Who Will Pay for the Great Recession?

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary We live in its shadow. Tens of millions of Americans are still very much affected by it. The politicians in Washington, D.C. still do not want to admit that we are in this period. The period I speak of is the Great Recession. Even as millions of American shoppers go to the stores for whatever gifts they want to buy for the holidays, they know they will have less money in their wallets compared to four years ago. This is the reality of the Great Recession, and it is still very much with us. It is with the tens of millions who have lost their homes through bad mortgages, and the millions who may lose their homes. It is still with all those who have lost their jobs, and those who may lose their jobs. It is with the several millions who have not only fallen through the cracks of our society but who are now homeless and utterly destitute. And finally, it with all those families who are not sure what their future will be for them and their children. With so many families in debt, they cannot afford to send their children to school, cannot afford vacations, and are barely holding on to their jobs. This is all the reality of the Great Recession.

According to Michael Greenberger, professor at the University of Maryland School of Law, lack of oversight, poor enforcement, lax federal government enforcement of bank and corporate regulations, and just plain greed brought on the partial financial collapse in 2008 that started the Great Recession. O.K., we understand basically why the Great Recession started. We understand today why all of these things created the perfect financial storm that nearly brought this country down. We know a whole list of characters were involved in the disaster. And we know how this whole thing has affected ordinary peoples’ lives. What so many of us are wondering about is why no government official has ever been tried or punished for this catastrophe? Should we punish former U.S. President George W. Bush for the financial crisis? Should we punish former vice-president Dick Cheney? What about U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Paul O,Neill or his successor or John W. Snow? What about Bush’s presidential cabinet? Are any of them guilty for not informing then President Bush of the situation?

I seriously doubt anyone in the former Bush administration will ever be tried, or even inquired about what happened in 2008 that triggered the near financial meltdown. The current administration of U.S. President Barack Obama knows that if he goes after a former president then his own position could become vulnerable. Although Obama won the recent 2012 presidential election, he must still face a fairly hostile Republican House of Representatives and a lot of Republican opposition in the Senate. Trying to go after those who were at best negligent about the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression (1929-1940) would only increase the hostility Obama is dealing with now. As Greenberger and other historians debate the full reasons and impact of the Great Recession, it will probably be future historians who will decided who was responsible for the Great Recession in the first place. It seems in too many ways no one will be called to account for this financial disaster. Punishing those responsible now might help to avert something similar like it in the future.

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