by Sally Kohn.
Here's how it gets started:
Why is it so anathema to Republicans to help people in a sensible, honest way?
Sure, the CEOs and hedge fund managers were greedy. There's no question that wealth and the pursuit thereof led to the sub-prime fiasco and the decline of Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch and more. But what's really at play here is persistent poverty and Wall Street seeking to make a dime off the poor, consequences be damned, while Washington looks the other way.
The sub-prime crisis is the result of good people getting bad loans. Loans that triple or quadruple in interest rates, riddled with small print, are unbearable by most homeowners. But they are particularly unsustainable for low-income families working two or three jobs to make ends meet. Still, lenders scammed hardworking families with the promise of owning homes they really couldn't afford. And then greedy Wall Street managers, looking for a new way to squeeze a buck from an already bursting-at-the-seams economy, bundled up these bad loans into worse securities, sold them off, and tried to gain a profit as our national economy lost its shirt.
We could have averted the current financial crisis by creating affordable housing and good jobs, strengthening public education and providing health care and child care for all families, to help hardworking Americans thrive in the middle class instead of being pushed into poverty. We could have averted this crisis if we really cared about all families owning their own homes and created nationwide programs including affordable loans. (Even subsidized loans in the first place would have cost taxpayers less than what we're now spending bailing out Wall Street.) We could have averted this crisis if we put the needs of the majority of American families ahead of the needs of a small minority of greedy investors.