Each day this week, a different writer from TheStreet.com made the case for why one of five prime culprits is most to blame for the credit crisis and ensuing economic meltdown. Was it the banks like Citigroup ( C) and Merrill Lynch (since acquired by Bank of America ( BAC)), which failed in their responsibility to properly price risk in a deregulated marketplace? Or Congress, which kept adding fuel to the economic meltdown by championing policies they now bash as economically flawed and which led to the downfall of Fannie Mae ( FNM) and Freddie Mac ( FRE)?
Some irresponsible home buyers got in over their heads, taking out loans they should have known they couldn't afford. The Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan made cheap credit available for too long and championed a deregulatory landscape that allowed the banks to run amok. And the rating agencies like Moody's Investors Service ( MCO), McGraw Hill Cos.' ( MHP) Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings certainly made a killing off the explosion of securitized debt. You decide. Vote in our poll: