Posts filed under “Analysts”

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 . . .

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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.”

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Update: December 15, 2010 4:05pm

Dan Gross adds to the ouevre here:

Scrubbing History at the American Enterprise Institute

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

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

Yahoo Finance + StockTwits = Message Boards 2.0

Two firms I have more than a passing relationship — Yahoo Finance and StockTwits — have formally announced a deal to place the curated StockTwit content directly onto Yahoo Finance. (I am a regular on Yahoo Finance, and FusionIQ offers several products in the stock twits marketplace). Lets use Google as an example of what…Read More

Category: Analysts, Trading, Web/Tech

Top Economic Forcasters

Here are Bloomberg’s run of Wall Street’s top economic prognosticators. Click to open PDFs • Top Personal Spending Forecasters • Top Unemployment Forecasters • Top GDP Forecasters • Top CPI Forecasters • Top Overall Forecasters Yes, I know that calling someone a top Wall Street’s top economist is like saying they are the skinniest guy…Read More

Category: Analysts

WSJ: Expert Networks = Insider Trading

The WSJ occasionally buries huge stories in its much less read weekend edition; recall the option backdating investigation in 2006. This past weekend was a classic example of this: “Federal authorities, capping a three-year investigation, are preparing insider-trading charges that could ensnare consultants, investment bankers, hedge-fund and mutual-fund traders, and analysts across the nation, according…Read More

Category: Analysts, Legal, M&A

Tight Employers: Frugal or Counter-Productive?

Have a quick look at yesterday’s post: Wedbush: Cheap as a Fox. There was a robust discussion in comments — and the general take that resonated with me was summed up thusly: Being judicious about expenses is one thing, but being ultra cheap can be counter-productive and myopic when you figure in the opportunity costs….Read More

Category: Analysts, Corporate Management, Wages & Income

Home Equity as a Percentage of Household Net Worth

> I frequently find myself disagreeing with Tobias Levkovich of Citigroup. That’s not surprising, given his firm and their investment posture. Where I really part ways is on anything housing related. Levkovich was part of the mainstream herd of strategists who, as the markets topped in October 2007, made the erroneous forecast that Housing would…Read More

Category: Analysts, Real Estate, Really, really bad calls

Regulation AB: Downgrading the Ratings Agencies

We know the major ratings agencies suck. We know their business model was payola. We know they sold ratings for cash, committed fraud on structured product investors. We know they hid significant modeling errors, and then hid these problems from the public and regulators. Might their free ride be coming to an end? The SEC…Read More

Category: Analysts, Bailouts, Credit, Legal, Really, really bad calls

Are Wall Street Analysts Contrary Indicators?

‘Boy these companies look pretty good, earnings are OK, they have plenty of cash. What if there’s a double dip?’ ‘I’m no macroeconomist, but . . .’ > Here is an intriguing possibility, one that should make any investor holding 80% cash a tad nervous: The Buy/Sell/Hold crowd of analysts are excessively cautious: “For the…Read More

Category: Analysts, Contrary Indicators, Corporate Management, Earnings

MISH vs ECRI

I hate it when two people I know and like do battle. This week, it is Mike Shedlock of MISH’s global economic analysis squaring up against my friend and work neighbor, Lakshman Achuthan of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI). Mish ripped ECRI in an unsparing critique this morning: ECRI Weekly Leading Indicators at Negative…Read More

Category: Analysts, Cycles, Economy

Who Steered You Wrong About the GS Case?

Amongst the regular complaints I have about the financial media is the lack of accountability of alleged experts. The bad stock picks, the terrible market calls, the unsupported opinions, all blithely made and forgotten. Yet the same experts are trotted out week after week to give more money losing advice. The silver lining to this…Read More

Category: Analysts, Financial Press, Legal, Regulation