Plenty of people have been blamed for the nation's mortgage meltdown and housing market slump: Irresponsible lenders, incompetent regulators, unethical brokers, spineless appraisers, greedy investors, foolish homebuyers and even headline-hungry reporters have all been said to have participated in some way in the factors that triggered the crisis. But so far, the real culprit has remained on the sidelines, where it has been often mentioned but never directly accused in so many words. The plain truth, as I see it: the big-screen TV is to blame. Here is one account of what went wrong: Early adopters who flock to new technologies like birds to scattered breadcrumbs began to buy these super-sized television sets some years ago. Then their family members, friends and neighbors came over and watched a documentary-style nature program or major sporting event on the big-screen TV in high definition. And then those people went out and bought their own big-screen TVs. Eventually these ...
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