25 Financial Crisis Culprits

(CBS/AP)
The economy is in shambles and unemployment is skyrocketing. Who's to blame?

Time.com has come up with a list of potential culprits, and they are inviting readers to weigh in on who is innocent and who is guilty.

Among the magazine's targets are former presidents, bank CEOs, and an alleged Ponzi schemer. The most upsetting inclusion, perhaps, is us – or, as Time puts it, The American Consumer, who spent money he didn't have.

Here's the list:

1.) Christopher Cox: Former SEC head, criticized for regulation failures.

2.) Angelo Mozilo: Co-founder of Countrywide, a lender known for dodgy mortgages.

3.) Joe Cassano: Pushed credit-default swaps at AIG.

4.) Franklin Raines: CEO of Fannie Mae when things started to go sour.

5.) Phil Gramm: Former senator and deregulation cheerleader.

6.) Kathleen Corbet: At Standard and Poor's, doled out high ratings to dicey securities.

7.) Dick Fuld: Encouraged subprime lending as CEO of Lehman Brothers.

8.) Ian McCarthy: Head of Beazer Homes and poster child for homebuilder excesses.

9.) Bernard Madoff: Allegedly masterminded the biggest financial fraud ever.

10.) Herb and Marion Sandler: Sold risky and elaborate home loans through their World Savings Bank.

11.) Stan O'Neal: In charge of Merrill Lynch when company pivoted from asset management to taking on subprime mortgage bonds.

12.) John Devany: Hedge fund manager that bought up mortgage bonds by the shovelful, making it wildly profitable to for lenders to push questionable loans.

13.) Sandy Weill: Transformed Citigroup into financial services titan, setting the model for "too big to fail."

14.) Jimmy Cayne: Hands off approach to leading Bear Strearns didn't work so well given the company's spectacular implosion last spring.

15.) David Oddsson: Former president of Iceland and governor of its central bank, oversaw reckless leveraging at its three main banks.

16.) George W. Bush: As president, emphasized deregulation.

17.) The American Consumer: Racked up debt, spent cash like it was paper, and failed to build up a nest egg.

18.) Alan Greenspan: Former Federal Reserve chairman who now admits that the markets don't regulate themselves.

19.) Hank Paulson: Secretary of the Treasury when the first half of the $700 billion bank bailout was dispensed. Critics say the initial $350 billion was spent wastefully.

20.) David Lereah: Chief economist at National Association of Realtors who kept pushing real estate boom even after things began to go bust.

21.) Lew Ranieri: Salomon trader who helped create mortgage-backed bonds.

22.) Fred Goodwin: As head of Royal Bank of Scotland, took the takeover craze so far that he overstretched the bank's capital reserves.

23.) Bill Clinton: As president, loosened financial regulations, setting the stage for a permissive lending environment and our current crisis.

24.) Wen Jiabao: Partly responsible for having Chinese government extend cheap credit to the United States, ensuring that the American consumer wasn't alone in living beyond its means.

25.) Burton Jablin: Ran programming at Scripps Networks, owner of HGTV (House & Garden Television), which encouraged viewers to play the housing game.

Go here to check out detailed biographies of the alleged offenders.
  • Brent Lang

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