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Fate of the States: The New Geography of American Prosperity Kindle Edition

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Length: 273 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Meredith Whitney is the founder and CEO of the investment firm Meredith Whitney Advisory Group, LLC. She has been mentioned on Fortune's list of the fifty most powerful women in business for four consecutive years, and in 2009 appeared on Time's list of the one hundred most influential people in the world.

Jo Anna Perrin is an accomplished actor who has appeared in film and television, as well as on stage in New York, Los Angeles, and regionally.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2612 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (June 4, 2013)
  • Publication Date: June 4, 2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,412 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 66 people found the following review helpful By George Bush HALL OF FAME on June 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Whitney o9pens by telling us that she never looks at any one data point or an event in a vacuum, rather at a series of data points from myriad sources to tell the story of what is to come. Whitney looks first at consumer spending because it accounts for 70% of GDP and drives returns on most every asset classification and sector.

Early in her career she focused on subprime consumer lenders. Their prosperity and survival hinged on their access to cheap credit. One way of doing that was through securitization - bundling the loans they made into mortgage-backed or asset-backed securities. Sometimes, however, their access to the market faded, such as in the late 1990s right after the 1998 Russian credit crisis. Ten years later, New York-based financial giants were also into subprime. Many of those loans were bad, and in late 2007 investors pulled out of the securitization of their products. Lenders started falling like dominoes. Many banks didn't realize how much trouble they were in - residential real estate had been considered safe for decades. By 2009 the industry had lost over $600 billion in write downs, including about $60 billion at Citibank (Whitney correctly predicted Citibank's problems.) Five years later, over $7 trillion has come out of the lending system and over 30% of Americans have little or no access to credit.

Some regions were hit far worse than others - California, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida were hit the hardest by declining home values and negative equity. Worse yet, those states tended to also bet on rising home values, increasing spending (+72% in California, 98% in Texas, 114% in Nevada) - especially for municipal employees and teachers. (D.C.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Victor R. Crane on August 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a easy read, until you start finding out just how out of shape our nation's
city's, counties, and states are. As I keep reading it I;m finding out how it happened
and where this poor financial management has happened across our nation. Great reading but don't try to go to sleep after reading it, you won't be able to! Very good information and Ms. Whitney shows us how it happened and what our states need to do to fix these problems.

Thank you Meredith Whitney for an excellent guide book into the mismanagement of our nations finances.
Victor Crane
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Samuel J. Sharp on August 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In "Fate of the States" Meredith Whitney argues that reckless state fiscal policy has destroyed the economies of America's Sun Belt and Coastal states, while more cautious state spending and pro-business policy in Central Corridor states have created robust economic growth. "This book addresses the boom and bust reshaping America, how they happened, and what can be done to narrow the gap between America's new have and have-not states." For Whitney, enemy number one is overspending on generous public-employee pensions. These massive liabilities have forced states to increase taxes and cut spending in more valuable areas such as education and job training. This has created a "negative feedback loop from hell" in which residents flee states where taxes are rising but paying for fewer and fewer services.

Whitney recommends that states in fiscal straits reduce pension benefits, either by increasing contributions or cutting benefits, reduce property, individual income, and corporate taxes, maintain or increase spending on education and job training, encourage oil and gas production, pass right-to-work legislation, and privatize state assets to close immediate budget shortfalls. The policy prescriptions are not very detailed and are supported more by anecdote than by data.

"Fate of the States" is a good outline of state fiscal policy but hardly a definitive work on the subject. The book is very short. Even with large type and generous line spacing it just barely passes 200 pages. The writing is casual and can be unnecessarily repetitive, such as when Whitney tells us multiple times on the same page that Indiana's toll-road lease netted $4B. Readers may have to wait until the dust settles on Detroit's bankruptcy for a more detailed and authoritative look at the fiscal crises plaguing America's state and local governments.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Weber on June 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is a brilliant investigation into the perilous finances and reckless and/or misguided policy, taxation, and budgeting decisions that make so many of our United States prime candidates for economic meltdown. Although a novice on the subject, I found Whitney's prose style lucid and accessible--mercifully free of jargon and obscurantist verbiage--and her arguments equal parts compelling and chilling. I hope all members of our state (and federal) governments read Whitney's study, and heed her wisdom.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think the author did a great job bringing to light the reasons why some states are going to have a harder time than others moving forward from the 'Great Recession.' She argues that during the housing bubble, states that experienced the greatest growth also were the hardest hit when the bubble burst. The states that didn't experience the same dramatic rise and fall came out okay, and jobs are going to migrate toward the center of the country because those states aren't loaded up with debt.

My only complaints about the book are that she explains her premise right at the beginning and the rest of the book doesn't introduce any new ideas, just statistics to back up her argument. I could have put down the book after page three and gotten just as much out of it as I did reading the whole thing.

Also she talks a lot about certain states but not others. When she talked about mismanaged states she almost always was talking about California. When she was talking about well positioned states she almost always mentioned North Dakota or Texas. Most other states (including my home state of Nebraska) were only mentioned in passing, if at all. I'd would have like to have seen her examples be a little more varied, and not just talk about the same three states all the time. Since this is a national issue.

My suggestion - buy the book used. Don't spend $29 buying it new at Barnes & Noble. 3 out of 5 stars. It was good, not great.
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