(p. A11) How much did the federal government contribute to the financial crisis? The question is quantitative, and the answer requires the kind of number crunching and careful thinking than cannot fit into an op-ed or television interview. Peter J. Wallison ‘s “Hidden in Plain Sight,” is the book that answers the question most meticulously of any written since 2008.
At this point, seven years on, most readers of this newspaper will recognize that the federal government’s role has been to force American taxpayers to subsidize trillions of dollars of risky lending. But each reader of Mr. Wallison’s book will come away a bit embarrassed at having neglected or forgot about one or more of Washington’s many contributions to the financial crisis.
. . .
In my opinion, a financial crisis is not only a likely consequence of implicit subsidies for risky lending but a necessary one because that is when implicit guarantees ultimately become real-life bailouts and trigger the taxpayer payments necessary to fund Washington’s longstanding lending goals. Mr. Wallison gives taxpayers the inside story of how housing policy was like a siphon hidden inside their wallets–and why it hurt so much.
For the full review, see:
CASEY B. MULLIGAN. “BOOKSHELF; Capitol Hill Pickpockets; Risky loans made by Fannie and Freddie were the biggest factor that led to the financial crisis–and the direct result of federal policy.” The Wall Street Journal (Weds., Feb. 25, 2015): A11.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date Feb. 24, 2015.)
The book under review is:
Wallison, Peter J. Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again. New York: Encounter Books, 2015.