President Obama on his first inaugural address on January 20, 2009 He blamed a culture of greed and irresponsibility for helping to bring on the economic crisis. Do you agreee or disagree with this statement? Why or Why not?
I would agree with President Obama that a culture of greed and irresponsibility was part of the problem that caused the economic crisis. However, I would emphasize one major caveat to this statement. I would emphasize that the crisis was not just caused by greed on the part of bankers and other Wall Street types, but rather by greed and irresponsibility on the part of a huge number of people in our society.
I believe that the President was referring to Wall Street when he talked about greed and irresponsibility. The financial sector certainly showed that they were greedy and irresponsible. They eagerly sold very iffy mortgages to many people. They traded the mortgage-backed securities and derivatives without really understanding what they were doing. All of this lack of corporate social responsibility happened because they wanted money.
But they were not the only greedy and irresponsible ones. Our whole society has been greedy and irresponsible. One of the reasons people had so much debt is that they wanted more things than they could really afford. They wanted nicer cell phones and cars. They wanted boats and jet skis. They wanted bigger houses. They also wanted all sorts of government programs. The problem was that they didn’t want to sacrifice for these things. People bought more than they could afford and demanded more government service than they were willing to pay for in taxes. This form of greed and irresponsibility caused the crash just as much as the greed and irresponsibility of the people on Wall Street.