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HBO's Bill Maher and Nobel Prize-winning liberal economist Joseph Stiglitz on Friday actually couldn't calculate between the two of them how much 87 times 5 is (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Was the current economic situation caused by too little government intervention in the financial markets—or too much? I'd say the latter. Washington used Fannie/Freddie as a political piggy bank, causing it dole out loans to people who had no business receiving them. And because Freddie and Fannie's obligations enjoyed the implicit guarantee of the federal government, they were able to obtain funds at lower rates and become by far the biggest dog on Mortgage Street. That in turn caused private-sector banks to lower their lending standards in order to be able to compete. Throw in the Community Reinvestment Act—another major bit of government meddling that forced lenders to compromise underwriting standards—and you had a recipe for the current unpleasantness.
But the Washington Post, in the person of Anthony Faiola, sees too much capitalism, not too little, as the problem. According to his official WaPo bio, he "writes about the forces of globalization" for the paper. Faiola's article in today's WaPo is entitled The End Of American Capitalism?—and it seems clear he'd love someday soon to be able to remove the question mark.