It appears that the web editors at the AEI have been busy.

Peter Wallison, currently a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission,
was also the co-director of AEI’s Financial Deregulation Project, along with his co-director, Columbia professor Charles Calomoris.

Over at Calomoris’s bio, his status as co-director of AEI’s Financial Deregulation Project is the first sentence;

Not so on for his co-director Wallison. Indeed, any reference to his participation on the Financial Deregulation Project is gone from Wallison’s AEI bio.  Instead, the language has been replaced with the more benign “codirector of AEI’s program on financial policy studies.”

Why the change? After all, it is the AEI’s position that deregulation was not a cause of the crisis.

The language change is a poor attempt to hide Wallison’s role in the radial deregulation of derivatives, banking, leverage and sub-prime mortgages from casual inspection.

This Intellectual dishonesty is telling, but unnecessary. Many people from across the political spectrum agree with the AEI that the bank bailouts were wrong, that corporate giveaways are inappropriate, and that the government created Moral Hazard.

However, some of those people consider data, facts, details, as part of their analysis.

Wallison, like most idealogues (on the Right and the Left), suffers from cognitive dissonance: When presented with facts that challenge or contradict his ideology, their brains get flummoxed. Rather than accept the possibility that deeply held beliefs are wrong, the mind fabricates rationales and excuses for the evidence in front of them. The same cognitive factors that lead sports fans to blame the referees when their teams fail to impress also lead idealogues to ignore facts and focus on beliefs. Hence, the wingnut obsession with the CRA, Fannie Mae, even Acorn as the prime cause of the crisis.

Somehow, it was apparently not dissonant enough to recognize how bad that looked — and so, it appears the title on Wallison’s bio was changed (I know I saw it there previously). You can find the same title on a few other AEI pages — see for example this — and on Google’s cache, but you better hurry, its disappearing. (Its still at his Wikipedia entry, but I would bet not for long).

Why someone who writes articles with titles such as “Deregulation Not to Blame for Financial Woes” can possibly be a fair minded member of this panel is another story that references the incompetency of the Obama White House, but that is an entirely different post.

This morning, we learned that all 4 GOP members are refusing to participate in the panels findings, and instead are releasing their own set of findings that conflict with their ideology.

My views are simply to follow the data where it leads and you and draw conclusions from that, rather than start with your conclusions and focus only on items that support those predilections . . .


UPDATE DECEMBER 21 2010 10:19am

I wrote Wallison asking about this — his (unedited) response follows:

“Sure, happily. Several years ago, I was named the Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies at AEI. At that point, it seemed sensible to me to change the name of the policy area that I was co-heading. I forgot to tell Charlie Calomiris, who was my co-head, and he did not make the change in his bio. Never having read his bio, I didn’t notice this. That’s all there is to it.”



Update: December 15, 2010 4:05pm

Dan Gross adds to the ouevre here:

Scrubbing History at the American Enterprise Institute


AEI: Continually, Unrepentently, Embarrassingly Wrong (September 2010)

Category: Analysts, Bailouts, Credit, Politics, Real Estate

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

26 Responses to “Why is AEI Scrubbing Wallison’s Name From AEI’s Financial Deregulation Project?”

  1. Dan G says:

    You’re missing the best part of the AEI scrubbing. That Calomiris guy? The professor of financial institutions at Columbia? He was chairman of the board of Greater Atlantic Bank, a publicly held bank in which his family owned a big stake. He was also a director of said bank from 2001. You’d think that would be relevant experience for an AEI expert on financial matters. But here’s the thing.

    Greater Atlantic failed in December 2009

    wiping out shareholders (including Calomiris and his family) and costing the FDIC fund about $35 million. Calomiris’ Columbia bio and c.v. still mention his service at Greater Atlantic. But when you look at AEI’s bio of him, there’s no mention of Greater Atlantic to be found.

  2. VennData says:

    Wait, didn’t a Soviet politburo member used to be in that picture?

    Propagandists think alike.

  3. rfullem says:

    Uh, when I asked Mr. Calomoris when he bought his first home, he said in 1980s but his father/family made their money from real estate. I guess that is why he, other Repubs and Dems, and most interest-deducting, home equity Americans did not want to abolish Fannie, Freddie, mort deducts, etc. until now. Now the question is will Mr. Wallinson, Mr. Calomoris, and millions of others return decades of Fannie subsidies and interest rate deducts back to the American taxpayer? Hypocrites!

    On blaming Fannie/Freddie for the housing issue: see item 14 on 2005 Fed Survey of Loan Officers.
    So if I get this straight, Angelo Mozillo and the swaths of IBers were forced into making billions? Really?

  4. obsvr-1 says:

    this is sooo disappointing, after reviewing the documents and testimony released on the FCIC website I was hoping that a more objective and not partisan finding would come out of the commission. The operational work of the FCIC was more in line with that of the COP on TARP, however now it looks like the report and findings are going to be politicized and sugar coated unlike the reports from the COP. It is sickening to see those who dug so deep into the causes of the crisis (Scandal) fail the american people so miserably.

    I can only hope that the full report will not be so tainted as this article suggests and hopefully someone will make a call for ALL of the documents and non-public testimony and interviews be published so everyone can see the RAW information to determine if the report aligns with reality.

  5. BR:

    You often rail against people whose beliefs can’t be altered by evidence. In trying to ascertain causation, which is effectively what we all do every single day in trying to make sense of the world– whether we know it or not–shouldn’t “beliefs” be verboten?

    To gain objectivity we must abandon belief, which seems to me a pretty good bargain.

  6. swag says:

    Awesome, funny, and pathetic:

    “Apparently, the Republicans on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission have abandoned the commission because the other six members would not agree to ban the phrases “Wall Street” and “deregulation” from the final report.”

  7. [...] only have these commissioners been MIA during committee sessions since August but they are quickly scrubbing their bios to eliminate any mention of their previous advocacy of de-regulation. It appears that the web [...]

  8. rfullem says:

    ” The subprime and other junk mortgages that Fannie and Freddie bought–and the market in these mortgages that their buying spawned–are the underlying cause of the financial crisis. ”

    Ah! Housing. Brilliant. So lets see. TRILLIONS of bad subprime/Alt A mortgages were underwritten by unsupervised banks/IBs and bought by unsupervised Fannie. The government response to this housing/mortgage crises? A failed HAMP, bailout for banks, cash for clunkers, a tax credit for buying energy efficiency, no arrests, and now tax cuts for the rich. To those that simply bought a house earlier this decade? Well, you should have know. Is this a joke?

  9. IS_LM says:

    Wallison has always been an ideological joke, as has his AEI brother, Hassett. Holtz-Eakin used be a respectable economist, but through the miracle of wingnut welfare, is now a bench warmer waiting to return to gov’t in the first Palin administration. I’ve forgotten more economics than Hennessey ever learned.

  10. IS_LM says:

    Btw, KThug has linked to BR’s post. I hope that this brings some new traffic to BR’s fine site.

  11. DeDude says:

    So if the GOPsters could not ban the words “Wall Street” and “shadow banking” and “deregulation” from the report they would not participate. The party of the top 2% in action again. I guess their new motto is: “we serve the people (on a platter to the Wall Street banksters)”. Or is it: “we don’t need reality, we create our own”. The only more pathetic people than these clowns are the idiots who voted them into office.

  12. Mannwich says:

    And the papering over of reality will continue until the Sheeple forget reality and go with the flow. Get into line, folks.

  13. AHodge says:

    really you could have predicted Wallison’s stoogedom on the Inquiry Commission
    more striking
    there were NO Inquiring Minds….none
    while i heard some anti bank posturing
    they all gave Fuld Cassano a total pass for example.

    i doubt the “findings” will be even worth speed reading,
    best not to clutter your mind with any member statements either…

  14. number2son says:

    To make his obvious conflict of interest less embarrassing?

    Sorry, Pete, but the cat’s already out of the bag. You’re officially a joke.

  15. AHodge says:

    somehow a fitting picture
    a vision of this group lounging around
    debating whether to include the words “Wall St”

  16. JimRino says:

    The “Republican” party is hired to defend fraud and commit fraud.

  17. drone says:

    AEI used to have Wallison listed as “A codirector of AEI’s program on financial markets deregulation” as we can verify with the Wayback Machine:,filter.all/scholar.asp

  18. gman says:

    Have they found the WMD yet?…has the war paid for itself?..has the Dow reached 36k? Never listen to AEI or anyone ever associated with it!…like most of the republican party.

  19. Mannwich says:

    LOL gman. Being disastrously wrong on just about everything has no consequences in this country if you’re in the cool kids club. In fact, the more wrong, the better. It’s all about making your own reality, meaning all about marketing.

  20. formerlawyer says:

    I recall an interview with Garry Trudeau (of Doonesbury fame) somewhat along the following line: “Americans don’t shame anymore. Have you seen our reality television?”

  21. olddogDALTX says:

    Early 2000s -

    1. I asked my banker if banks were involved in criminal fraud in the home loan process by suggesting, even if tacitly, the possibility of an ARM in the then low interest rate climate. Argument would run pretty much on the basis that the home would appreciate and therefore profit could be made on a sale, if necessary, down the road.

    2. He just glared at me. I got the message.

  22. EthanAspen says:

    I hate to ruin a good conspiracy, but I suspect the reason Dad’s bio has changed at AEI – and yes, I’m his son – is that his position is substantially different that the one reflected in the picture above. For one thing, he is no longer a resident fellow, but a senior fellow occupying an established chair (the Arthur F. Burns chair) at the institute with a far broader portfolio (“financial policy studies”) than before, which I think was about six years ago.

    I wouldn’t even bother correcting such a meaningless snipe – anyone even superficially familiar with his 20-plus years of trying to restrain the risks Fannie and Freddie were permitted to take with their taxpayer guarantee would know he is not “against” government regulation. (In fact, he co-authored a book on this subject with fellow Capitalist stooge Ralph Nader.) But if Krugman really must insist on finding his source material in these swamps, a bit of policing is in order.

    Sorry to interrupt the anonymous bloviating from all these healthy minds in assembly. Now continue.

  23. [...] the word “deregulation” was apparently scrubbed from Wallison’s American Enterprise Institute bio after this flap became public. [...]

  24. [...] • Peter Wallison was head of AEI’s Financial Deregulation Project (since renamed). What are the odds he is going to find that deregulation had anything to do with it? Instead, his pet peeves about the GSEs are his preclusion.  (See Why is AEI Scrubbing Wallison’s Name From AEI’s Financial Deregulation Project?) [...]