Allen Greenspan was one of the weasels that played 'God" with people's lives and savings. Only because he and his banker rats wanted to make more money using voodoo economics so called "science'. Ideology that help the bankers transfer Americas wealth and into the pockets of few bankers and oligarchs. Many of these rats will write books and presidents will build libraries and make up their own truth, and historians will simply distort the truth because of their political ideology!
Before the Beginning
To keep recession away, the Federal Reserve lowered the Federal funds rate 11 times - from 6.5% in May 2000 to 1.75% in December 2001 - creating a flood of liquidity in the economy. Cheap money, once out of the bottle, always looks to be taken for a ride. It found easy prey in restless bankers - and even more restless borrowers who had no income, no job and no assets. These subprime borrowers wanted to realize their life's dream of acquiring a home. For them, holding the hands of a willing banker was a new ray of hope. More home loans, more home buyers, more appreciation in home prices. It wasn't long before things started to move just as the cheap money wanted them to.
This environment of easy credit and the upward spiral of home prices made investments in higher yielding subprime mortgages look like a new rush for gold. The Fed continued slashing interest rates, emboldened, perhaps, by continued low inflation despite lower interest rates. In June 2003, the Fed lowered interest rates to 1%, the lowest rate in 45 years. The whole financial market started resembling a candy shop where everything was selling at a huge discount and without any down payment. "Lick your candy now and pay for it later" - the entire subprime mortgage market seemed to encourage those with a sweet tooth for have-it-now investments. Unfortunately, no one was there to warn about the tummy aches that would follow.
But the bankers thought that it just wasn't enough to lend the candies lying on their shelves. They decided to repackage candy loans into collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and pass on the debt to another candy shop. Hurrah! Soon a big secondary market for originating and distributing subprime loans developed. To make things merrier, in October 2004, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) relaxed the net capital requirement for five investment banks - Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER), Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) - which freed them to leverage up to 30-times or even 40-times their initial investment. Everybody was on a sugar high, feeling as if the cavities were never going to come.
-Investments and the Public
Problems in the subprime market began hitting the news, raising more people's curiosity. Horror stories started to leak out.
- August 2007: The Landslide Begins
It became apparent in August 2007 that the financial market could not solve the subprime crisis on its own and the problems spread beyond the UnitedState's borders. The interbank market froze completely, largely due to prevailing fear of the unknown amidst banks. Northern Rock, a British bank, had to approach the Bank of England for emergency funding due to a liquidity problem. By that time, central banks and governments around the world had started coming together to prevent further financial catastrophe.
The subprime crisis's unique issues called for both conventional and unconventional methods, which were employed by governments worldwide. In a unanimous move, central banks of several countries resorted to coordinated action to provide liquidity support to financial institutions. The idea was to put the interbank market back on its feet.
The Fed started slashing the discount rate as well as the funds rate, but bad news continued to pour in from all sides. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, Indymac bank collapsed, Bear Stearns was acquired by JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were put under the control of the U.S. federal government.
By October 2008, the Federal funds rate and the discount rate were reduced to 1% and 1.75%, respectively. Central banks in England, China, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and the European Central Bank (ECB) also resorted to rate cuts to aid the world economy. But rate cuts and liquidity support in itself were not enough to stop such a widespread financial meltdown.
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