Thursday Links: Sorkin, Rosie, Ginnie Mae

Andrew Ross Sorkin sounds better notes on The Daily Show than he does in most of his own columns.

“The hardest part is that we haven’t had accountability, and the ethos, “the greed is still good”—that is still there, that has not changed… The culture of Wall Street’s not going to change from the corner office, it’s probably going to have to change from Washington.”“

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— Former Merrill Lynch bear David Rosenberg, now a Gluskin Sheff bear, writes that “the recession is really a depression.”.

The defining characteristic of this asset deflation and credit contraction has been the implosion of the largest balance sheet in the world — the U.S. household sector. Even with the bear market rally in equities and the tenuous recovery in housing in 2009, the reality is that household net worth has contracted nearly 20% over the past year-and-a-half, or an epic $12 trillion of lost net worth, a degree of trauma we have never seen before.

As households begin to assess the shock and what it means for their retirement needs, the impact of this shocking loss of wealth on consumer spending patterns in the future is likely going to be very significant.

— The Center for Public Integrity and the Washington Post team up for a good look at the doings of the federal mortgage-backing agency Ginnie Mae, specifically how it allowed shady lenders to use its guarantees to issue mortgage-backed securities.

More than a dozen lenders with Ginnie’s endorsement have made loans that are now delinquent at rates far in excess of what regulators consider acceptable. And some of these lenders have been accused of misleading both borrowers and the government about these loans.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.