And I love how the Center for Public Integrity packages the report, including a commentary by its executive director on what it all means, as well as interactive charts and data and a backgrounder on the overall financial crisis.
The commentary, by Bill Buzenberg, is superb. I’ll leave you with his first few paragraphs, which speak for themselves:
There is something of a myth surrounding the current economic crisis, how it unfolded, and the precise role of the world’s largest financial institutions in the global meltdown. That myth suggests these banks and investment houses were somehow surprised “victims” of unscrupulous subprime mortgage lenders, and that they could not have anticipated the damaging toxic assets that have so infected their balance sheets.
What’s missing from this story is the fact that this was a self-inflicted wound for which the rest of us are picking up a massive tab. The largest American and European banks and investment houses were not the unwitting “victims” of an unforeseen financial collapse, as they have so often been portrayed. The mega-banks not only invested in subprime lending institutions — they were the enablers, bankrollers, and instigators driving high-interest lending, and they did so because it was so lucrative and unregulated.
Worse, in many instances these are the same financial institutions the government is now bailing out with tax revenues.
Why hasn’t a newspaper or magazine done this?