It appears the penny has finally dropped in Washington.
Bank bailout watchdog Elizabeth Warren, chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, has unveiled a report that outlines the perilous state of the U.S. commercial mortgage sector, which left unaided could spark “economic damage that could touch the lives of nearly every American”.
The Havard Law School Professor and her panel colleagues are talking the kind of apocalyptic language that may just shock the White House and its star policy advisers into facing problems banks have now rather simply obsess about those they may or may not encounter in the future.
The global banking system may well need some kind of Volcker-esque guidelines to curb the next generation of excessive risk-takers but critics say Obama is putting the cart before the horse in his efforts to haul the economy back on track.
Certainly, the U.S. government has toiled long and hard to stabilise the U.S. housing market, like propping up Fannie and Freddie and their dysfunctional offspring, but the subprime mess has distracted attentions from the toxic commercial market, where the clean-up task is no less important.