Friday, March 9, 2012

Writer discusses Wall Street follies, housing troubles

The financial crisis was largely a result of "folly and misguided views and hubris" on Wall Street, rather than criminal action, a Wall Street Journal reporter told a crowd of business leaders today.

Gregory Zuckerman spoke to the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club this morning about the financial meltdown, his economic concerns going forward and his book "The Greatest Trade Ever," the story of a trader who made billions betting against the housing market.

In response to a question about whether more people should be in jail following the crisis, Zuckerman said plenty of bankers deserved blame but that their mistakes weren't necessarily crimes. He compared firms that sold risky securities while also betting against them to a retailer who sells a customer a pink suit without recommending otherwise. It might be two-faced, he said, but it's not illegal.

Going forward, Zuckerman said he's worried about Japan's debt and China's slowing population growth, which could lead to a "massive falloff in cheap labor" over the next 20 years. He also predicts a boom in the energy sector.

Near the end of the presentation, someone asked what advice he would give to consumers caught up in the mortgage crisis. Zuckerman said many buyers didn't read the fine print on their loan documents or relied too much on the word of their bankers, who assured them they could easily refinance or resell if needed.

"Read the documents," he said. "And have a little skepticism."


Dolley said...

You are allegedly journalists. Do your job.

Dolley said...