Talk:Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

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Recent edits (November 2014)[edit]

--Original post moved here from editor's talk page.

On the FCIC page you keep re-adding the following bold sentence : "Wallison, from the American Enterprise Institute drafted his alone and proposed that the crisis was caused by government affordable housing policies rather than market forces.[11] However, this view has not been supported by subsequent detailed analyses of mortgage market data

That sentence is extremely misleading. First, you say "subsequent analyses" and yet you only link to one paper. Second, one paper does not discredit a theory. There are many scholars who agree with Wallison's theory. To say that a theory has not been supported is to say that another theory has been proven, but that is not the case.

Next, you deleted my additions of summaries of the two dissenting statements and said they would be more appropriate on another page. Wrong again. My summaries were of similar (but shorter) length than the summary of the report. Only including a summary of the majority report is inappropriate given the political nature of the Commission. As you may recall, the Commission voted on party lines, 6-4. The Majority Report is only the majority because Democrats had a majority in both houses of Congress. Therefore, this page must create room for the two dissenting statements. If you think they should be shorter, we can talk about that. But in the meantime I will undo your changes.

I look forward to talking more. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikiedits1611 (talkcontribs) 20:51, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Hi, Wikiedits1611. Thank you for your contributions. Per WP:BRD, your recent edit has been reverted while we address the above noted issues and attempt to resolve them.
First, I haven't "re-added sentences"; I've merely reverted attempts to delete a sentence. Semantics, I know, but the point is that the verifiably sourced sentence isn't my creation. I have, however, re-checked the wording you describe as "misleading" against the source, and it checks out. In fact, the wording in this Wikipedia article is quite reserved compared to the much stronger language used by the source to describe Wallison's theory, based on subsequent analysis (and new evidence). And the cited source doesn't just disagree with a theory, it shows in specific detail the weaknesses of Wallison's theories. Deleting the reliably sourced information is not a correct response. If you would like to propose alternative wording for that content (see pages starting at 259 in the Indiana Law Journal where the source was published), please present it here. Perhaps we should briefly include the criticisms of Wallison's theories by his fellow Republicans?
Second, this article is about the FCI Commission, not the various intricacies and theories of the causes and effects of the financial crisis. There are more suitable Wikipedia articles for those details and debates. The Commission's findings are presented here; the "political" makeup of the Commission is already mentioned, including the "party line" voting on the final report. While dissenting views and theories can be acknowledged here, and they already are, they are not part of the Commission's final conclusions nor an appropriate topic of extensive discussion in this article.
Regards, Xenophrenic (talk) 22:47, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
Xenophrenic, where in the source do you find that? The author largely cites data published in the FCIC majority report, which obviously is not "subsequent." The author basically just disagrees with Wallison's interpretation. That hardly disproves Wallison's theory. Moreover, there is no way of "proving" anything! This is how academic debates work. Scholars go back and forth, but there is hardly ever consensus. There is no consensus in this debate, as there are many scholars who believe in and cite Wallison's work. Therefore, citing one paper from the Indiana Law Journal as the objective truth is beyond inappropriate and intellectually dishonest. There is no need to include any sentence to replace the one I wrote in bold above as the existence of three different theories (i.e. majority report plus two dissents) in the FCIC already suggests that different parties disagreed.
As to your second point, again this is wrong. If you look at, for example, Wikipedia pages for major Supreme Court cases, you see an explanation of the decision as well as separate sections for each dissenting opinion. Why would this not be the case for the FCIC page as well? If you don't think that sections on dissenting opinions should include details about the intricacies and theories of the causes and effects of the financial crisis, then why can the section on the Majority's report? The page in its current form is politically biased and must be changed.
Regards, Wikiedits1611 — Preceding undated comment added 14:48, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
Where in the source? Primarily in pages 258-264, in itemized points 'A' through 'E' -- after the obligatory characterization of AEI, its funding, motivations, etc., of course. Yes, the 2013 paper does cite some data from the 2011 report, including Wallison's own words and admissions which are used against him, while contrasting the lack of empirical evidence supporting Wallison's assertions with evidence refuting those assertions. That is more than simple "disagreement". I do not disagree with you that there is still debate and difference of opinion; my contention is that this particular article Wikipedia article is not the appropriate venue to wage that war. That said, your objection to having the ILJ piece as the sole independent declaration about the dissenting opinion has merit. Can you suggest one of these "many scholars who believe in" the assertions championed by Wallison, Pinto, et al, that we can add -- preferably something independent and of high quality, which specifically addresses aspects of this Inquiry?
Looking at high profile Supreme Court cases (i.e.; Roe v Wade, Bush v Gore, Hobby Lobby, etc.) it is evident that dissenting opinions take up very little real estate in these Wikipedia articles, and the more comprehensive debate and discussion about the underlying factors is conducted in more appropriate articles. There may be exceptions, but this isn't a Supreme Court case, and there is no "section on the Majority's report" -- just a list of 9 findings by the Commission (each of which may or may not have been agreed upon, in whole or in part, by a different majority of individuals). Just as when a divided House or Senate passes legislation, we don't describe it as the passing of a "partial" law or bill. I do, however, think this article could benefit from succinct summary of dissent after the 9-point report. The first couple sentences you added for each dissenting opinion (before adding the itemized laundry list of "directly quoted" causes and reasons longer than the Commission's report summary) would probably be sufficient. Turning this article into a debate page is inappropriate. Financial crisis of 2007–08 or Subprime mortgage crisis are proper venues, and already cover some of the debate. Regards, Xenophrenic (talk) 21:20, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
"After the obligatory characterization of AEI, its funding, motivations, etc., of course"... what? What about that is obligatory? Actually, that section alone suggests that the paper has no business being cited in any sort of academic discussion. The title of the section is "Industry Has Sought to Defend Itself by Blaming Government," and yet he presents no evidence other than that AEI is funded by corporations. This section is nothing more than rank speculation. The fact that he puts scare quotes around "think tanks" is evidence enough that this paper should not be cited as -- what you call -- "independent and of high quality."
You're right, we don't talk about "partial" law or bill, but this is also nothing like legislation. The FCIC report is much more similar to a Supreme Court case.
No, there is no sense in including debate on Wallison's conclusions when there is none whatsoever about the Majority report or the other dissenting statement. The section on "Reception", for example, includes only praise for the report and bashes the Republicans. Where are critiques of the Commission (Majority)? Surely the public did not unanimously agree with them.
I am about to remove the sentence about Wallison's view not being support by subsequent detailed analyses of mortgage market data because that paper offers no new evidence and is of dubious quality and because the merits of the Majority report and other dissent are not considered. I will also add a short section on both dissents but plan to expand them a bit (though not much) in the very near future. Regards. Wikiedits1611 21:03, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Xenophrenic mentions: "Looking at high profile Supreme Court cases (i.e.; Roe v Wade, Bush v Gore, Hobby Lobby, etc.) it is evident that dissenting opinions take up very little real estate in these Wikipedia articles, and the more comprehensive debate and discussion about the underlying factors is conducted in more appropriate articles."

If one looks at Abrams v. United States, Bush v. Gore, Korematsu v. United States, United States v. Windsor, s/he can see the importance that has been given not only to the majority, but also to the minority opinion. Since Wallison's testimony differs significantly from the majority opinion, I think that we ought to allocate some more space to Wallison's dissent. That's why I added some paragraphs from a few months ago which were deleted, with the reasoning as pointed above.

If you think that the dissent takes too much space relative to the list of FCIC findings, may I suggest you to expand on the points of FCIC findings? I think that way readers will have a better understanding of both the majority and the minority views.

Thank you, Xenophrenic!

-AidenBrooklyn93 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aidenbrooklyn93 (talkcontribs)

  • ...s/he can see the importance that has been given not only to the majority, but also to the minority opinion.
Actually, I'm seeing the reverse. Wikipedia articles aren't supposed to give importance to subjects; it is supposed to reflect the weight and importance already afforded the subject in reliable sources. Of course there may be a couple of instances where minority or dissenting opinions are exceptionally remarkable for various reasons, and therefore will receive some additional coverage. Existing reliable sources on this matter do not convey that is the case here. Regards, Xenophrenic (talk) 16:44, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

To Xenophrenic. Mr. Wallison has written a book called "Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World's Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again," which is built on his dissent and uses data that the FCIC collected but did not use in its report. In effect, Mr. Wallison's dissent and the book "debunks" the FCIC report and deserves to receive equal status with the report, which he shows was a biased effort to provide a basis for Congress to adopt what eventually became the Dodd-Frank Act.

As to the question of "reliable sources," there has never been a reliable source review of the FCIC majority report, but as a government report it received attention in the media. Meanwhile, Mr. Wallison's book, which grew out of his dissent, has been endorsed by Eugene Fama, a Nobel Laureate at the University of Chicago ("Academic economists generally agree that the mortgage meltdown during the recent financial crisis was in large part a consequence of government 'affordable housing' policies. Peter Wallison's "Hidden In Plain Sight" details the evidence in a totally convincing way"); Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, (Government housing policies were a major cause of the financial crisis, and we are now repeating the same mistakes. Peter Wallison told the story better than anyone else and is sounding warnings again"); James R. Barth, Lowder Eminent Scholar in Finance, Auburn University ("In this must-read book, Wallison thoroughly documents that bad government housing policies are a too-little acknowledged cause of the crisis. He make a convincing case that policymakers simply misdiagnosed what went wrong in 2008, without taking the actions that would prevent another crisis"); and Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee ("Those of us who have studied the financial crisis concluded years ago that Peter Wallison 'wrote the book' on the subject. Now he has actually done so. For years he warned of misguided federal housing policies, but his warnings were ignored. For the sake of our economy, this time Washington must listen.")

In addition, by what right is Philip Angelides given the space to criticize Mr. Wallison's dissent as the product of a corporate-backed think tank? Mr. Wallison's view is that Mr. Angelides perverted the entire purpose of the FCIC to support the goals of his friend, former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. What Mr. Angelides was allowed to write is completely false and it was unworthy of Wikipedia, if it has any reputation at all to protect, to allow those statements to be made at the end of Wallison's dissent. If that is allowed, then Mr. Wallison should be allowed to provide his view of why Mr. Angelides pushed the FCIC--despite the fact that it had an obligation to use its government funding for the education of the country--to provide a one-sided view of something as important as the financial crisis. That is well documented in Mr. Wallison's book.

Finally, what are these "reliable sources on this matter" you cite? Mr. Wallison deserves a list, and they had better be more eminent and knowledgeable than those (among others) who have praised Mr. Wallison's work and his book about the financial crisis.

If we don't hear from you in response to this message, we will not let this matter drop. There are indications here that Wikipedia is making a political or ideological judgment about this issue, and if so it should be brought to the public's attention.

Thank you,

Ryan Nabil Ryan.Nabil2015 (talk) 14:08, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Ryan.Nabil2015 (talkcontribs) 14:01, 31 July 2015 (UTC)