Did Affordable Housing Policy Cause the Financial Crisis and Can It Happen Again?

Policy Forum
April 7, 2015
12:00PM to 1:30PM
Hayek Auditorium
Featuring Peter J. Wallison, Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute; and John C. Weicher, Director, Center for Housing and Financial Markets, Hudson Institute; moderated by Mark A. Calabria, Director, Financial Regulation Studies, Cato Institute.

After more than six years and dozens of books and journal articles on the subject, the causes of the 2008 financial crisis continue to be hotly debated, perhaps none more so than the role of federal housing policy — specifically that of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Community Reinvestment Act. Most experts agree that the increase in the number of loans that required a low down payment, little documentation, and low borrower credit fueled the subprime boom and bust. But what caused lending and underwriting standards to deteriorate so dramatically? Did Wall Street greed drive the demand for subprime lending, or did federal mandates lead the charge? Please join us as Peter J. Wallison, author of the new book Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again, and John C. Weicher examine and debate the causes and consequences of these trends. Correctly understanding the impact of federal housing policy may well determine whether we experience another financial crisis or not.