Posts filed under “Bailout Nation”

NYTimes Takes on “The Big Lie”

I am please to report that calling out the Big Lie has now gone fully mainstream.

Recall last month, I had two Big Lie columns in the Washington Post:

What caused the financial crisis? The Big Lie goes viral.

Examining the big lie: How the facts of the economic crisis stack up

The first column was the most popular article on for a full week. It generated nearly 1845 comments.

Since then, both and Reuters each have picked up the Big Lie theme. (Columbia Journalism Review as well).  In today’s NYT, Joe Nocera does too, once again calling out those who are pushing the false narrative for political or ideological reasons in a column simply called “The Big Lie“.

Nocera details exactly how its done:

“So this is how the Big Lie works.

You begin with a hypothesis that has a certain surface plausibility. You find an ally whose background suggests that he’s an “expert”; out of thin air, he devises “data.” You write articles in sympathetic publications, repeating the data endlessly; in time, some of these publications make your cause their own. Like-minded congressmen pick up your mantra and invite you to testify at hearings.

You’re chosen for an investigative panel related to your topic. When other panel members, after inspecting your evidence, reject your thesis, you claim that they did so for ideological reasons. This, too, is repeated by your allies. Soon, the echo chamber you created drowns out dissenting views; even presidential candidates begin repeating the Big Lie.

Thus has Peter Wallison, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a former member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, almost single-handedly created the myth that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the financial crisis. His partner in crime is another A.E.I. scholar, Edward Pinto, who a very long time ago was Fannie’s chief credit officer.”

Longstanding readers of TBP may recall the genesis of my interest in this:  When I was writing Bailout Nation, I did lots and lots of research into exactly what it was that led to the housing boom and bust, the stock market crash, and the Great Recession.

The answer was “its complicated.” There were many many factors, lots of bad ideas, plenty of poor judgement all around.

I summarized these into 7 broad categories. The incomparable Jess Bachman (of Wall Stats) created this fantastic graphic that is the centerfold of the book:




The perpetrators of the big lie all have something to hide. Whether they voted for more deregulation or passed the ridiculous the CFMA or supported the repeal of Glass Steagall or cheered Alan Greenspan’s monetary policy, the Big Lie supporters all bear some resposibility.

In the case of Peter Wallison, he was the Co-director of AEI’s financial market deregulation project. That was scrubbed from his AEI bio.

Ed Pinto has taken a different approach to trying to deflect the blame from the blameworthy. He has continually thrown shit against the barn wall to see what will stick. Originally, it was the fault of the CRA. When that argument failed, he blamed Acorn.  And now its the GSEs. Wallison and Pinto have had their greatest success with this — its now a talking point amongst many of the GOP contenders for the Republican niomination for President.


With this post, we move Peter Wallison an Edward Edward Pinto into the UnGuru category, where they can join the likes of Ben Stein, Elaine Garzerelli and Meredith Whitney as “Ungurus.” All posts that prominently mention these people include the category Unguru.


The Big Lie
Joe Nocera
NYT, December 23, 2011

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Really, really bad calls, UnGuru

I agree with Michele Bachmann

Well, at least about this one thing: She and I are quite sympatico — at least when it comes to criticizing the Bush troika (Bush/Paulson/Bernanke) for the absurd bailouts of failed banks: “The Bush administration … was embracing a kind of ‘bailout socialism,’ ” wrote the Minnesota congresswoman, who is running for the GOP presidential…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Politics

Government Blameless in Bubble/Bust/Bailouts?

Reason has a critique of The Big Lie column. It was so disingenuous, I did something I rarely do: I sent an email to the author and editors at Reason. It went something like this: I was disappointed to read your comments about my “Big Lie” column. You seem to have completely misread who I…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Really, really bad calls

WSJ: Fact Checking Romney

The WSJ called out Mitt Romney for repeating the Big Lie in the CNBC Presidential debate: “Markets work. When you have government play its heavy hand, markets blow up and people get hurt,” Mr. Romney said, blaming Democrats for rules that he said force banks to make ill-advised loans. Some conservative academics have said that…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Credit, Politics, Real Estate, Really, really bad calls

Banking’s Self Inflicted Wounds

Morgan Stanley in a free fall. Goldman Sachs at multi-year lows. Citigroup looking Ugly. Bank of America off 50% from recent highs. You may be wondering what is going on with the major firms in the financial sector. While each of these firms have different problems — vampire squids to Countrywide acquisitions — they all…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Corporate Management, Credit, Politics, Really, really bad calls

Here is Bailout Nation, Chapter 12: Strange Connections, Unintended Consequences: ~~~ Bailout Nation, Chapter 12: Strange Connections, Unintended Consequences

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Books

Forget TARP: Wall St Borrowed $1.2 Trillion from Fed

> I continue to be of the mind that the Wall Street Bailouts were misguided, and that a massive Swedish style reorg would have been the best thing for the nation and the economy in the long run. Both Uncle Sam and the Fed would have provided the broad based debtor in possession financing required,…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Federal Reserve

Robin Hood in Reverse: Bank Bailout Bonanza Heats Up


“Robin Hood in Reverse”: Bank Bailout Bonanza Heats Up (Again)
Aaron Task
Daily Ticker, August 12, 2011

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Real Estate, Video

How the Fed Got Itself Boxed In

Yesterday morning’s comments (Random Thoughts: Recent Trading/Market Activity) began with this bullet point: “This entire crisis traces itself back in large part to then FOMC chair Alan Greenspan not allowing markets and the economy to flush themselves clean after the dot com collapse. It seems that nearly every Fed/Government policy action has been a response…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Federal Reserve, Really, really bad calls

Harvey Pitt, Regulatory Expert

Here is a laugher: Dealbook is reporting that former S.E.C. Chairman Harvey Pitt is now criticizing Dodd-Frank. The giant SEC FAIL of the past decade traces, in no small part, to the great work of Mr. Pitt. As a reminder of Pitt’s sterling ethics and his service to the investing community, I give you this…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Really, really bad calls, Regulation