I've heard a lot of bullshitting about Wall St. v. Main St. out of these politicians mouths. They attempt to manufacture a dichotomy between those who have greed and wealth v. the good and upright people of the middle class. WTF? Ok, I guess they want you to think of CEOs with bogus (even from an economist's standpoint) compensation packages as being Wall St. and think of home made apple pie for Main St. The reality is that half of American households own stock. THERE IS NO SEPARATION BETWEEN WALL ST. & MAIN ST. I own stock. I've never been near Wall St. I bet that over half the people reading this blog own stock.
I'll be glad when this election's over and 3/4 of the highly visible political bullshit dies down.
While I'm at it, don't blame Wall St.'s greed for bringing down the financial markets. It was stupid people playing in a game with fucked up incentives that brought this mess about. First of all, anyone who decided it would be a good idea to pay someone to generate loans is a moron. Of course the commission-paid mortgage broker doesn't care if you can make the payments...you get one anyway. Secondly, I really don't know how the markets were duped for so long...does "O-ring" mean anything to you?
So, don't blame anonymous suits for bringing down the economy; blame your neighbors who bit off more than they could chew. Dumbasses who decided to live the lifestyle of the rich on the means of the middle class via credit. Blame yourself it you fall into this category. Go ahead and blame the government for lack of regulation, but realize that you would also blame them if they had imposed too many regulations ex-ante and you thought that those regulations stifled growth.
By the way, I figured out what people need to do to fix this...we need everybody's cooperation, kind of like that "don't buy gas on this one day" crap, only I think that my idea might actually work. Everybody needs to be more productive and less wasteful. Work more, spend more, save more... I think that this is the time to spend. Stocks are selling for a good discount (you might want to wait a week or so before buying), inflation is about to erode the value of your savings account, so buy consumer durables that you can use to generate a utility stream while your money is still worth something.