plenty to go around.

    My mother who is in her 80s said she didn't want to live through another depression. Even though all she has is her social security and her house which is paid for, she is agitated about all this. I remember her stories about the depression and they were good stories – I don't want to live them though.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 18, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  26. Rick, Macon Georgia

    I liked the article a lot. I didn't like what it had to say, but it broke things down quite well.

    To the naysayers about Obama: I wouldn't want someone popping off about a solution without more information. I'm glad he was honest about not offering a concrete solution yet and wants a time. Kneejerk reactions are good exercise for the joints but don't contribute much to overall health and we need a comprehensive solution.

    I also seriously doubt anyone thinks that firing the SEC chief (John McCain's solution) will solve much. It might sound good but its not going to pay the bills or hold anyone accountable who was running these companies and making the decisions that got them into this mess.

    September 18, 2008 at 9:15 pm |
  27. Jakob

    How much does it take for America to realize that we need to change our lifestyles? You would think that over a trillion dollars in debt from the war in Iraq would be enough. This crisis was not just because of a failure in economic policy (although there have been plenty of those in the last few years), but also because of our lifestyle. Urban sprawl, SUV's, thousands of dollars in credit card debt-need I go further? Apparently cutting taxes just doesn't cut it.

    September 18, 2008 at 6:54 pm |
  28. Stacy

    Great article. Some of it is still a little over my head, but you really broke things down nicely.

    September 18, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  29. Heather

    I am a Democrat and I could follow the rest and blame Pres Bush, but I won't. I watched the CNN special with Andy on the mortgage mess and I learned the honest truth. I guess it's convenient to blame Bush. He is not responsible. He didn't sign the financial modernization act in 1999 with a Republican congress. Pres Clinton did. However, I don't think any of them could have imagined 9/11 happening and crashing the stock market which made Greenspan lower interest rates to record lows. They didn't forsee the value of homes go through the rough,so people were using their homes for credit. They didn't see the housing boom which was publicly encouraged by Pres Bush. Not that more people owning a home is bad. However,like I learned from the CNN special,Mr Greenspan really is at fault for this. Encouraging the use of flexible mortgage products. Everyone who processed a loan for a home knew if the person qualified. Usually if you don't qualify with enough income or enough down you don't get approved. These people only cared about closing the deal and making money and if that meant lying on the application they didnt care because they wanted to close the deal and get paid and figured the value of the house would go up. You can't get something from nothing. These people are all criminals and should be in jail and these mortgages should be illegal. This time it's worse because it goes across the financial institution sectors. It also goes oversees. This isn't over yet. It started with forclosures and it will keep spreading. It was going to happen sooner or later. This is a disaster. But it is a lesson you can't have something for nothing.

    September 18, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  30. Cheryll DiMichieli

    It seems to me that there is plenty of blame to go around regarding the current financial crises. Politicians from both parties have not served us well. Nancy Pelosi,in particular, continues to show a lack of leadership, knowledge and judgement given her current tirades blaming only the administration. The fact is the genesis of the housing crisis is the Community Reinvestment Act that forced banks to make loans to unqualified borrowers for the sake of of diversity. That regulation came from the Democrats and resulted in the explosion of home loans to unqualified home buyers during the Clinton Administration. To be fair banking and investment firms exploited the opportunity. As for the Fannie and Freddie Bailout, the Bush administration tried to reform them in 2004, but the Democratic led Congress prevented reform from taking place. If you look at the campaign contributions given by Freddie and Fannie to office holders, you will see that Christopher Dodd, head of the banking committee, received $165,000 followed by Barack Obama at $126,000. Also on the list John Kerry, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton,and Nancy Pelosi all of whom received substantial contributions. Needless to say there are Republicans on that list as well. The point is If you think money does not buy influence, you must at least consider the anecdotal evidence to the contrary. It is also true Christoper Cox has not been as aggressive as he should have been in his oversight role at the SEC. As I said, there is plenty of blame to go around. But turning this crises into a blame game is an exercise in futility and is a waste of time. Congress needs to act appropriately and responsibly by correctly defining the problem and applying the right solutions. All politicians owe us more than want we are getting.

    September 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  31. Melissa, Los Angeles

    That was an eye opening article written in laymen's terms that I could understand. Our financial institutions have failed us by gambling with our money and it never affected them when they lost until now. I've never been a fan of 401K or IRA's because my money is placed into the market. All those that wanted to retire this year and last can't because they lost thousands of dollars. I know placing my money into a savings account doesn't generate much interest (ING has been great at 3%) but at least I know it'll be there when I retire versus placing it all into 401K's and IRA's and hoping 40 years from now the money will still be there and that the market doesn't tank like it has been right now.

    September 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  32. P. D. Frazier - Modesto, CA

    Much of the cause for the current financial mess is deregulation. In December of 2000, Sen. Phil Gramm attached the Futures Modernization Act to a $384 billion spending bill. It is doubtful many of those in Congress read this 262-page measure. David Corn, Mother Jones' Washingtion DC Bureau Chief, wrote a great piece explaining exactly what this bill did and why it caused much of today's financial crisis. Ultimately, this act deregulated the "spiffy nouveau products – derivatives like credit-default swaps" this article mentions on page 2. Corn's article also explains these credit-default swaps.

    Corn goes on to write about where Phil Gramm is today. Sen. John McCain has called Gramm his economic guru. If McCain were elected, Phil Gramm could be a contender for the top spot in the Treasury Department.

    Scary stuff . . . and it's all over the place!

    September 18, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  33. Richard O'Nishea

    Hey all I need is about $240,000.00 to pay for my mess up's,so just let me know when the government is going to send me a big check to bail me out because I pay tax's just like the rich guy's from AIG.

    September 18, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  34. Julie San Diego, CA

    Elaine,

    Good luck tracing or doing anything about these transactions. I hate to sound negative, but once you've dealt with a roomful of men in pinstripes who have the kind of lawyers that can expertly defend this level of theft – that's what this is – you don't realize the level of greed and outright evil involved.

    I've seen some of these poor excuses for human beings sell out their friends for as little as a few million bucks. I've gone to shareholders meetings where the Chief Thief has hired a 6'6" bodyguard to ensure that shareholders who have lost the rewards of 10 years of hard work don't take justice into their own hands. After a while you say to yourself: "Why do I even try to work so hard when it can all be so easily taken away from me?"

    Most of these guys will get away with what they've done and the reason why they can get away with it is because we have an administration that has looked the other way for 8 years. Until we have deterrents at the Federal level, the plundering of companies will continue. Think about this when you vote.

    September 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  35. Alex

    I like the idea of borrowing money from the Ivy League Universities. After all, it was mostly the idiots they graduated that caused this mess. They learned how to do in in "Greed 101!"

    September 18, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  36. Gina

    None of this makes sense to me: If AIG needed bailing out and the feds give them $85 million "loan"....supposedly AIG had to use the
    "trilliions" of dollars in assests as collatoral.....please explain why they needed bailing out....I don't get it.

    September 18, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  37. Susan

    Andy:

    There really is not one person in particular that you can blame for this economic disaster. There is plenty of blame to go around. Pointing fingers is now irrelevant.

    Truly, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Prior generations have had to make some sacrifices to get through some tough times. Are the current generations up to the challenge ?????

    Susan
    Phoenixville,PA

    September 18, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  38. Dan Stewart

    One of the key CAUSES of this current mess is the Republican leadership of this country for the last 8 years. McCain is also initimately involved with the current economic disaster.
    Here is a man calling for regulation despite a 20 year history of pushing for less or even no regulation. Here is a man whos campaign Co-Chariman (Phil Gramm) pushed through the Gramm-Leech-Bliley Act which removed a lot of regulation around the Banking industry and is directed related to the current sub-prime disaster and its spill over into financial institutions.
    Here is a man who employs Carly Fiorina, a woman that took a severance package from HP of somewhere in the region of $42 Million dollars, surely a prime example of the kind of "fat cats" that McCain is railing against.
    This is just one area where his ignorance of the working of the economy is simply astonishing for a Presedential candidate.

    September 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  39. Steve

    Let's hope we're not treated with the same song and dance that we had better just learn to tighten our belts. At this point in time, my belt is tightened so much the buckle is pushing through my back. This whole situation is an outrage. Does this set a precedent for more companies to scream for a life preserver? We struggle each month at getting by. Where is ours? I fail to see where saddling the American people with even more debt will have a desirable outcome. Do the rules of accountability only apply to the everyday citizen?

    September 18, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  40. David Schmidt

    There is an army of risk adverse pit-bulls around us managing our money. Unfairly, win, lose, or draw they get paid. We need regulations designed to link their income to account performance, gains and losses. Time to let them buy their own lip stick.

    September 18, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  41. Randy

    So we're in the middle of our worst financial crisis since the great depression. The government balis out yet another company, AIG insurance. What does Obama say about the bailout? Nothing, he doesn't want to take a stand one way or the other. It's kind of like voting "Present". Don't we want a President to have a backbone?

    September 18, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  42. JC- Los Angeles

    Having ethically worked in the mortgage banking world here in Los Angeles, I believe that this mess is solely attributed to fraud, greed and a lack of oversight at all levels.

    By the time the second plane hit the World Trade Center on 9/11, Alan Greenspan and The Federal Reserve were going to lower interest rates.

    Although Greenspan provide a false sense of security to everyone but airlines, he and the Fed failed to understand the fraudulent mentality of business executives and politicians at all levels.

    With each rate cut, the fraud factories at Countrywide, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, WAMU, Wall Street, hedge funds, private equity and the secondary markets went into overdrive.

    Our business leaders became purveyors of 100%, pure, uncut, American fraud; the only difference between this and the illegal drug trade was a lack of scales in offices.

    Pundits will say we are not in a recession, however, if you remove all the jobs, money and spending attributed to the pervassive fraud, any logical person can see we have been in a recession since 9/11.

    All we get are people speaking out of both sides of their mouths who pumped and dumped stocks on the way up and shorted them on the way down.

    Enough is enough; the American people deserve better and deserve justice.

    Tom Brokaw eloquently wrote about "The Greatest Generation" while we are doing our best today to represent the worst.

    September 18, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  43. Keith

    Maybe we can start borrowing $$ from the ivy league universities that have billions in endowments.

    September 18, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  44. Robert Brown

    A couple of months ago the Senate hearings with Mr Lungan the head of CFTC said, "there is not a problem in the Stock Market", he was also asked if he needed more Money or People to do the Job, He said, "No"! Dereglation has put us here! Thank God for Democrates! SSI would have been in the Stock Market! Deregulation has not helped the Airlines, we still them but didn't before Deregulation!
    The Democrates are in Conrol but you still need 2/3rds Vote! Thank You!

    September 18, 2008 at 1:38 pm |
  45. Elaine C., Ambler, PA

    Another issue that I don't fully understand is why no one knows, or can trace, the full path of these transactions. In this day and age, when everything is done by computer, how can something not be documented and ultimately traced?? Why does no one seem to know the full extent of the potential rippling through the economy?? To me this smells of intentional eradication and deception.

    I hope you will start to name names of the key people responsible so the public can play with their fate and they did ours. The list of names should include financial executives as well as congresspersons, republicans and democrats, who are on the Finance Committees responsible for overseeing this industry.

    The press is always eager to name names when it comes to a sex scandal, so why be protective when an issue that is much broader and affects more lives surfaces.

    Elaine

    September 18, 2008 at 1:04 pm |
  46. Anna

    please Anderson, where are all the million making CEOs. Are they getting away with it all? please light the way again and always. we are crippled. health insurance not helping. hardly making ends meet. wage cuts. is this what the UNITED STATED OF AMERICA has become? what happen to the PEOPLE?

    September 18, 2008 at 12:57 pm |
  47. Michelle

    Whoa, this is scary stuff. There is no telling how this
    will all play out. I must say now I am a little annoyed
    at John McCain. Now he is saying to fire the SEC boss.
    Hello. Are we suppose to be stupid. Firing Cox does
    nada to solve this crisis. We are in the midst of a major
    league financial collapse. We need solutions and not
    scapegoats. Please enough already. In the not to distant
    future Goldman Sachs could be the lone investment bank
    on Wall Street. I think many Americans are fearful of what
    is coming next. If some of the world's biggest financial
    powerhouses are falling like dominos eventually it will
    hit main street harder.

    September 18, 2008 at 12:52 pm |
  48. Cindy

    This mess we are in happened because the head honchos of the banks and other companies wanted money! They didn't care if these people could afford the houses or not. They went ahead and put these people in houses because they thought for sure that they would make a killing. They made a killing alright but it wasn't the kind that they had hoped for! Instead they killed their job, their company and almost our economy.

    And congress sat back and did absolutely nothing to stop it. This did not happen over night! Neither party stepped up to the plate to try to right the wrongs before the bottom dropped out. So all of the finger pointing is ridiculous and useless seeing that they all had their hand in the cookie jar yet did not pull it out to try to right this ship!

    Cindy...Ga.

    September 18, 2008 at 12:37 pm |
  49. Maureen/CA

    The middle and lower classes have been suffering for years under the Bush Administration. Bush has ignored all of the warning signs of this impending melt down. Bush has refused to even acknowledge that the U.S. is in a Recession. McCain contributed to this problem by signing a bill to give the Wall Street idiots the freedom to create this mess. The reason Obama is on the ticket is because he listened to us, and he watched the deterioration of the middle and lower classes, while Bush and McCain carelessly turned their heads. Obama's campaign has always been about ways to resolve these economy-killing problems that are affecting most Americans. And all of the sudden NOW Bush and McCain are acknowledging (not too sure about McCain though) that the economy is in trouble? Why? Because this melt down has finally affected THEIR PERSONAL BOTTOM LINES! McCain has admitted in the past that he knows little about the economy, and it shows. Obama has been offering solutions all along to help resolve this mess and to try to PREVENT the melt down that is happening right now. He is a PROACTIVE problem solver. Wealthy Republicans are reactive and only react when it affects their own bottom line. They could not care less about the rest of the country as long as they are doing well. Their trickle down theory is working against them now. As for the Republicans that are not wealthy, well you just do not have a clue. I can’t believe that you actually vote year after year for people that hurt you, and do not honestly care about you. Like victims of abuse that constantly defend their abusers. I guess people just go with what they are comfortable with, even though it hurts them. Hopefully the undecided voters will wake up and realize that these serious problems will not be resolved by McCain/Palin who are mainly focused on lipstick, glasses, stolen e-mails, avoiding legal action in Alaska, looking at Russia from a mountain, Levi is the babydaddy, Cindy’s bones picked clean, canceling Larry King, dinosaurs, Tucker mad at Campbell, Hillary this Hillary that, imprisoned in a box, hockey, bridges, John mad at Carly, ice rinks, Polar Bears, jets, chefs, premarital sex, basketball, and beauty contests. McCain and Palin and their campaign will talk about anything except for solutions to the real issues. Vote Obama/Biden.

    September 18, 2008 at 12:28 pm |
  50. Keith

    Blame Bush!

    September 18, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
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