Need a loan? Why the banks (and Fed) are saying 'Scrooge you'

If the credit crisis is over -- and it most certainly is as measured by tighter credit spreads -- why aren't banks making loans to the people who need them most, American taxpayers?

You don't have to be the chairman of the Federal Reserve to know that banks are behaving worse than Scrooge when it comes to extending credit to small businesses and consumers. Ben Bernanke admitted as much in a recent speech, which is perplexing since a zero-interest-rate policy (ZIRP) is supposed to stimulate economic growth, most of which is generated by those very same small businesses and consumers.