Galbraith to Senate: There Must be a Radical Cleaning

James Galbraith gave written testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Crime, Senate Judiciary Committee, on May 4, 2010. His testimony was blunt and worth reading in whole. Here are a couple of short bites:

Ask yourselves: is it possible for mortgage originators, ratings agencies, underwriters, insurers and supervising agencies NOT to have known that the system of housing finance had become infested with fraud?    Every statistical indicator of fraudulent practice – growth and profitability – suggests otherwise. Every examination of the record so far suggests otherwise. The very language in use: “liars’ loans,” “ninja loans,” “neutron loans,” and “toxic waste,” tells you that people knew. I have also heard the expression, “IBG,YBG;” the meaning of that bit of code was: “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.”  …

Either the legal system must do its work. Or the market system cannot be restored. There must be a thorough, transparent, effective, radical cleaning of the financial sector and also of those public officials who failed the public trust. The financiers must be made to feel, in their bones, the power of the law. And the public, which lives by the law, must see very clearly and unambiguously that this is the case.

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