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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — whose relationship with the Occupy Wall Street movement has, to say the least, been frosty — decried protesters’ claim that bankers are at the heart of the financial crisis on Tuesday, pinning the housing and mortgage bust that started in 2006 squarely on the backs of poor borrowers and, of course, that perennial conservative villain: the Feds.

“It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis,” Bloomberg said at a business breakfast in Manhattan. “It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.”

He went on to revive the outrageous conservative claim that it was an overzealous federal government (via Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) that, by pushing loans on poor folks who couldn’t afford them, tanked the American economy.

“But they [the government] were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody. And now we want to go vilify the banks because it’s one target, it’s easy to blame them and Congress certainly isn’t going to blame themselves. At the same time, Congress is trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans. This is exactly the same speech they criticized them for.”

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A scene from "Squid Game" on Netflix

Reprinted with permission from Responsible Statecraft

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