For Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a pragmatic alumnus of Wall Street, arguing over who is to blame for the nation’s financial crisis is a waste of time.
But for his predecessor, former MayorEdward I. Koch, looking toward the future is not enough — someone should pay.
“It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis,” the mayor said. “It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and to give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.” It was Congress, he continued, that “pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent; they were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody.”
“What do you think they got fined for — schmutz on the sidewalk?” Mr. Koch said. “They got fined because they abused their relationship with their clientele. And I want to see somebody — I want to see one of them, of a major corporation, punished criminally.”
Over scattered applause, he added: “They beggared the people in this country. More than $2 trillion was lost in the great recession.”
Mr. Dinkins, a Democrat, declined to engage in the debate. “I have to tell you that constantly I read diverse opinions about fiscal matters, and I say to myself: ‘Now, they all went to Harvard or Wharton or wherever — the same schools, read the same books, listened to the same lecturers, and their opinions diverge. So what the hell do I know?’ ”
So what the hell do you believe? Did Wall Street banks beggar our nation or is Congress to blame? Leave your comment below.