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Bailout Nation Audible – Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews

A riveting indictment of those responsible for our current financial mess

Bailout Nation offers one of the clearest looks at the financial lenders, regulators, and politicians responsible for the financial crisis of 2008. Written by Barry Ritholtz, one of today's most popular economic bloggers and a well-established industry pundit, this book skillfully explores how the United States evolved from a rugged independent nation to a soft Bailout Nation - where financial firms are allowed to self-regulate in good times, but are bailed out by taxpayers in bad times.

Entertaining and informative, this book clearly shows you how years of trying to control the economy with easy money has finally caught up with the federal government and how its practice of repeatedly rescuing Wall Street has come back to bite them.

  • The definitive book on the financial crisis of 2008
  • Names the villains responsible for this tragedy-from financial regulators to politicians
  • Shows how each bailout throughout modern history has impacted what happened in the future
  • Examines why the consumer/taxpayer is left suffering in an economy of bubbles, bailouts, and possible inflation

    Scathing, but fair, Bailout Nation is a voice of reason in these uncertain economic times.

  • ©2009 Barry Ritholtz; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    311 of 330 people found the following review helpful By Barry Ritholtz on May 22, 2009
    Format: Hardcover
    Amazon Review

    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.
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    53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Alex Zhilyakov on June 8, 2009
    Format: Hardcover
    Mr Ritholtz does an excellent job drawing a trendline from the first bailout in 70's to the latest bailouts of 2009. He illustrates how our own government cheer-led us into the Next Great Depression.

    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.
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    32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By R. Bohrer on June 7, 2009
    Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
    It has been said that 'if you can't explain something in simple terms that anyone can understand, you don't understand it well enough yourself.' From the standpoint of that axiom, it is clear that Barry Ritholtz understands well the causes of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. In plain terms, Ritholtz explains not only what directly led to the Crisis, but the events of the last 30 years which laid the groundwork of moral hazard which allowed the Crisis to occur as it did. Indeed, the events of the last two years were the result of a confluence of things gone wrong, and all sides of the political aisle are culpable, which Ritholtz makes clear in Bailout Nation.

    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...
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    25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By George Roman on November 8, 2010
    Format: Paperback
    I'm a long-time reader (addict?) of The Big Picture and bought this book when it first came out. Unfortunately (time constraints being what they are) I only had a chance to read it this summer and time to review it now.

    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.
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