I'd be remiss if I didn't point readers to the "Daily Show"'s wonderful segment on Congressional efforts to institute some measure of financial regulatory reform. Host Jon Stewart runs down the wranglings of Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), stoking himself into apoplexy over the way that establishing consumer protection has been pointlessly dragged out and doesn't promise to prevent future calamity. This bit pretty much sells itself:
STEWART: It's taken you idiots two years during the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression to compile a list of regulations we should have put into place the next day? Well, better late than never, I guess. At least now we can have some legislation that'll stop the next crisis from occurring.
DODD: [Video] This legislation will not stop the next crisis from coming.
STEWART: Hey, here's another regulation! YOU CAN'T SHORT SELL YOUR OWN REFORM BILL.
Stewart goes on to segue to a segment in which he follows the life of "United Jonco International" in order to explain the many sketchy dealings that led to the crisis, including asleep-at-the-switch ratings agencies, transparency issues at the Fed, bogus corporate bonuses, overvalued toxic assets, rampant accounting fraud and a catch-all term for a host of other established Wall Street practices that I'll simply call "dickery."
It's a very good explainer, one which you'll want to have on hand to explain all of this to your children. Obviously, since there's no chance of the government actually acting to prevent this from happening again, it will do your children's children no good. They will spend their days, crawling across the blasted hellscape of economic ruin, fighting off actual Demon Sheep for chicken bones, which will be the currency of the future.