People say that this financial crisis was everybody's fault. They say that Wall Street played a role, but that Main Street shares some of the blame too. But let's be honest with ourselves, and each other. We know that this is almost entirely Wall Street's fault.
Why were banks throwing money at the most high risk people? They did that so that their mortgages could be bundled into securities that were overvalued and would ultimately fail so that certain people on Wall Street could bet against them. It's all laid out in the SEC's lawsuit again Goldman Sachs ( GS) (and I know you have your own ideas about Goldman). Now, President Obama has outlined a number of reforms, and I'm sure you're worried that this is all turning into a big media showdown between Wall Street and Main Street (and I know you have your own ideas about what Obama should be saying to the American people). But let me assure you, Main Street isn't looking to take you down. I mean, Main Street doesn't even exist in the same way that Wall Street does. You're one entity that has relatively uniform and clear ideals: the preservation of the free market system with as few encumbrances as possible. On the other hand, there are thousands of Main Streets filled with millions of people and many different points of view. We reached out to our residents and found a couple of thoughts that that we'd like to share with you. David Backlin from Fort Smith, Ark., asks, "Why should the general public have to pay for THEIR mistakes?" A lot of people on Main Street feel this way, and I'm sure you can understand why. With regard to the bailout, the answer, as painful as it is to admit, is that it may have been cheaper for us to pay for your mistakes in the short run than do nothing and watch us both fail. Or maybe you just bought off a bunch of Senators and Congressman. As far as all of the other forms of payment - primarily the lost equity and income - well, we shouldn't have had to pay that. But that's all water under the bridge, and we're trying to look forward now. Which brings me to another voice from Main Street that I'd also like you to hear, Wall Street. This note comes from David Riley, of Shelby Township, Mich.