The Politics of Recession

The Politics of Recession

Maurice Mullard

This timely book utilises the tools of politics, economics and public policy to explore the causes of the recent global financial crisis, which, the author argues, can be explained as the absence of a public interest perspective in policy making.

Chapter 9: The Politics of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

Maurice Mullard

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy

Extract

The concern of this chapter is the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), which was established by President Obama in January 2010 specifically to explore the causes of the financial crisis. The work of the FCIC represents at present the most comprehensive study of the crisis. The Inquiry was highly transparent in that it had open hearings with witnesses giving testimonies under oath. The FCIC started the hearings in January 2010 and produced the final report in January 2011 (FCIC 2011). The FCIC Commissioners conducted interviews with 700 participants and had available some 250,000 documents. The brief for the FCIC, created by Congress in the aftermath of the financial crisis, was to: examine the causes of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States . . . the Commission reviewed millions of pages of documents, interviewed more than 700 witnesses and held 19 days of public hearings . . . We also studied relevant policies . . . [and] examined the roles of policy makers and regulators . . . In that sense the Commission has functioned somewhat like the National Transportation Safety Board which investigates aviation and other transportation accidents so that knowledge of the probable causes can help avoid future accidents. (FCIC 2011, pp. xi and xii) During the early days of the financial crisis, Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House of Representatives, called for a ‘Pecora type Commission’ to investigate the financial crisis. When the Senate established the FCIC the name of the Pecora Commission was again invoked. While there was no such thing as the Pecora...

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