New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg repeated a common Republican talking point on Tuesday, claiming the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters should be upset with the government rather than with Wall Street.
“I hear your complaints,” he said at an Association for a Better New York breakfast meeting. “Some of them are totally unfounded. It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress, who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. Now, I’m not so sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn’t have had them without that.”
“But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will,” Bloomberg, the founder of a financial media company, continued. “They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody. And now we want to go vilify the banks because it’s one target, it’s easy to blame them and Congress certainly isn’t going to blame themselves.”
“At the same time, Congress is now trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans. This is exactly the same speech they criticized them for.”
The liberal blog ThinkProgress noted that more than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.
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Photo credit: David Shankbone