October 24th, 2008
10:25 AM ET

Culprits of the Collapse – #1 You


So who is to blame for this financial fiasco?
That’s the question we’ve begun investigating.
We’ve put together a list of the Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse.
#1 on our list: This time we look at you, the consumer. CNN's Randi Kaye reports.

soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Jason

    There is something strange going on here with these "culprits!" Did I see that blame was put on Gramm for pushing a bill, but no blame for Bill Clinton who actually signed this bill into law? As a matter of fact.... I have seen Bill Clinton participating in many of your "culprits" footage. What gives???

    Second... Beezer homes??? How did a single home builder help bring down our finical markets based on a very small number of "exaggerated loan papers?" Yes!! Guilty of fraud, but a "culprit?" ..... Come on! What is your beef here? The numbers don't add up at all on this one!!!

    Third.... These CEO's bare some of the blame here and should be pressed, but other factors play here also. First.... These CEO's were doing what they usually do......Trying to create share holder value and investing in the types of things that were generally safe and considered to be very secure. It's like walking....just normal.... safe and smart.... Been doing it for years!!! But.... This time these types of things were actually bad investments...... Why??? You really have to search a lot deeper than most in the media will go. Ask yourselves this .... Did all these CEO's set out to destroy their companies at the same time? Did all of them want to do harm to America, themselves, and their families at the same time? Is there any way that greed showed up and did this harm .... all the way across America, and back.... At the same time??? I think it's safe to say "no" to all of these questions. Something else happened! What could it have been? What could have caused all this at the same time? Well, when you talk about something this large it has got to have the Governments hand involved in a big way. Our Government has been pushing for people to be in homes since the Carter Administration. This effort has been led mostly by Democrats, but others have also been involved. A noble thing for people to have homes.....sure, I wish everyone had one. But how noble is it when they can't afford it? How much pain is caused when families are put on the streets and thrown out of those homes because they cannot pay the bills? At what point would it have been more noble if they were just told "no" in the first place, and asked just to save some more money first. Now we all bare this burden, and we must all feel the pain. A greedy CEO is a bad thing for some, but a stupid, self serving, worthless Government pains us all!!!

    October 24, 2008 at 1:35 pm |
  2. Don

    You've got to be kidding? The list contains only one elected official and he's been out of office for six years! Why aren't you calling out the the crooked politicians (democrates and republicans) in Washington? The time to do it is now, before the election so they can be replaced.

    I'm disgusted with the fact that those of us who are responsible and pay as we go, end up paying the debt of others.

    October 24, 2008 at 1:28 pm |
  3. kevin

    I do not accept the fact that I help to create this market downfall. The poor people did not use America as a store that was the republicans,and now that the poor is about to get some help with all that is going on, you want to put the blame on the people, when it should be on the CEO'S and the Repbublican in the Senate, and the House. This was all done under the First Bush term by John McInsane buddy Phil Grahm. God bless the Dems for taking this country back.

    October 24, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  4. Clyde Vista

    The CNN “Culprits’ list was a great idea, but it wasn’t carried out correctly! CNN didn’t get it right and the great majority of people that blog on this site need to get their information straight. So many people point to George Bush or the Republicans, the lack of legislation and several other factors. The reality is that the real seeds of this problem were bi-partisan in nature. Legislation that was proposed by Phil Gramm, a Republican, and signed by President Clinton, a Democrat, back in 1999 created this firestorm. Blame needs to be directed at former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines and his decision to make mortgages more accessible to poor and moderate home buyers. These buyers did not have the economic means to purchase a home in the first place, yet they were given that “opportunity.” It was failed monetary by Alan Greenspan that flooded the system with cheap credit that made it that much easier for the American public the purchase assets that they wouldn’t have been able to afford under normal circumstances. The lack of oversight from members of Congress and the President fueled this problem even more. Combine these factors with conflicts of interests from members of Congress, Banking Committee person Barney Frank dating a key executive at Fannie Mae, and Christopher Dodd receiving favorable financing from Countrywide when he purchased his homes. Then factor in the greed of Wall St., executives at Countrywide, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, etc. Then factor in the “new-age” American consumer that borrows more then he saves, purchases the Cadillac Escalade, the 3,000 sq. foot house, all without ever putting a single dollar down at purchase. Then when you can’t afford it, blame everybody else without ever looking at the main problem, YOU! Is anybody ever held accountable for their actions anymore? What happened to "old-school" traditional American values where working hard and being responsible was rewarded? It looks like everybody on this list was rewarded for poor behavior.

    October 24, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  5. chuck

    Anderson,I think you should point the finger back to yourself because John McCain should have been among the ten most wanted due to his own admission of voting against regulations that caused this diaster.This is REAL STRAIGHT TALK MY FRIEND.

    October 24, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  6. Bob

    You've got to be kidding me! Your list of the top 10 culprits doesn't even include Barney Frank? I absolutely agree that people who purchased homes that they couldn't afford are major culprits as are the banks and executives who were irresponsible and greedy in selling them the houses. However, as one of the leading government officials encouraging the practice of selling homes to people that couldn't afford them, Mr. Frank certainly earned a spot in the top 3 – if not #1. Not including him in the top 10 is absolutely incomprehensible.

    October 24, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  7. Travis

    "How about adding George W. Bush to this list?" How about adding the Congress to that list as well? Incidentally, what party has controlled congress for the last few years? Democrats?

    Educate yourself people! In the constitution it gives the CONGRESS financial and regulatory powers. Are we to believe that George W. Bush did ALL of this while Pelosi did nothing? If that is true then the DEMOCRATIC controlled congress is more lame and pathetic than possibly imagined!! Yeah!! we get more of the same then. So much for meaningful change.

    By the way. How come Obama didn't say anything about the incompetence at Fannie and Freddie before their collapse?

    Quit like a bunch of sheep following some shiny new shepard. Think for yourself.

    October 24, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  8. JC- Los Angeles

    Anderson, I am a major supporter of your piece on the "Culprits of the Collapse" and feel that outing worthless executives and politicians is long overdue, however, I feel strongly that the last culprit "You" should be changed to "Most Americans."

    As an impartial, honest, thought-provoking journalist, I'm sure you would take umbrage if you were linked in with the partisan reporting that has swept our nation.

    It's painful to be one of the few honest, hard working, self-made, successful citizens of corporate america who did not live the life of cheap money and easy credit only to be denounced and grouped in with the endless hacks who did.

    The instant gratification, gluttonous consumption, materialistic society that is America, is a shameful cesspool that needs to be eliminated; it should come as no surprise that sorry leadership creats a sorry state.

    I turned on the radio on my way in to work today and heard REM singing: "it's the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine."

    Sums things up for me.

    October 24, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  9. emily

    fine, you can try to point the finger at the public-but my mortgage is taken out of my checking first. last year i refinanced my home, during the process the bank was pushing a higher loan- an extra $22,000 sure this was extreemly tempting since i have live in a old 1902 farmhouse that i have been renovating myself for 15 years I HAD TO TELL THE BANK NO THREE TIMES i can not pay more then 600/month. in the end i borrowed $ 7,000 more than the anticipated amount......... just because they showed me that my payment would still be less than 600/month..... the mortgage companies need to be somewhere on the list

    October 24, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  10. Karen Hulett

    October 24th, 2008 8:32 am ET

    While I believe that we all share the blame in one way or the other, I disagree with “You” being #10 on the 10 most wanted list. Corporate greed has literally paralyzed this country. A large portion of our manufacturing industry has been outsourced to other countries. After a while it catches up–the workers of said manufacturer now have a job that pays less, has little or no benefits and offers no real promise of advancement. Affordable health care and pharmaceuticals are only a dream for many people. There are many who will go without daily meals this winter because of the cost of heating their homes. I could go on and on. It is a sad state of affairs for all of us. However, when playing the blame game, I feel that the American people are more of a victim than a culprit.

    October 24, 2008 at 12:58 pm |
  11. James in Nebraska

    Yup, I have a bit of credit card debt myself. Not as much as some, but more than others. I know that part of this is my fault, along with other Americans that did the same thing. I can pay my bills though and I am not getting any help doing so except for myself and my wife. We dug this hole ourselves and it's up to my wife and I get climb out of it.

    It is horrible that those who have there head out of there butt and in the right place, like Lucy and Herbert among others, are sufforing becuase of this. There's nothing like being punished for doing a good job. Maybe some of this bailout money should go to them for not being so stupid like the rest of us.

    October 24, 2008 at 12:57 pm |
  12. Jean

    DO NOT add my name to your top ten list!!! I find that very insulting for these reasons:
    I don't have a house note, have owned four homes, and paid a house note on the first one only. The others were built or bought with cash from funds we worked for and SAVED. All of the homes are nice homes, in good neighborhoods.
    I do not have credit card debts, my husband and I only have two credit cards, and we pay the balance due every month. We don't buy what we can't afford.
    We worked hard and had a serious savings program. Most of the people we know have done the same. We aren't in debt, and don't plan to be in debt because we have lived within our means.
    Don't insult those of us who have worked hard, own stocks and bonds, live in nice homes, have no debts, and are still working hard to stay prosperous. We are the backbone of this country, and we are insulted that we would be tossed into the sloppy business mix. NO, we don't deserve to be on your list.
    The last name on your list should have been the congress. Barney Franks and Chris Dodd are responsible for there being no checking on Fannie and Freddie. The democrats and republicans should have been on your top ten list. You need to apologize to us. That was a slap in the face, and we don't deserve it.

    October 24, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  13. mary dale

    I cant believe Bush wasnt on the list, his pick of 'experts' to run the financial portions of government – just what were they doing the last 8 years, just cheerleading? I dont think Bernacke has much blame, he inherited such a load of crap from Greenspan and probably couldnt believe the economy was that bad as he reviewed it.

    When this all first came up, I was one of the people who suggested it was the American people because of their habits. Not all of us, but the ones who had to buy everything on the market because it was new and they wanted it. The ones that bought houses based on what the person selling it said they could afford according to their income. Those are the Americans to blame, yet those who have lived sensibly will be paying for it for years . My husband and I only bought what we could afford, live very beneath our income and hope all the retirement money we have save thru the years doesnt just disappear. This was interesting. A nice change from the usual stuff that is just repeated over and over ad nauseum on the networks. Thank You Anderson

    October 24, 2008 at 12:52 pm |
  14. Michele Hackney

    Is anybody as mad as me about Greenspan's response to his contributtion to the collapse by calling this a Credit Tsunami?!@#???? Wonder why the overseas markets are crashing? That is another emotional response and they don't like Tsunamis!!!!!!

    October 24, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
  15. Sandra

    Well it's not me. But it is a lot of people who the rest of us are now bailing out. Reducing principal for people who owe more than their house is worth, even if they took cash out to buy toys. Those of us who were responsible get nothing. Guess we should have pulled all the equity out of our houses while the value was high. Those people are now being rewarded while the rest of us pay for it.

    October 24, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  16. Michele Hackney

    Ok so why isn't anybody talking about what Greenspan said yesterday. He has contributed to the meltdown TODAY!!!!! So he has commented on his contributions to the collapse by saying it was a Credit Tsunami??????? No wonder the overseas markets collapsed I can only imagine how deeply they feel about Tsunamis I can't even spell it but can see that! We need to be talking to the people that can fix this and Obama has a better handle than anyone including the media.

    October 24, 2008 at 12:49 pm |
  17. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Alright I'll say it, "GUILTY" as charged!

    October 24, 2008 at 12:47 pm |
  18. mark hoffman, Phoenix AZ.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but I didn't have anything to do with it. Having bought a 3bd, 2/12 ba. house 14 years ago that I still live in-with an easily AFFORDABLE mortgage of $380 a month-, not owning a car for the last 25 years and currently having neither a single credit card or outstanding loan-other than my mortgage-to pay off, I'm afraid that you will have to look elsewhere for the blame. As a member of the working poor who pays cash for EVERYTHING, I resent being lumped in with the greedy bastards who leveraged a far better lifestyle than I've ever lived or ever will live and who are now suffering for it!

    October 24, 2008 at 12:46 pm |
  19. Fiscally Responsible

    Not me. I paid for my house and my car. I pay off my credit card every month, live within my means, save what I am able, and make no charitable contributions to ACORN.
    And I make way less than $250,000...
    Don't tax me or anyone who provides jobs to others to give to those living above their means who caused this mess!!!!

    October 24, 2008 at 12:46 pm |
  20. Mark

    Nice to see Cindy from Ga wrote a "civil" comment for a change. Cindy, I have read your blog posts here for well over a year now. And, I'm sorry to tell you, I also have watched you, yourself and your comments DEVOLVE into hateful negativity and childish ranting and name-calling. Last Fall/Autumn of 2007, you were quite timid and tenative; now, you rant and spew hatred and vitriol towards the left/Democrats. Sorry to see your "true colors" come out after many months. Yes, it's easy to hide behind the cloak and mantle of anonymity where you do not have to face in person the object/victim of your hateful attack(s). There's no "consequences" for hating and attacking when noone can see you or engage you in person. Or, maybe there is some repercussion.....like after we die perhaps. We all shall see.

    That goes for A LOT of you folks who blog here on CNN.com as well. All the hate, attacks, name-calling and negativity are.......DISGUSTING and SHAMEFUL. I am SO NOT PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN with all the spiteful, hateful like all of you here who resort to hate and attack and name-calling. May spiritual being of your choice bless all of you and heal your mean-spirited souls... 🙂

    October 24, 2008 at 12:41 pm |
  21. Annie Kate

    I used to be in debt until I couldn't sleep at night worrying about it. Now I'm just a few payments away from being credit card debt free. So, I'll be credit card debt free in less than 6 months; have a mortgage I can pay for on one paycheck just in case layoffs; have contributed regularly to US savings bonds for the last 18 years; have always put the maximum allowed 15% in my 401K, save all year for Christmas so I'm not paying for it all summer. The one good thing about when I was in so much debt and worried about it – the lesson it taught my older children. They won't even touch a credit card – they use their debit cards and they know how to balance their budget. At least my poor example showed them what NOT to do.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 24, 2008 at 12:40 pm |
  22. jb

    That's right!!!

    Ultimately #1 is us, the American "voter".

    We (or at least some of us) have put, in office, people that value their political party having and keeping "power", over what is best for our country.

    Had the American voter, voted for more ethical people (don't lie or munipulate) that support a strong middle class in their policy positions, ie. a realistic foreign policy, world class schools, reasonable medical care, reasonable green technologies (includes energy and insists on reasonable worldwide worker/environmental protections), reasonable government oversight (regulations), etc., instead of people that were willing to use; manufactured wars, economic policies (less regulation and government interference), social conflicts (abortion/gay/gun rights), etc. to divide and/or scare people into voting their way, then our country would "not" be in the proverbal ditch.

    Must I remind people, our government had to pass laws to stop "business" from using child labor and sweat shops?

    For those of you that cry "socialism", must I remind you that we ride on roads and communicate in ways, that would not exist, except for our collective support.

    For those of you that have enough annual income, that you are in the top 5% income bracket, I remind you, your income would probably be far less, except for transportation, communication, and a strong middle class buying your stuff.

    Thankfully, technology gives us the opportunity to have more factual information, than the unethical, money hungry, power mongers have been pushing down our throats.

    We all must learn more and vote smart!!!

    October 24, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  23. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    I would put Dodd, Waters, and Frank well above the American public on your list of culprits. Dodd, Waters, and Frank were responsible for oversight and regulating and they have failed all of us miserably. And do they care? Absolutely not! Even if they are not re-elected, they still have their federal government pensions which have been protected from this huge financial crisis.

    October 24, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  24. David

    I guess your guess was wrong. It has always been the people that should hold top the top spot in this fiasco.
    George Bush was not the cause. You have to place Frank and Dodd way ahead of Bush. I am surprised one of them, namely Frank, is not top 10. You have to put half of Congress way ahead of Bush. Congress could have fixed it in the eraly days. Why not put the blame on the 95th Congress and Carter. They created the reinvestment act that passed under a super majority congress. That was the birth of outlandish loans.

    October 24, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  25. Joanne, Syracuse, NY

    Uh uh, I have no mortgage, I bought and sold houses until I could pay cash for my current home. I pay my credit card bills when I receive them. I have no car loan as I drive a 10 year old automobile, I pay all utilities and insurances while living with and supporting three disabled people.

    I lost 25% of my retirement savings to which I have contributed weekly for 20 years.

    You cannot point the finger at me, not for one minute!

    October 24, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
  26. Lynn Pena

    What about the entire real estate industry? Greedy realtors played a huge part in this fiasco. I bought a house three years ago and had two mortgages for about six months. I was actually told by the realtor that most people pay 50% of their gross income for their mortgage. Luckily, I knew that typically 28% was the magic number, which I felt was too high for even two mortgages.

    Realtors made tons of money by selling houses to people who couldn't afford them and deserve blame for this meltdown!

    October 24, 2008 at 12:30 pm |
  27. Chris, Ohio

    Even though my family has been very careful to only purchase what we can afford (yes, we have a nice house in a nice area but we COULD have bought more, drive newer [but not newest] cars), pay off our credit cards monthly and are careful with our money, I can accept a share of the blame for the current crisis. We COULD have saved more, but seeing our investments rapidly plummet downward, I'm glad we didn't! Unfortunately, the ones at the top will most likely skate away from this mess w/o any actions taken against them. The real losers (for lack of a better word) in this whole mess are those who are losing their homes, jobs, etc. But do you know who I really feel sorry for? The children in this. They have no idea why their lives are in turmoil, all they know is they are having to leave everything they know. I wish there was an easy solution but there isn't. I wish EVERYONE'S mortgage could be renegoiated down but that isn't going to happen.

    October 24, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
  28. emily

    The following are examples of illegal insider trading:

    The CEO of a company sells a stock after discovering that the company will be losing a big government contract next month.
    The CEO's son sells the company stock after hearing from his dad that the company will be losing the big government contract.
    A government official realizes that the company will lose a big government contract, so the official sells the stock.

    Why are these CEO'S allowed to say i did not know? Martha Stuawart was found very guilty for her small misjudgement. The CEO'S of these companies always have information early. Are all their records so spotless that no legal action can be taken? CEO'S need more then a slap on the hand!!!

    October 24, 2008 at 12:24 pm |
  29. Rick Lunce

    We the people are one of the "Culprits"?. The real problem is NO ONE stood up and said "you can't have a dream you can't afford or haven't worked for". The broadcast and entertainment industries pounded it into EVERY American that it was their responsibility to CONSUME and lenders followed it up, anything else was un-American. Those Americans who believed that there was no quick way (without work or saving) to achieve your dreams were treated as lesser people and are now left to pay for the short cutter's play.
    As any interogator knows (abusers to), if you pressure, or belittle someone long enough they will follow the program. Constantly telling people (reporting and advertisements) they are not as good as someone with "this" or "that" will sooner or later make them abandon anything they learned about responsility or earning what you want.
    It is human nature to compete and to belong and not one media outlet said "you are being manipulated for the consumer economy". They had no problem telling everyone how important it was for "you" to have everything that the rich or elite can have.
    So yes, we are to blame. However the real culprits will never be called out, bad for business (ad dollars). No matter what happens with this situation the non-stop bombardment of people with BAD information about personal and civic responsibility will not stop until media outlets decide money (advertising) is not as important as the PEOPLE greed / want will hurt. Share holders will whine about profit$, but I believe most people will understand the "needs of the many have to out weigh the wants of the greedy" once in a while.

    October 24, 2008 at 12:23 pm |
  30. joel franks

    A.C. why don't you name Barney Frank, Dodd, Rohm Emanuel and Obama to blame?

    October 24, 2008 at 12:21 pm |
  31. Martina Ilstad Germany

    Hey Anderson
    Thank you for the list of the TOP 10 shamless poeple.But what now???
    Is there any chance to put them in jail????Did they brake any low and order???Probable not!!!They got their money and they will get their money.So if we dont whant to be the only one who are to blame for that crisis,we have to learn not trust this kind of poeple!!!!Take care about our cash money,and try to forget credit cards!!!!!!

    October 24, 2008 at 12:05 pm |
  32. Lilibeth

    I understand why you named “You” as a major culprit of the collapse and that we, in general, are responsible for this mess. However, I’d like to speak for some of us who live within our means, pay off our credit cards every month, put 10% of our salaries in savings, and don’t spend money on unnecessary things just to keep up with the Joneses. We’ve been financially responsible, yet we are also victims of a catastrophe that we didn’t have anything to do with. It’s unfair, but we have no choice but to muddle through and hope that things will get better over time.

    Edmonds, Washington

    October 24, 2008 at 12:01 pm |
  33. GF, Los Angeles

    I completely agree we the consumer are a huge part of this collapse. Nobody had to take out outrageous loans to buy a house, car, etc. Luckily I listened to my parents and have zero credit card debt and actually do have not one but two savings accounts. I also bought my car 7 years ago with the intention to drive it until it until it's no longer feasible to have it maintained/repaired. It's time we all start reining in our spending. What good is a nation that has zero liquidity?

    October 24, 2008 at 11:57 am |
  34. Joe Hagy

    Mr. Cooper, please keep your guilt I don't care for it. In that government has refused to keep the base wages (minimum wage) at the same level as production or inflation for the last 40 years (1968 was the highest year so far) why should we feel guilty? First we have to send our wives to work to keep up. Then we take two jobs. Then student loans for our kids, thus mortgaging their future. Then we take easy credit to pay off the bills. All so that the "employers" can make more profit. Our own government has been waging a protracted class war for four decades. Keep your guilt, I don't want it.

    October 24, 2008 at 11:56 am |
  35. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    OF COURSE! ITS...........US! We, Americans, have been living "high on the hog" buying fancy purses, keeping up with "Sex in the City"..... keeping up with the Joneses.......... for years.

    I recently heard on NPR Radio that 85% of Americans would be bankrupt TODAY if they lost their jobs!

    Disturbing! But its easier to deny, live in denial than face the TRUTH.

    Its easier to blame the government, when we too, had a hand in the "cookie jar".

    Thank GOD, that our family has been frugal, that we have taught our children to have 6-8 months of salary in savings for emergencies.

    America will wake up!

    October 24, 2008 at 11:48 am |
  36. Patricia Juarez-Dappe

    Great Job with the 10 most wanted.

    It would have been nice, however, to make the caveat on the "You list" that many families are filing for bankrupcty not because they tried to live beyond their means in a bigger house and with a leased car but just because they were swamped with medical bills. Unfortunately, there is a large majority of those (if you think that 45 million have no insurance). By blaming all of US you are just diffusing a severe problem that this country is experiencing and buying into the rhethoric of this admnistration and of the 9 most wanted. Blame the poor for being poor and stupid (and for getting sick without insurance).

    October 24, 2008 at 11:38 am |
  37. Sami

    Good job on the Culprits of the Collapse but don't you think the media ought to be on the top 10 list?

    October 24, 2008 at 11:36 am |
  38. Tom Pagel

    Your Culprits of the Collapse series was an important public service by drawing the attention to those individuals who contributed in major ways to the dire economic situation we are now in.

    I strongly encourage you to re-package this content (with perhaps a few more culprits?) and have it as an hour-long documentary that can be replayed several times in the next few months as the turmoil of the Presidential campaign dies away and we are all left "holding the empty economic bag" in the months and years ahead. The scams, the lack of fiduciary responsibility, the greed and outright arrogance needs to be highlighted and not forgotten. As unemployment rises, credit needs unmet, people on the street we need to be reminded of the excesses. My grandfather said that if I ever decided to steal to "steal big" - because you seldom go to jail. Perhaps this time it should end differently.

    I wish we still had the public stocks around where the rest of us could stand around and humiliate, ridicule, taunt, and show disgust for their actions which have hurt all of us needlessly. A hard-hitting documentary repeated on TV may serve the same purpose.

    Crimes of this magnitude can not be excused or papered over. Only by keeping the memory alive can we assure that others won't follow in their footsteps too readily. Some behavior cannot be excused.

    October 24, 2008 at 11:35 am |
  39. Ellen Neely

    I resent being blamed for something I did not in any way contribute to. We have never been in debt. Credit card companies are very irresponsible sending cards to those who may not have any way of paying, college students for example. For people who suffer from a lack of responsibility, the lender should be responsible about backing the loans made. As many lenders have been totally without any responsibility, the taxpayer and the consumer must pay for the wanton irresponsibility.

    October 24, 2008 at 11:21 am |
  40. Brian from long beach

    I don’t know if anybody is going to read this but here we go.
    I would like to ask about the business tax, and about the claim that in the united state businesses pay as much as 35%... is that a rumor or a fact…
    I even hear that there is so many loop holes that business use to minimize their taxes that many big corp. hardly pay any taxes

    October 24, 2008 at 11:16 am |
  41. Kimberley

    My name is Kimberley and I’m currently resident in Columbus, Ohio. I and my son are both unemployed. I have an account open with Fifth 3rd bank. The Office of Unemployment Compensation makes a deposit into our account for my son in the amount of $155.00 a week. (He is a student) on his way out to school every Tuesday morning he checks his account balance to make sure his funds are available for him. On 10/21/2008 he checked his account and his unemployment was available to him. He went and made a few purchases on that day He was charged an overdraft fee of 37.00 on 10/22/2008 for a transaction that he made on 10/21/2008 that gave him an account balance that should have covered the charges . What I would like to know and the question I would like to ask both Barack Obama and John McCain.. How will you protect us from this kind of abuse from the banking industry that seems to be stealing from their customers I guess the bail out wasn’t enough I guess now they have resorted to stealing from their customers.

    Kimberley F.

    October 24, 2008 at 11:14 am |
  42. judy

    Hey Just heard AIG had 47 trailers worth of Herman Miller furniture delivered to them. THey told the trucker to hurry up and deliver the goods and get out quick.

    So why are we bailing them out. THey continue to take our taxpayer dollars already spent $440,000 on fun and now they order
    47 trailer truck load of furniture. Gov't should stop anymore money
    going to these crooks.

    October 24, 2008 at 11:08 am |
  43. Larry

    I will accept responsiblity for any of my actions that have contributed to the "collapse". I cannot believe though that your list does not include President Bush, the willing perpetrator of reducing government oversight. Why do you choose not to about the 4000 pound elephant (aka Republican) in the room. Actually I think you'll find an entire herd of elephants, and probably some donkeys as well.

    October 24, 2008 at 10:58 am |
  44. Cindy

    I knew that you all would eventually point the finger at the public. And it is rightfully deserved! I had to laugh last night when I saw it. You do know that you all will get some majorly nasty emails over this one! And the main ones who will be mad will be the ones who went out and bought a house, leased a car or two, and lived way beyond their means until they went belly up. They'll be the maddest at you I'm sure for pointing out their lack of self control and willingness to push past the limit where they couldn't afford it.


    October 24, 2008 at 10:53 am |
  45. Court


    October 24, 2008 at 10:50 am |
  46. L. Hebert

    Don't point your finger in our direction. We (my husband and I) have never owed a debt on a credit card, paid our home off in ten years and have lived in the same home for over 40 years, paid cash for every car we bought, (can't afford it don't get it!) and now live on SS and our savings. All this from working in the oil fields and offshore in Louisiana and spending half his time away from home....... There are some responsible people out here that don't need or want the blame for the I want, I gotta have, people out here. We have never been jealous of the Jone's and their greed. We live within our budget and will continue to do so.... even when times are hard.

    October 24, 2008 at 10:48 am |
  47. Lucid Lucy

    Huh? I'm a #1 culprit? How insulting to me and everyone else out here who bought a house they could afford, payoff their credit cards at the end of the month, left any equity they have created in the bank, saved some income for a rainy day, and most importantly–vote Republican.

    Unfortunately the "collective" mentality means that we get the sharp end of the stick. We'll still payoff our mortgage while others get a reduction in their interest rate, and god-help-us, maybe a reduction in principal. We saved only to see our 401K's value plument, and a 25% tax bill on interest earned on our savings account.

    And no Barney, Chris, Maxine, and yes even Barak, on the list? I've been around long enough to get that sinking feeling again–that only the responsible American taxpayer will be hunted down.

    October 24, 2008 at 10:46 am |
  48. Liza

    my guess is George Bush will be the magic #10

    October 24, 2008 at 10:42 am |
  49. Susan Tafoya

    How about adding George W. Bush to this list? Lets see if CNN has the guts to do that! Yes, the people - me, you and all of us-bear some responsibility, but 'ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP" or lack thereof. From an administration that fostered spending, spending, spending, home ownership, home ownership, home ownership.....the people followed the edicts of the leadership! Our debt is also associated with the enormous interest rates that the American people have been paying on credit cards. The financial institutions have flooded the market with credit and encouraged this indebtedness. Yes, we are all in it together and sure enough, this is the next bomb to hit.

    October 24, 2008 at 10:41 am |
  50. Kim B

    Thank you... People, the general public, always want to point a finger. But everybody out there that purchased ANYTHING they could not afford (Home, car, fancy shoes) for anybody that hired an illegal immigrant (not paying taxes) to mow their lawn or watch their children, to anybody who always bought their durable goods at a mega store, that does not pay health and welfare benefits to its employees, there is culpability. (I think Anderson can remove himself from the list – I believe he can afford to purchase anything he really wants. Ha ha.)

    October 24, 2008 at 10:37 am |
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