During the 90s de-regulation, or really the de-decriminalization of corrupt banking practices including the "Modernization" of Commodities Trading Act allowed Wall Street and big banking in Europe to load everybody up with over leveraged debt. Then they created derivatives to "insure" against the risk. Creating the bubble to end all bubbles, the end of us all bubble. A quadrillion dollar bubble in a 60 trillion dollar world economy (and a lot of that is just paper).
There were people who sounded the alarm on this, they were by and large silenced by anyway necessary (Eliot Spitzer for example) or just ignored if they could be portrayed as cranks or (gasp) socialists. Huge salaries, perks and bribes were available to anybody in a position of power who would look the other way. Bill Clinton left office millions in debt and facing possible prison time for any number of trumped up charges. In a few short years he was worth more than $200 million. That's couch cushion change compared to what the people who paid him off are raking in. But remember Clinton only signed laws that Republicans passed, that's where the real treason is.