New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that the Occupy Wall Street protesters are going after the wrong villains, writes Newser.
"I hear your complaints," Bloomberg said at a business breakfast held in midtown New York.
"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,” Capital New York reports Bloomberg saying.
“Now, I'm not saying I'm sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn't have gotten them without that,” he added.
Watch Bloomberg's remarks:
What was his reasoning for blaming congress?
". . .they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. 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,” Bloomberg reasoned.
“At the same time, Congress is trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans. This is exactly the same speech they criticized them for," he added.
Simply put, Bloomberg thinks the Occupy Wherever protesters are mainly engaging in "cathartic" and "entertaining" behavior to vent their frustration.
However, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch strongly disagreed with Bloomberg.
"I do believe in punishment," said Ed Koch, who, according to the New York Daily News, "blasted" the SEC for only fining Wall St. titans like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup for their financial misconduct.
"What the hell do they care? That's the cost of doing business," Koch said of the banks. "I want to see somebody - some CEO, some CFO - punished criminally."
That about sums up the attitude of the entire Occupy movement.
To gauge the general reaction to Bloomberg’s comments, John Johnson of Newser highlights two different articles, one from the left and one on the right, that weigh in of the issue.
"While the government-sponsored mortgage giants were certainly not blameless, Federal Reserve data shows conclusively that it was private mortgage brokers, not Fannie and Freddie, who drove the subprime housing bubble,” writes Pat Garofalo of Think Progress:
However, Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey believes that Bloomberg is correct on the issue.
"While Wall Street made the situation worse by developing risky derivatives on those securities and failed to recognize the risk inherent in the securities themselves, the collapse wouldn’t have occurred at all had the federal government not intervened to distort lending for their own social-engineering goals," Morrisey writes.