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Who Is To Blame for the Financial Crisis?

Who is to blame for the world financial crisis — Jews, WASPs, others? Brazilian President Lula said that it was caused by white people with blue eyes.

Jews have come in for a pretty good drubbing because of their traditional involvement in the financial markets and the major role they play on Wall Street. But there also seem to be a lot of WASPs, or at least people of Anglo ancestry; I’m not so sure about the Protestant part. You don’t hear much about WASPs anymore, perhaps in part because of the decline of the old line Protestant churches — Episcopalians, Methodists, etc. In the old days you could count on the Rockefellers, Fords, Morgans, Vanderbilts, etc., to be WASPs.

I would guess that in general the WASPs on Wall Street are more politically conservative than the Jews, e.g., George Soros. But it’s not so clear. I don’t know who has been more reckless in taking on too much financial risk.

Jewish Goldman Sachs alumnus Robert Rubin was Treasury Secretary in the Democratic Clinton administration, but he and his Jewish colleague Larry Summers oversaw the elimination of banking regulations that eventually led to the financial meltdown, a move favored by the political right wing.

Later, WASP Goldman Sachs alumnus Hank Paulson was Treasury Secretary in the Republican Bush administration, but he oversaw the massive government intrusion into the financial industry to rescue it from the results of the liberalization initiated by Rubin, a move that horrified the political right wing.

But in most cases the characters are white, and maybe blue-eyed. Former Citigroup CEO Richard Parsons, who is black, is an exception, and I’m sure there are many others.

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