Continued from page 1

There’s plenty of blame to go around for the failure to anticipate the crash that has cost millions of Americans much of their savings. Government pressure on mortgage companies to lend to risky borrowers helped trigger the initial collapse. Incompetent and frankly corrupt congressional oversight made it worse.

But the government has also fostered a cozy rating system with poor incentives. Competition and reform would help rouse from their stupor rating services that should function as watchdogs for investors, not lapdogs of the sellers.

Stuart Butler is vice president for domestic policy issues for the Heritage Foundation (