New plan: Let's sue all the banks!

Dear Banks,
Remember all of that bailout money you received? Sure hope you saved some of it.

US authorities are preparing to sue more than a dozen big banks over claims they misrepresented the quality of mortgages sold during the 2006-7 housing bubble.

The US Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which is overseeing the remains of failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is reportedly planning to argue that America’s biggest banks failed to check the health of mortgages before they sold them on to investors. The collapse of hundreds of thousands of sub-prime mortgages triggered the 2008 credit crisis and the collapse of Fannie and Freddie.

The list of targets includes Bank of America, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. As the article notes, this seems to be coming in response to the damage they did to Fannie and Freddie. Try to keep that in mind for just a moment longer.

Look, the fact that there were some completely odious financial instruments floating around out there is beyond question. It also goes without saying that the problem metastasized because such instruments require insurance and a strong credit rating to sell them, so companies like AIG were dragged into the whirlpool when the whole show began to go down the crapper. In that regard, one could argue that the entire system was not “too big to fail” but, in some ways, designed to fail. But doesn’t it seem curious that the same institutions which were deemed so critical to the national interest that the taxpayers would have to bail them out are now suitable pockets to pick in a law suit?

Returning to the previous point, we come to the exit question. Does anyone honestly think that Fannie and Freddie were somehow “innocent victims” in all of this? If you’re going to be looking at suing somebody… Oh wait. That’s silly. We can’t go around suing ourselves, now can we?