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Scapegoating Goldman Sachs

A dismal spectacle.

9:44 AM, Apr 27, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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However, rather than accept that the crisis had many causes and many agents, Congress seems determined to pin the blame on a single investment bank. This is called scape-goating, and it's as American as apple pie. Shifting blame happens whenever Americans make a collective decision that they regret. In 2003, a bipartisan consensus about the dangers of Saddam Hussein, terrorists, and weapons of mass destruction drove the United States to invade Iraq and depose Saddam. But by 2007, when the Iraq war was at its bloodiest, you would've been forgiven for thinking that the only individuals who had supported military action were those dreaded neocons.

For decades, the United States subsidized homeownership, encouraged lax consumer lending practices, and allowed the financial sector to grow ever larger. The result was the Great Recession. Read the headlines today, though, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that the only problem was that Goldman Sachs was trying to make money off the rest of us. Nothing else to worry about. Back to business as usual. We're absolved.

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