Posts filed under “Think Tank”
For over 20 years, Fiderer has been a banker covering the energy industry. Before that he was a tax lawyer. He wrote extensively about the crisis in Huffington Post until early 2011, when there was blowback in response his characterization of claims made by Peter Wallison, about Fannie and Freddie’s role in the mortgage crisis, as “lies.” He is currently trying to finish a book on the rating agencies in his spare time.
Pundit-Level Arguments Dominating Elite Business Schools Financial Crisis Discussions
by David Fiderer
Yet the book has been greeted enthusiastically. It was recently considered by the Financial Times and McKinsey for the Business Book of the Year Award, and its thesis about the recent financial crisis has been presented by the authors at events hosted by the World Bank, the Bank of England, the San Francisco Fed, the Atlanta Fed and the SEC. “[I]f you are looking for a rich history of banking over the last couple of centuries and the role played by politics in that evolution there is no better study,” wrote The New York Times reviewer. “It deserves to become a classic.” The book’s false portrayal of the recent crisis, left unchallenged, is likely to be used as a standard reference work for conservatives intent on rewriting history.
The two authors, Prof. Charles Calomiris of Columbia and Prof. Stephen Haber of Stanford, are well known. Calomiris’s 67-page CV cites, among many accomplishments, his stints as a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Monetary Fund and as a Senior Fellow at the Bank of England, as well as his 21-year affiliation with the American Enterprise Institute. Haber, who teaches Political Science at Stanford, is a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.
The book’s central argument is that the proximate cause of the financial collapse was the risky lending mandated by Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and by affordable housing goals set for government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This familiar narrative, identified as “The Big Lie” by Joe Nocera, Barry Ritholtz, and others, is still deemed valid by a lot of people who should know better. Simply put, loan performance at Fannie and Freddie has always been exponentially superior to that of any other sector in residential mortgages, whereas the loan performance of private label residential mortgage securities has been radically worse than that of other sectors in the mortgage market. Most of the credit losses were tied to private mortgage securities. To state otherwise is a lie.
Calomiris and Haber embrace The Big Lie, and double down by tracing everything to Bill Clinton’s grand strategy of income redistribution as a response to economic inequality or as a sop to community activists at ACORN. Their story is as follows: in the 1990s banks sought government approval for proposed mergers and soon recognized that such approval was subject to certain conditions set by Clinton and his urban activist allies. The banks were compelled to book vast numbers of recklessly imprudent loans extended to the urban poor, by way of the CRA and GSE affordable housing goals.
Slow Recovery in Wages and Salaries Continues despite Strong Jobs Growth LaVaughn M. Henry Economic Trends, 11.05.14 After enduring the worst recession since the Great Depression and seeing higher levels of unemployment than at any other point in their lifetime, Americans have been finding jobs at an increasing rate. However, the workplaces…Read More
Two Election Winners David R. Kotok, November 5, 2014 Two winners emerge after the election. One is the Gini coefficient. It measures the income divide of the population. It has been widening. Those at the top income level have improved their wealth. The middle income level has been eroding and is experiencing…Read More
Senator Vol Wins November 4, 2014 David R. Kotok The winner of today’s election is volatility. In fact, “Senator Vol” had already won four months ago. Some quick bullets to consider: • US stock markets tend to rise after midterm elections. We expect new highs in stock prices in the United States…Read More