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PETER J. WALLISON is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Before joining AEI in 1999, he practiced law as a partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in the firm’s Washington and New York offices. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1966. From 1974 to 1976, he was counsel to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. He was general counsel of the Treasury Department from 1981 to 1985, and White House counsel for President Ronald Reagan from 1986 to 1987. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency (2003) and Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again (Encounter Books, 2015).
In this book, Peter J. Wallison argues that the administrative agencies of the executive branch have gradually taken over the legislative role of Congress, resulting in what many call the administrative state. The judiciary bears the major responsibility for this development because it has failed to carry out its primary constitutional responsibility: to enforce the constitutional separation of powers by ensuring that the elected branches of government―the legislative and the executive―remain independent and separate from one another.
The 2008 financial crisis—like the Great Depression—was a world-historical event. What caused it will be debated for years, if not generations. The conventional narrative is that the financial crisis was caused by Wall Street greed and insufficient regulation of the financial system.