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Republicans Lie All the Time, About Everything: Peter Wallison Edition

Mike Konczal asks:

Is there a fact-checker at the American Spectator?

No. There never was. There never will be. It's not something they care about.

Mike goes on:

I only ask because they published the following from [Peter] Wallison....

After the majority’s report was published, many people lamented that it was not possible to achieve a bipartisan agreement even on the facts….This information, which highlighted the role of government policy in fostering the creation of these low-quality mortgages, raised important questions about whether the mortgage meltdown would have been so destructive if those government policies had not existed. Any objective investigation of the causes of the financial crisis would have looked carefully at Pinto’s research, exposed it to the members of the Commission, taken Pinto’s testimony, and tested the accuracy of his research. But the Commission took none of these steps. Pinto’s memos were never made available to the other members of the FCIC, or even to the commissioners who were members of the subcommittee charged with considering the role of housing policy in the financial crisis.

As an aside, forget bipartisanship – the Wallison dissent... the other three Republicans on the FCIC walked away from it.  Keith Hennessey, Bill Thomas and Douglas Holtz-Eakin all voted in favor of removing the phrases “Wall Street” and “shadow banking” and the words “interconnection” and “deregulation” from the final FCIC report. They don’t strike me as the types of people who are going to clutch their pearls and faint at the suggestion that if they fudge some numbers... and steer some Wall Street friendliness to the GOP. And yet all three put maximum distance between themselves and Wallison’s dissent....

Let’s count the lies [from Wallison]:

1. The FCIC did look carefully at Pinto’s research; 2. The FCIC did question Pinto at length and accept all his submissions; 3. The FCIC did test the accuracy of Pinto’s research, and 4. Pinto’s research was made available to all members of the FCIC. 5. The FCIC considered and debunked Pinto’s claims, and detailed the process in its report, on page 219 and elsewhere.

In a nutshell, Pinto claimed that there were about 27 million subprime and Alt-A loans, something close to half the national total. he also claimed that about 12 million of those high risk loans were held by Fannie and Freddie. He came up with these numbers by using definitions of “subprime and “Alt-A” that were unique to Pinto alone. The FCIC uncovered a glaring disconnect between actual delinquency rates and Pinto’s categorizations.... “High risk” loans held by the GSEs had serious delinquency rates that had only 1/4 the delinquency rates of subprime loans... the GSEs’ “high risk” loans had a serious delinquency rate that was below the 6.3% national average at the time...