Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in Plain Sight : What Really Caused the World's Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again

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The 2008 financial crisis--like the Great Depression--was a world-historical event. What caused it will be debated for years, if not generations. The conventional narrative is that the financial crisis was caused by Wall Street greed and insufficient regulation of the financial system. That narrative produced the Dodd-Frank Act, the most comprehensive financial-system regulation since the New Deal. There is evidence, however, that the Dodd-Frank Act has slowed the recovery from the recession. If insufficient regulation caused the financial crisis, then the Dodd-Frank Act will never be modified or repealed; proponents will argue that doing so will cause another crisis. A competing narrative about what caused the financial crisis has received little attention. This view, which is accepted by almost all Republicans in Congress and most conservatives, contends that the crisis was caused by government housing policies. This book extensively documents this view. For example, it shows that in June 2008, before the crisis, 56 percent of all US mortgages were subprime or otherwise low-quality. Of these, 76 percent were on the books of government agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
When these mortgages defaulted in 2007 and 2008, they drove down housing prices and weakened banks and other mortgage holders, causing the crisis. After this book is published, no one will be able to claim that the financial crisis was caused by insufficient regulation, or defend Dodd-Frank, without coming to terms with the data this book contains.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 153 x 229 x 33.78mm | 794g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1594037701
  • 9781594037702
  • 2,516,678

About Peter J. Wallison

Peter J. Wallison holds the Arthur F. Burns Chair in Financial Policy Studies and is co-director of AEI's program on Financial Policy Studies. From June 1981 to January 1985, he was General Counsel of the United States Treasury Department, where he had a significant role in the development of the Reagan Administration's proposals for deregulation in the financial services industry. His most recent book is "Bad History, Worse Policy: How a False Narrative about the Financial Crisis Led to the Dodd-Frank Act" (AEI Press 2013).
He testifies frequently before committees of Congress, and is a frequent contributor to the op-ed pages of the "Wall Street Journal" and other print and online journals. He has also been a speaker at many conferences on financial services, housing, the causes of the financial crisis, the Dodd-Frank Act, accounting, and corporate governance, and is a member of the Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee, the Council on Foreign Relations, the SEC Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting (2008), co-Chair of the Pew Financial Reform Task Force (2009), and a member of the congressionally- authorized Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (2009-2011). In May 2011, for his work in financial policy, Mr. Wallison received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Colorado.
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25 ratings
4.24 out of 5 stars
5 56% (14)
4 24% (6)
3 12% (3)
2 4% (1)
1 4% (1)
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