An interesting comparison is being made between good-natured but naive George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life and the current state of economic peril derived from subprime lenders.
Portfolio made the original argument in full here, but I find it interesting to note that comparing Angelo Mozilo or some other dastardly and greedy subprime lender to George Bailey is a tough sell. Personality-wise, perhaps the greed is more similar to mean old Mr. Potter. After all, he’s the one only looking out for himself.
But what it all comes down to is general business acumen. Sure, It’s A Wonderful Life is a great story of honest people overcoming severe financial adversity, but it’s really Bailey’s naivety and unhindering trust in everyone to pay their bills that caused the whole problem. There’s even a line of dialogue where Bailey discounts Potter as a heartless man for evicting tenants and homeowners who don’t pay their rent or their mortgages. How is that "mean"? Is Potter supposed to just sit around and hope they’ll pay up?
Judge for yourself after watching the beginning of this clip where Bailey and Potter duel on the reasoning behind lending to Ernie Bishop, the taxi driver (Who later became the namesake for Sesame Street’s Ernie):