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Bailout Nation, with New Post-Crisis Update: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy Paperback – June 15, 2010
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"Best business books of 2009" (Miami Herald)
"Investment Book of the Year" (Stock Trader’s Almanac)
"Succeeds in laying out all that transpired in easy-to-understand language. If you want to know how we got into this mess and what might still be coming, this is the book for you." (Wall Street Journal)
"The author writes with the fury of an insider mortified by the behavior of his heretical peers . . . There is much to be said for the book’s irreverence. Mr. Ritholtz has written an important book about a complicated subject, and yet you could still read it at the beach. Here’s hoping that some policy makers in Washington take it with them on vacation this month." (New York Times)
"Ritholtz makes a valuable new contribution to our understanding of how we arrived at this sorry juncture. He’s smart, sassy and often amusing. If you’re looking for an all-in-one place explanation of what went wrong and why, this is the book for you (or your confused neighbor)." (Bloomberg)
"Bailout Nation’s straightforward, compelling account puts the crisis in context, explains why the US government responded so stupidly, offers solutions, and advises how to prevent a repeat. Ritholtz’s indictment of the financial and political establishment is devastatingly accurate." (Asia Times)
"Before the housing and credit bubbles popped, Barry Ritholtz, a lawyer turned blogger and money manager, was one of the voices crying in the wilderness. His caustic (and occasionally profane) blog, The Big Picture, dissected macroeconomic news and relentlessly cut through spin. His book takes a long view of the roots of the economic crisis, tracing the history of a series of ever more expensive taxpayer-funded bailouts of failed industries." (Newsweek)
"Ritholtz’s book seeks to explain how the United States, once so proud, became "a nanny state for well-paid bankers. Ritholtz may be just the right person to explain the transition to both the disillusioned amateur and the finance junkie. He doesn’t pull his punches or bury the truth in layers of finance-speak, caveats, and disclaimers. Since he began blogging seven years ago, in-the-know readers of his popular blog, The Big Picture, have turned to Ritholtz for his prescient, refreshingly honest commentary on the economy. Anyone interested in understanding the roots of our current crisis should check out the book.." (Freakonomics)
"A comprehensive crisis scrapbook compiled by the money manager behind the popular financial blog the Big Picture in a quippy, no-nonsense voice..." (New York Magazine)
"These are some of the provocative and even dangerous questions that Barry Ritholtz takes on in Bailout Nation…Above all, Bailout Nation is about the socialization of risk and the privatization of profits." (Forbes) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
—From the Foreword by Bill Fleckenstein
In Bailout Nation, Barry Ritholtz, author of the popular finance blog www.ritholtz.com/blog/, deftly mixes financial history with an insider's knowledge of modern finance to reveal how we've arrived at one of the worst economic crises ever. Engaging and informative, this book clearly shows how years of trying to control the economy with easy money has finally caught up with the United States and how the government's practice of repeatedly rescuing Wall Street—as well as other industries and organizations—has come back to bite them.
Divided into five compelling parts, this timely guide opens with a brief history of bailouts, detailing their particular patterns and unintended consequences. From here, it quickly moves on to reveal the events, individuals, and institutions that have shaped our current situation. You'll see how various government interventions—in individual companies such as Lockheed during the 1970s, in specific sectors such as banking in the early 1990s, and eventually, entire markets with the rescue of stocks in 2000—opened up a Pandora's Box. You'll also discover how the misguided philosophies of many players, from Fed Chairmen and Presidents to Senators and Treasury Secretaries, promoted the massive meltdown that has engulfed our global economy.
Ritholtz leaves no stone unturned, as he breaks down how the Federal Reserve's interest-rate targeting policies as well as a condition known as moral hazard—the belief that you won't bear the full consequences of your actions—perpetuated the reckless financial risk taking that has pushed us to the brink. Ritholtz also takes some of the biggest Wall Street firms—along with their enablers, the ratings agencies—to task. Page by page, you'll learn how the repeal of certain regulations allowed banks to merge into unruly financial behemoths, while unproven investment vehicles, including collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and credit default swaps (CDSs), wreaked havoc on both the credit and housing markets.
The United States has abandoned its capitalist roots and become a Bailout Nation. The implications of this are significant and far-reaching. If you intend on navigating today's treacherous terrain, it would be wise to understand how we got here and what you need to get ahead. Scathing, but fair, Bailout Nation puts this financial debacle in perspective—through discussions of past miscues and an exploration of solutions being proposed-and offers a voice of reason during these uncertain economic times.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Long story short: After Bill Fleckenstein's GREENSPAN'S BUBBLES: THE AGE OF IGNORANCE AT THE FEDERAL RESERVE McGraw Hill asked him to do a follow up to that book. He (wisely) said no.
However, Bill suggested they contact me.
Which the publisher did. I turned them down (several times). Who had time to write a book? Besides, I did not want to do a fast rush-to-judgment type of thing. But they were tenacious in their pursuit, and I eventually succumbed to their flattery -- but on my terms, including having final edit on the manuscript. (This becomes important later on, as you will soon see).
Because of the way events played out, I ended up writing three separate Bailout Nation books over the next 15 months. The first version was a history of bailouts. This overview covered an arc from Lockheed (1971) to Bear Stearns (March 2008). Around the time this book was due (~Labor Day 2008), something was in the air . . . you could smell the leading edge of the approaching storm. I convinced the publisher to hold off a few weeks.
Boom! Fannie Mae blew up. Then Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America. Soon Merrill was on the ropes, followed by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, GM and GE. All hell was breaking loose. Well, I thought, at least I had an ending. The expanded version of the manuscript, with greater emphasis on the latter part of 2008, was finished in December '08.
Or so I thought.
After I handed the book into the publisher (McGraw Hill), they let me know they had problems with my assessment of the Ratings Agencies.Read more ›
What makes this book different from books of other numerous authors?
* The book is written in a plain language an average person can understand
* The book is well-structured and sticks to historical events which led us into the mess
* For all government bailouts, Mr Ritholtz brings focus to their long-term effects rather than short-term ones
* Mr Ritholtz does not try to predict future or give investment advice (thank you)
* Illustrations are hilariously funny
I enjoyed every page, it is very well worth time and money.
If you are looking for a clear, concise, bias-free explanation in layman's terms of the Financial Crisis and, most importantly, the myriad events which led up to it, then you should read this book. Actually, I think that EVERYONE should read this book, because if the warnings implicit in the book are not heeded very soon, the US will find itself in a situation that will be impossible to recover from intact. Indeed, we may already be there...
I'll start with a brief chapter summary of the book (paraphrasing).
[Chpt 0] Revised Edition. Six bogus principles: 1) Efficient Market; 2) Self-interest prevents recklessness; 3) Markets can self-regulate; 4) Deregulation is always good; 5) Consumers are rational; 6) Compensation is properly aligned. These must be discarded.
Areas we must reform: Campaign finance; Derivatives; Repeal 2004 leverage exemption; Encourage shorting; Remove bank regulation from the Fed; Create a single regulator; Restore Glass-Steagall; Break up "too big to fails"; Hold senior management responsible; Regulate non-bank lenders; Allow full clawbacks; Overturn federal preemption; Educate consumers; Allow SEC whistle-blowers.
[Chpt 1] Intro: $14T mess, lots of bailouts after Lockheed.
[Chpt 2] Need for a single currency. Establishment of Fed and growth of Fed power.
[Chpt 3] (1860 - 1942) Early history of US growth. Govt funds infrastructure projects. Consumers choose winners and losers. Current market crash not as bad as Great Depression. History of home ownership programs (HOLC). Bailout versus Rescue. Timeline of New Deal programs.
[Chpt 4] (1971 - 1995) Corporate welfare is born: Lockheed! Amtrak! Chrysler! Nixon takes US off gold standard, dollar's value falls through the floor. Lesson 1: Short-term pain avoidance yields major long-term future pain. Lesson 2: The organizations that hate the free market the most are large, well-established corporations.
[Chpt 5] (1987 - 1995) Stock Market Bailouts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wise and witty, he details how former Fed chair Alan Greenspan and others duped us into believing the bubble wouldn't burst.Published 3 months ago by Nicoly
I have read many books on the 2008 financial crisis by many authors and I was looking forward to this on because the reviews were very good. Read morePublished 4 months ago by ranetides
As someone stated BR "calls people out" and pulls the curtain back on the great and powerful Oz. Read morePublished 5 months ago by PDW
Completely omits Barney Franks claim of ownership for providing easy credit that caused a good part of the crisis. Read morePublished 11 months ago by john d lofgren
Exceptionally well researched. Some clear actions that the US govt should be taking, as well as a number of other suggested actions to consider.Published 19 months ago by john h.
Very informative summary of the breakdowns that occurred in the economy leading up to the meltdown, and why huge buckets of money to failing companies was the remedy of choice. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Arcteryx
Spot on!!!! May the gods save us from the endless cupidity of the ghouls inhabiting Wall Street. And those in Washington too!Published 21 months ago by Jonathan S. Reed
A fantastic read that brings together current events with past actions. Without pointing to one 'thing' Barry brings life to the actions of the past 40 years that led America to... Read morePublished on October 21, 2013 by Mark Wise
Great background and event telling, in easy to read form. Nice deep dive in addition to reading his Big Picture blog. Ritholz is at the top of market thinkers of the last 10 yearsPublished on September 22, 2013 by Will Slabaugh