A comment at The Drum drew my attention to this (old) WSJ op-ed.
The crucial point is that assessing systemic risk is difficult to impossible—and the likelihood of coming to a reliable consensus about it is even lower. Both Orszags and Mr. Stiglitz were officials in the Clinton Administration and saw the debates about Fan and Fred that the Clinton Treasury began in the late 1990s, only to get clobbered by the companies’ lobbying machine. Yet the three amigos still saw fit to put their names to a paper dismissing any risk of failure.
Why should anyone think that regulators—or economists—will predict the next systemic debacle any better? We only know better about the past. When the next problem erupts, as in 2002, smart people will be on both sides of the argument. And when large, systemically important companies are threatened with curbs on their business, they will pay Nobel laureates to write studies that explain away the dangers, and hire lobbyists to block any reform. A future Treasury secretary may also dismiss critics of a future Fannie Mae, or Goldman Sachs, as “ideologues,” as Hank Paulson did in 2007-2008.
The paper can be read here.