NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Five years after Lehman Brothers ( LEHMQ) declared bankruptcy and gave us a new term called "breaking the buck," we are no safer from a banking crisis than we were before the whole mess started. In fact, we are worse off; at least most of us are with notable exceptions that include the usual suspects.To be sure, you can make too much of Lehman, and if you don't follow the money all the way, you stop at the wrong entity to cast blame. Many claim the greediness of bankers caused their own demise, and while that's partially true, it's not the real question to ask because everyone, including you and I, are greedy too. BAC), J.P. Morgan Chase ( JPM), Citigroup ( C), Morgan Stanley ( MS), Goldman Sachs ( GS), and many others needed a capital infusion to keep the doors open because a housing bubble popped, it's the system, not the banks. The housing crisis didn't start in 2008. It started years before when Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were allowed to guarantee and promote high-risk subprime lending to buyers the "evil banks" would not loan to otherwise. It was government-controlled entities that distorted the market and set the table for banks to fail more than eight years before.
Congress was creating a monster because most people started to believe that home prices increasing 10% or more every year was the new norm and, more importantly, that the risk was all but removed in housing. That's the real crime, creating a perception that the risk was gone. How do you create a perception that risk is removed? You continuously increase the lending capability of Fannie and Freddie while simultaneously increasing the percentage of subprime loans over a decade. After a while, it becomes normal and expected. Add in congressional leaders including Barney Frank giving speeches that we're not in or creating a housing bubble and you complete the package. Follow @RobertWeinstein This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.