In this 2009 interview with Bill Moyers, William Black, a former bank examiner and now a professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, discusses the cause of economic collapse. Some have suggested that the banks were merely incompetent. Black argues that many players in the financial industry purposely engaged in a Ponzi scheme that was so big as to make Bernie Madoff look like a “piker.” He argues that the banks and the loan raters purposely refused to engage in responsible lending practices. Government officials (under the Clinton administration) destroyed Glass-Steagall. Congress intentionally circumvented the warnings of regulator Brooksely Born in deciding the make CDS derivatives legal.
Congress refused to fund adequate staff staffing of law enforcement so as to prosecute ongoing bank fraud beginning in 2001. Under this set of doomed-to-fail policies, a single financial enterprise, IndyMac made more bad loans than were made during the entire Savings and Loan Crisis. The game now is to maintain a coverup–Black points fingers at Timothy Geithner and others.
Bill Moyers conducted this interview on his PBS show. He is now active as a journalist at his own website.