Reputable economists have agreed that our 2008 financial difficulties resulted from a broad combination of congressional pressure, overreaching Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac quasi-governmental lenders, a complacent executive branch, hungry banks, insatiable investment houses, and greedy private borrowers. It is sad to see misleading rants, such as that by Cindy Rodríguez in last Sunday’s Globe, placing exclusive blame on the banks and screeching for prison sentences (“Will the US ever prosecute criminal bankers?” Op-ed).
Half of our citizens would be incarcerated if all responsible parties were convicted. Surely criminal misconduct has been uncovered and punished worldwide, but to focus only on banks is not only unjust but blinds us to the need for each of us to act responsibly.
The bust in Ireland was predictable, as I observed during a few business trips there. Indeed, citizens protested that the Irish boom was confined to a few large cities, leaving most of the country at an economic disadvantage. Sadly, common knowledge was not heeded then, and will be ignored in the future so long as we seek scapegoats for events in which we all participate.