I went on to investigate the pervasive criminal activities that led to the collapse for a new film and companion book.
Three years later, while this issue has been touched on, it is still largely ignored in most of our media with few bankers and financial manipulators being prosecuted for the shady deals that sank the economy.
The consensus among those involved is the collapse was the result of a series of "mistakes."
And yet, the Wall Street Journal just reported that "Gangsters, drug dealers and money launderers appear to be playing their part in helping shore up the financial stability of the euro zone."
How? By using high-denominated notes.
Admits the chief economist at Citigroup, these high-value bills are "making the euro the currency of choice for underground and black economies, and for all those who value anonymity in their financial transactions and investments."
How blatant is this? How pervasive?
Few today want to go back to that summer, just three years ago, when the financial spill began with a gusher of anxiety that led to the bailouts that so many hate now but supported then.
Fortune Magazine wrote at the time, "Wall Street loves to talk about letting financial markets weed out the weak. But when the Street itself gets in trouble, it sticks out its little tin cup, asking for help. And gets it."
At the time, a reader wrote prophetically to the Wall Street Journal, criticizing its tendency "to emphasize the positive," warning:
"Things will get worse before they get better." This is a house of cards that our leaders are trying to segment. It isn't a sub prime problem, it isn't a foreclosure problem, it isn't a mortgage problem, a bond-market problem, a hedge fund problem, or a bank problem. "This is a full systematic collapse of our economy"
"The problems are masked and hidden throughout every layer of our economy"being too slow to react will only compound this problem as it builds momentum "We have no idea how bad this is really going to get."
Three years later, we still don't.The recovery has not recovered. All is "stalled" to use the phrase du jour.
The growth curve is flat. Long-term joblessness stalks the land and rising as are bankruptcies while foreclosures multiply. College debt is off the charts. Consumer confidence is down while the trade deficit is up. (President Obama is desperately boosting sales of U.S. weapons overseas.)
The housing outlook is miserable. Fed-head Ben Bernanke is moving from rational explanations to talking about "economic mysteries." Sounds mystical. The Financial Times says "drivel" is spreading in the world of finance.
In some ways the financial crisis is like the BP oil spill. Suddenly all the oil has disappeared -- thanks to the abuse of dispersants.
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