NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A line-up of the usual suspects for the crime of inciting a double-dip in the global recession would include China's property bubble, the U.S. employment quagmire, and the still-unfolding European Union economic woes led by Greece's Mount Olympus-sized budget fiasco. One could also argue that Goldman Sachs ( GS) and the rest of the banks that have helped usher Greece onto the stage of its own economic tragedy deserve a starring role, too. In the least, the banks are hardly noble warriors, in the mold of Troy's Hector -- though the usual banking-sector hubris does befit a self-important classical hero. Indeed, the Federal Reserve announced on Thursday that it was investigating Goldman Sachs, and the banking industry, for its role in helping Greece hide the true nature of its debts. At issue is a new twist on the usually suspect derivative instruments that have become the financial industry equivalent of the Trojan Horse hiding weapons of economic mass destruction. To think, bankers playing with the lives of entire nations as if they were pawns for fickle gods to move around a chessboard with the flick of an obtuse financial algorithm. And the nations being dumb enough to fall for it! Why that could never happen here? Indeed, the derivatives instruments at issue aren't even really new. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) developed the same smoke-and-mirror debt solutions for Italy in 2007. The point is that, as usual, there are plenty of reasons for investors to remain skittish about the markets -- and just when investors thought 2010 would be the year that an economic recovery took root and the last economic clouds finally cleared. By Friday, it still wasn't clear if the last act of the Greek Tragedy would be one of resilience or obsolescence. Workers in Greece were out in the streets protesting, and the big rating agencies, Standard & Poor's and Moody's, had both by the end of the week indicated that a downgrade of Greek government bonds might be coming. The European Union has said it won't step in to help Greece until it sees a legitimate plan from Greece to solve its deficit riddle, with a deadline of March 16. Therefore, one can assume that Goldman Sachs is furiously working with the Greek government to solve the riddle. On late Friday afternoon, there were reports that a bailout package for Greece led by European banks was being cobbled together.
Greece has 20 billion euros of debt coming due in April and May, and 53 billion euros for all of the year, and The New York Times reported on Friday that Greece was scurrying around London in an attempt to raise funds from institutional investors. On the home front, two reports on home sales in the U.S. were bleak this week, with both the Commerce Department and National Association of Realtors showing big drops in data tracking new home and existing home sales. Economists had predicted that both housing market data points would improve in January. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, said, "The latest monthly sales decline is not encouraging, and raises concern about the strength of a recovery." The strength of the recovery is the question, and it's not just the lingering uncertainty about the U.S. housing market, or several weeks of watching the European Union struggle to deal with Greece -- not even to mention the fact that Portugal is being teed up behind Greece as the next unstable European economy. China, for its part in the markets hysteria, has made successive moves to tighten its banks' lending requirements -- the most recent of which was unexpected -- fearing a huge bubble in its property markets. Given all of this negative noise in the markets, we felt compelled to ask TheStreet readers: Who would be responsible for the global economic recessionary double dip if it were to happen? The results were somewhat surprising. But the good news first: Leading the survey were respondents who believe that there will not be a double dip in the global recession in 2010. Approximately 30% of survey takers think that none of the suspects -- not China, not Greece, nor U.S. unemployment, or even home foreclosures that the unemployed can't stop from occurring, or even Goldman Sachs -- none of 'em can slow the global recovery. Looking at it the other way, though, apparently only 30% of survey respondents remain bullish on the markets in 2010.
When it came to the potential culprits of another economic crash, survey takers were pretty evenly throwing around the blame. What's more, even though the Greek economic trouble has attracted the most consistent headlines, it is actually seen as the least-likely cause of a double-dip in the global recession. Only 19% of survey respondents singled out Greece and its personal banker, Goldman Sachs, as the most likely crash culprit. The race between China's property bubble and the ongoing -- and linked -- issues of U.S. unemployment and U.S. foreclosures were in a virtual dead heat as potential killers of the global economy. Approximately 26% of survey takers think China's property bubble will reign supreme in raining on any sustained global recovery. Approximately 25% of survey respondents think that U.S. unemployment and the foreclosure pipeline continue to be the biggest impediments to economic recovery. Given that the European Union budget crisis and Chinese property market bubble stories have been evolving, whereas the saga of the U.S. employment and housing woes seem downright ancient by comparison, it might seem surprising that the U.S. ranks so high as a recessionary relapse culprit. In the larger scheme of things, again, what's noteworthy here is that more than two-thirds of survey respondents appear bearish on the notion of a lasting recovery taking hold in 2010 -- and the fact that the blame for this is almost evenly spread around should harldy be surprising, either. After all, if fear was all focused on one place, we would probably be able to predict crashes with a much higher success rate than we've exhibited previously. Now, if only Goldman Sachs could develop a hedging instrument to hedge the risk revealed by this poll's survey respondents -- and least then Goldman would be safe from the recessionary double dip. -- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.