The banking crisis that began in August 2007 shocked markets and precipitated the Great Recession. To fully explain the banking crisis, one must account for its timing, severity, and global impact. For example, why didn’t a banking crisis erupt sooner—say, in the recession years of 1990-1991 or 2001-2002? What changed in recent years that led to business risk-taking capable of wrecking the U.S. housing market and the U.S. banking system and other banking systems throughout the world? Further, why were prudent credit practices reasonably maintained in credit card and commercial mortgage securitization in recent years, but wholly abandoned in residential mortgage securitization?
In answer to the questions about what specific factors explain the: causes and timing of the banking crisis and the extraordinary departure from historically sound underwriting and securitization standards for residential mortgages, we identify a potent mix of six major government policies that together rewarded short-sighted collective risk-taking and penalized long-term business leadership.
From my article "How Government Failure Caused the Great Recession," (with Robert Dell) now available at The American.