When Oscar nominations were announced this week, the film “Inside Job” made the list for Best Documentary. It’s an examination of the causes of the financial crisis and it doesn’t pull any punches about what the filmmakers think lies ahead.
The film takes the position that as long as there is no change in the cozy relationships between the financial industry and those charged with regulating it, it’s not going to be possible to fix the system.
But by the time “Inside Job” was being released this past fall, a bipartisan congressional panel, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, had already been at work for more than a year examining the causes of the crisis.
The FCIC, as the commission is known, using subpoena power when necessary, collected millions of pages of documents, conducted more than 700 interviews and held 19 public hearings with high-profile witnesses like Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin and the CEOs of several now-defunct Wall Street firms. It made for less than scintillating theater.
But in the end, the commission was fractured by partisan divisions, which may affect its credibility. The commission’s final report, which was released Thursday, was endorsed only by the Democratic commission members — Republican members included two separate dissenting statements of their own, leaving us with a whole batch of new questions. One of which is: Wasn’t some of this ground covered when Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Legislation?
Alison Stewart put some of these questions to Stacy-Marie Ishmael, an editor at FT Tilt, a Financial Times website, and Joe Nocera, a business columnist for The New York Times and co-author of the new book “All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis.”