Mike's thesis is interesting but the question is: Why were all those steps taken?
What happened was that, once this intellectual exercise of "globalization" got started, back in Reagan's time, our factories got moved offshore for the cheap labor, we stopped making
things (so we had nothing to sell in order to generate real wealth) and then we had to invent
the "ownership society" and gin-up progressively crazier financing schemes in order to create phony demand in the housing market. At the end, we had unqualified buyers paying puff-pastry prices for an over-built supply of houses. (Oh, and way too many are energy-pig McMansions.) Big surprise that there was a crash.
But the notion that this happened because of "over-regulation," or that de-regulation would have been or is that answer to it, is absolute insanity. The very term "crash" has its origins in what happens when people realize that the party's over in unregulated markets. They all try to get out at the same time, the liquidity isn't there, the paper quickly becomes worthless, businesses shutter, people lose their jobs, they can't pay their taxes, there's nobody to buy their foreclosed homes, and pretty soon people are stealing food.
You want less-regulation? The Oct 1929 crash happened in a day. The Oct 1987 crash happened in an afternoon. Without controls over "program-trading," a "crash" these days could happen in a couple minutes, far faster than anybody here could get their money out. And that would be a good thing?
You guys who want less regulation are living in a dream world. You should take the shock absorbers off your cars; they'll ride better.