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The big stinking steaming heap of debt

While the downturn appeared first with the collapse of a relatively discrete sector of the US market-the so-called "sub-prime" mortgages-it quickly exploded, revealing a gaping hole in the credit system itself. As the former Chief Economist at the US International Trade Commission, Peter Morici, recently wrote, "The subprime meltdown reveals fundamental structural flaws in the US banking system.