Many people contributed to the global financial collapse, but perhaps no one more than James A. Johnson, the former head of Fannie Mae. Johnson helped transform the government-sponsored housing lender into “the largest and most powerful financial institution in the world,” according to the new book “Reckless Endangerment” by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner. As Fannie Mae grew, so did its political influence and the bonuses to its top executives. During a nine-year period, Johnson received $100 million in compensation. Columnist George Will’s conclusion: “Although Johnson left Fannie Mae years before his handiwork helped produce the 2008 bonfire of wealth, he may be more responsible for the debacle and its still-mounting devastations — of families, endowments, etc. — than any other individual. If so, he may be more culpable for the peacetime destruction of more wealth than any individual in history.”
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