The same week that
Johnson is the former president of
In other words, Johnson claims his firm was alerting
Johnson also testified that he brought this information to executives at the major bond-rating agencies,
If you're the type of person given to grumbling about
The question of utmost importance here, as in any flimflam, is, "What did you know and when did you know it?"
Just whom to blame for the financial crisis has turned into predictable partisan theater, with Republicans blaming the Community Reinvestment Act, liberal do-gooders like Rep.
If done well -- that is, if partisan blinders can be dropped -- the commission's concluding report might illuminate the American public the same way the 9/11 commission's report did. The 9/11 report became a best-seller, an expression of national grief no doubt but also a result of the public's desire to separate the truth from conspiracy theories.
In legal terms, it's unclear what effect the Johnson testimony will have on ongoing and future lawsuits by investors who claim they were duped. But for average Americans, this and other testimony before the commission might prove useful indeed. It might help us rethink what the relationship should be between our government and our powerful financial institutions.
The recent near-calamitous financial crisis and subsequent recession are bound to leave a lasting imprint on the American mindset, but what that will be is yet to be determined. The Great Depression certainly left its legacy, in the savings and investment habits of the public, in the latitude voters gave politicians to intervene in and regulate the economy and high finance. In how much people expect of government and whom they put their faith in to do the job fairly.
With mid-term elections nearing, voters hear the financial crisis and the recession consistently referenced, with political ads bent on punishing an appropriate culprit.
One party blames the financial crisis on poor and shiftless subprime borrowers, along with the liberal politicians who pandered to them. The other party blames the greedy titans of finance and the conservative politicians they bought and paid for. Each makes a stirring case, but they both can't be right.
There are villains and rogues in this story, and perhaps no small number of criminals deserving prosecution. But to turn the financial crisis into a partisan blame game is not in the best interest of the country. With luck, the
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Wall Street Had a Meltdown, and All We Got (Besides the Bill) Was an Interminable Argument
(c) 2010 Mary Sanchez