What Went Wrong?
February 2, 2009
Senator Bernie Sanders called for a special congressional investigation into the cause of the country's financial collapse. He said Americans want answers to how the crisis started and how to prevent it from happening again. Sanders suggested that the congressional oversight panel, which already is examining the $700-billion Wall Street bailout, should broaden the scope of its investigation and study the root causes of the economic collapse.
"People are furious. So what we need is an investigation to understand how this disaster occurred and who is responsible. Who are the people who developed these exotic financial instruments? Who are the people who pushed loans to people who couldn't pay for them? And then we have got to hold those people accountable,'' Sanders told Ross Sneyd of Vermont Public Radio.
In the Nation, John Nichols wrote about the Sanders proposal and compared the idea to what President Franklin Roosevelt and his congressional allies did in the 1930s in the wake of the depression. Then, Nichols noted, a congressional panel "unearthed and revealed what the New York Times referred to as ‘a secret financial history of the 1920s, demystifying the assorted frauds, scams and abuses that culminated in the 1929 crash.'"
Meanwhile, U.S. banks that are taking taxpayer bailouts requested visas for tens of thousands of foreign workers to fill high-paying jobs, an Associated Press review of visa applications revealed. According to the AP, "major banks which have received $150 billion in bailout funds requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721, nearly twice the median income for all American households."
To read or listen to the VPR report, click here.
To read The Nation article, click here.
To read more about the AP investigation of banks, click here.
To read Sanders letter calling for the probe, click here.