Who's to blame for the economy? TheStreet.com readers have spoken: It's Congress, in a landslide. Each day last week, a different writer from TheStreet.com made the case for why one of five prime culprits -- Congress, the banks, 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 Citigroup ( C), Bank of America ( BAC), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Goldman Sachs ( GS) and Morgan Stanley ( MS) did not completely escape blame. Its closest competitor was irresponsible home buyers, with 13% of the vote. Click below to see the complete results: