Så kom då äntligen Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) med sin slutgiltiga rapport. Och det är förödande läsning för de ideologiska skygglapparna. En del hävdar att finanskrisen var som en naturkatastrof, bortom mänsklig kontroll, en perfekt storm. Rapporten tillbakavisar grundligt alla sådana påståenden och visar övertygande hur den skapades och byggdes upp av mänskliga beslut. Grunden lades för trettio år sedan när doktrinen om hur marknadens självreglerande tendenser skulle skapa den bästa av världar gick från akademikernas skrivbord till politisk handling till religiöst axiom.
Nästa gång ni läser att finanskrisen berodde på olika omständigheter som konvergerade på ett olyckligt sätt, eller att det var Fannie Mae och Freddie Mac som på politiska mandat skulle ge lån till minoriteter och låginkomsttagare, tro dem inte. Ta bara ett djupt andetag och skaka på huvudet och läs sedan lugnt vidare. Det är bara tokhögerns hyrda pennor som inser vilket sprängstoff den här rapporten innebär. Och nu är det damage control som gäller.
För er som inte orkar klicka er fram till rapporten gör jag jobbet åt er och kopierar här slutsatserna. Hela rapporten är på 633 sidor inklusive en omfattande notförteckning.
• We conclude this financial crisis was avoidable. The crisis was the result of human
action and inaction, not of Mother Nature or computer models gone haywire. The
captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system ignored warnings
and failed to question, understand, and manage evolving risks within a system essential
to the well-being of the American public. Theirs was a big miss, not a stumble.
While the business cycle cannot be repealed, a crisis of this magnitude need not have
occurred. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault lies not in the stars, but in us.
• We conclude widespread failures in financial regulation and supervision
proved devastating to the stability of the nation’s financial markets. The sentries
were not at their posts, in no small part due to the widely accepted faith in the selfcorrecting
nature of the markets and the ability of financial institutions to effectively
police themselves. More than 30 years of deregulation and reliance on self-regulation
by financial institutions, championed by former Federal Reserve chairman Alan
Greenspan and others, supported by successive administrations and Congresses, and
actively pushed by the powerful financial industry at every turn, had stripped away
key safeguards, which could have helped avoid catastrophe. This approach had
opened up gaps in oversight of critical areas with trillions of dollars at risk, such as
the shadow banking system and over-the-counter derivatives markets. In addition,
the government permitted financial firms to pick their preferred regulators in what
became a race to the weakest supervisor.
• We conclude dramatic failures of corporate governance and risk management
at many systemically important financial institutions were a key cause of this crisis.
There was a view that instincts for self-preservation inside major financial firms
would shield them from fatal risk-taking without the need for a steady regulatory
hand, which, the firms argued, would stifle innovation. Too many of these institutions
acted recklessly, taking on too much risk, with too little capital, and with too
much dependence on short-term funding. In many respects, this reflected a funda-
mental change in these institutions, particularly the large investment banks and bank
holding companies, which focused their activities increasingly on risky trading activities
that produced hefty profits.
• We conclude a combination of excessive borrowing, risky investments, and lack
of transparency put the financial system on a collision course with crisis. Clearly,
this vulnerability was related to failures of corporate governance and regulation, but
it is significant enough by itself to warrant our attention here.
• We conclude the government was ill prepared for the crisis, and its inconsistent
response added to the uncertainty and panic in the financial markets. As part of
our charge, it was appropriate to review government actions taken in response to the
developing crisis, not just those policies or actions that preceded it, to determine if
any of those responses contributed to or exacerbated the crisis.
• We conclude there was a systemic breakdown in accountability and ethics. The
integrity of our financial markets and the public’s trust in those markets are essential
to the economic well-being of our nation. The soundness and the sustained prosperity
of the financial system and our economy rely on the notions of fair dealing, responsibility,
and transparency. In our economy, we expect businesses and individuals
to pursue profits, at the same time that they produce products and services of quality
and conduct themselves well.
Unfortunately—as has been the case in past speculative booms and busts—we
witnessed an erosion of standards of responsibility and ethics that exacerbated the financial
crisis. This was not universal, but these breaches stretched from the ground
level to the corporate suites. They resulted not only in significant financial consequences
but also in damage to the trust of investors, businesses, and the public in the
• We conclude collapsing mortgage-lending standards and the mortgage securitization
pipeline lit and spread the flame of contagion and crisis. When housing
prices fell and mortgage borrowers defaulted, the lights began to dim on Wall Street.
This report catalogues the corrosion of mortgage-lending standards and the securitization
pipeline that transported toxic mortgages from neighborhoods across America
to investors around the globe.
• We conclude over-the-counter derivatives contributed significantly to this
crisis. The enactment of legislation in 2000 to ban the regulation by both the federal
and state governments of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives was a key turning
point in the march toward the financial crisis.
• We conclude the failures of credit rating agencies were essential cogs in the
wheel of financial destruction. The three credit rating agencies were key enablers of
the financial meltdown. The mortgage-related securities at the heart of the crisis
could not have been marketed and sold without their seal of approval. Investors relied
on them, often blindly. In some cases, they were obligated to use them, or regulatory
capital standards were hinged on them. This crisis could not have happened
without the rating agencies. Their ratings helped the market soar and their downgrades
through 2007 and 2008 wreaked havoc across markets and firms.