As banks, money markets and stock exchanges convulse over a sinking American economy, we see the folks sprawled at the bottom of the smoking rubble — debt-crushed American consumers. It is they whose reckless or trusting natures enriched so many, at least for a while, and whose troubled loans have sent markets into panic.
But let us also note the real-estate operators creeping away from the disaster they helped create with their millions intact. None made a bigger pile off the pile than Angelo Mozilo, former head of Countrywide Financial.
All the planets lined up for Mozilo.
The government could have stopped the excesses of Mozilo and other pushers of ugly mortgages. But the Bush administration was never overly burdened by a conscience. If little people were being tricked into abusive loans — which were then unloaded on unsuspecting investors — well, that’s the “free market” for you. The mortgage mongers were important. They kept the housing bubble going.