Catherine Austin Fitts quite succinctly explains the entire sub prime scandal and how it was all deliberately planned to destroy wealth in the USA and then flow on to Europe and elsewhere.
A basic synopsis:
If you had savings:
The banks took your savings to lend it to your employer to invest it in foreign business to off shore your job and reduce your wages/salary or force you into unemployment.
If you were a borrower:
You were encouraged to get a mortgage on a bigger (and vastly over valued) house in a market bubble, despite that known rising energy costs in the future would make it too expensive to live in.
Those mortgages were packaged into securities and sold to your pension fund, so that when you default on your mortgage you default on your retirement plan, so you can loose your house and your retirement income.
So in short: a deliberate fraud planned out in a cold and clinical way to steal all the wealth and destroy the economy.