“Everybody does it,” is what high school students say when caught committing an offense. And now that the economy has plummeted, it’s the defense offered by lenders, borrowers, brokers, investors, credit agencies, government regulators and elected officials alike. Everybody was doing it, and nobody wanted to stop it. As Michael Francis, a former Wall Street investment banker puts it in “House of Cards,” a documentary on CNBC on Monday, “No, there was never a time where somebody said: ‘Hey, hold on. Let’s not do this.’ ”It seems New Yorkers, some of whose "only experience with an economic downturn was when share prices for Google began to slip" also feel the heat. Read, perhaps with a little bit of schadenfreude:
Economists’ Forecast for New York - Chance of Change 100%
An unemployment rate of 7.4 percent in December, compared with 5.1 percent two years ago. A projected hemorrhaging of 294,000 jobs — 46,000 from Wall Street alone — by the summer of 2010. A 41 percent drop in condominium sales from 2006 to 2008, and a 58 percent plunge for multifamily homes. A city budget deficit of $4 billion this year, and as much as $7 billion the next. And a mayor who is demanding that city employees pay 10 percent of their health care costs — or else risk losing their jobs.And so it goes....endlessly spinning out of control.
With each passing hour, it seems, the avalanche of bad economic news, forecasts and anecdotes continues.