The best way to rob a bank is to own one (Bill Moyers and William K. Black)
Bill Moyers interviews William K. Black, a former bank regulator who helped save our asses during the savings and loan mess. Black argues that the financial collapse should be regarded as the result of systematic fraud, i.e., that the results of the profligate lending practices of the housing bubble were so profitable at the outset and so unsustainable as to constitute fraud, criminal betrayal of trust for financial gain.
It's a great piece of TV journalism. Watch it.
Here's a particularly topical snippet, not directly related to the fraud allegations, but worth highlighting all the same:
BILL MOYERS: But I can point you to statements by Larry Summers, who was then Bill Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury, or the other Clinton Secretary of the Treasury, Rubin. I can point you to suspects in both parties, right?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: There were two really big things, under the Clinton administration. One, they got rid of the law that came out of the real-world disasters of the Great Depression. We learned a lot of things in the Great Depression. And one is we had to separate what's called commercial banking from investment banking. That's the Glass-Steagall law. But we thought we were much smarter, supposedly. So we got rid of that law, and that was bipartisan. And the other thing is we passed a law, because there was a very good regulator, Brooksley Born, that everybody should know about and probably doesn't. She tried to do the right thing to regulate one of these exotic derivatives that you're talking about. We call them C.D.F.S. And Summers, Rubin, and Phil Gramm came together to say not only will we block this particular regulation. We will pass a law that says you can't regulate. And it's this type of derivative that is most involved in the AIG scandal. AIG all by itself, cost the same as the entire Savings and Loan debacle.
Watch the clip.