Who's to blame for the economy?


readers have spoken: It's


, in a landslide.

Each day last week, a different writer from


made the case for why one of five prime culprits -- Congress, the



irresponsible home buyers

, the

Federal Reserve

or the

rating agencies

-- is most to blame for the credit crisis and ensuing economic meltdown.

We ran a poll alongside the stories last week, allowing readers to have their say. More than 10,000 weighed in between Monday and Sunday. Congress, with 49% of the vote, easily outpaced the banks, with 22%.

Readers bought reporter

Lauren Tara LaCapra's

argument that lawmakers and their regulatory agencies backed policies they now bash as economically flawed, contributing to the downfall of government-sponsored mortgage giants

Fannie Mae

( FNM) and

Freddie Mac

( FRE).

Politicians also reaped donations from the financial firms who profited mightily from those policies, the same firms that are now receiving hundreds of billions in taxpayer-supported aid.

Big national and Wall Street banks like


(C) - Get Report


Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report


JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report


Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report


Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

did not completely escape blame. Its closest competitor was irresponsible home buyers, with 13% of the vote.

Click below to see the complete results:

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.