But after what seems an exhaustive review of a now voluminous record of transcripts, exhibits and other evidence from multiple official inquiries, Professor Ball concludes there is “no evidence” that the decision-makers “examined the adequacy of Lehman’s collateral, or that legal barriers deterred them from assisting the firm.” Rather, the decision to let Lehman fail reflected a mixture of politics — Mr. Paulson famously said he didn’t want to go down in history as “Mr. Bailout,” and the Bush administration had come under fierce criticism for rescuing Bear Stearns and the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — economic policy driven by managing “moral hazard,” and a misguided sense that investors had anticipated a Lehman failure and the consequences would be manageable.
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