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What Caused The Financial Crisis?

The big report from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is due out tomorrow, and the NYT got a sneak peak. Bottom line, according to the article:

The 2008 financial crisis was an "avoidable" disaster caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street ...

At least, that's the bottom line according to the six commission members appointed by Democrats.

Two separate, dissenting reports are coming from the four members of the commission appointed by Republicans, the NYT says. One report will focus on a "narrower set of causes," the other on "policies to promote home ownership."

This dissension has been clear for while now; back in December, the Republican-appointed commission members released their own "primer" on the financial crisis. There was even partisan debate over banning certain words — "Wall Street," "deregulation" and "shadow banking" — from the final report.

The FCIC was supposed to deliver a single, definitive story along the lines of the widely praised 9/11 Commission Report. But the partisan split means the nation won't get anything of the sort.

We'll have more on the FCIC's dueling narratives later this week.

In other FCIC news:

The FCIC concluded that "several financial industry figures appear to have broken the law," the Huffington Post reported. The commission referred "multiple cases to state or federal authorities for potential prosecution." No names have emerged yet. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit

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