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Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 6, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 6, 2009
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Editorial Reviews


“An entertaining exposure . . . In a series of 11 profiles on leftist icons from Noam Chomsky and Al Franken to Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy, Schweizer reveals that the most vocal liberals do not practice what they preach.” (Weekly Standard )

Praise for DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO:“A spirited attack on lefty icons.” (New York Times )

From the Back Cover

Was the financial collapsecaused by free-market capitalismand deregulation run amok,as liberals claim?

Not on your life, says Peter Schweizer. In Architects of Ruin, Schweizer describes how a coalition of left-wing activists, liberal politicians, and “do-good capitalists” on Wall Street leveraged government power to achieve their goal of broadening homeownership among minorities and the poor. The results were not only devastating to the economy, but hurt the very people they were supposedly trying to help.

This tale of liberal “Robin Hood capitalism run wild” has never beentold. But more than just a story about the past, Architects of Ruin is also an urgent warning about the future. The very same people who planted the seeds of the collapse are back in Washington, determined to use the crisis they caused as cover for a massive overhaul of the American economic system. These people have learned nothing from their past mistakes and are busy applying the same methods to other sectors of the economy—health care, the auto industry, real estate (again!), and above all the promotion of“green” technologies—inflating bubbles that are sure to bring about another crisis. Ordinary Americans who foot the bill for the last state-capitalist bubble have reason to be afraid—very afraid—of the inevitable result.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061953342
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,007,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Unlike a few of the critical readers, I actually read the book before giving this review. This is a very thorough book that carefully documents the major developments that led up to the financial melt-down of late 2007 including the CRA, the governmental pressure to make home loans to lower-income citizens who could only marginally afford them, the resultant buy-back by the federal government of most of those loans so that banks were relieved of risk in making them, the not-surprising greed of the mortgage industry in promoting these loans, the virtual take-over of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by community activists, the establishment of an implied federal backing of this risk, and the resultant bubble that has burdened the tax-payers with more debt in less time than ever in our history.

Note that the positive reviews state points made in the book, all of which are carefully footnoted so can be fact-checked. The negative reviews typically say that the book is weak because it is in conflict with some well-known perceived fact. Those "facts" turn out to be the media consensus that is usually not based upon certifiable facts but on some anonymous statement or an editorial opinion.

Both supporters and critics point out that the tone can be overly strident. Whether or not this might have been more persuasive to unbiased readers is questionable but it would make for a better read.

Those readers who have already made up their minds that the melt-down was the responsibility of an unfettered capitalistic system will quickly dismiss the facts presented. Those readers who had generally concluded that the main contributor was the CRA combined with activist's pressure and capitalist's greed will now have facts and dates to flesh out their suspicions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Architects of Ruin
by Peter Schweizer

By 2007 up to 4.2 Trillion dollars of sub prime loans had been made. "By 2005, almost 33 percent of the new mortgages were interest-only and 32 percent of new home buyers put no money down "(Schweizer, 2009 ).

Peter Schweizer's book: Architects of Ruin explains how these dire credit conditions and the resultant economic calamity happened.

Schweizer asks and answers this question: "Why has this story been missed? It isn't all that hard to understand. First of course, the operations of quasi-governmental agencies such as Fannie Mae and Fredddie Mac are shrouded in layers of bureaucratic tedium. Few reporters take the time to actually dig into their inner workings. Besides, they are governed by congressional committees, so people naturally assume that some responsible is paying attention."

Schweizer details how activist organizations developed tactics to challenge redlining. This was begun by Jesse Jackson's PUSH and Gale Cincotta of NPA and Acorn.

"In 1976 Cincotta began pushing for something she called the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Again , the idea sounded simple enough: declair that banks have "an afffirmative obligation: to lend to people in their own neighborhoods, and make their record of doing so part of the approval process for mergers, acquisitions, or expansion. In short , make it the law that banks needed to lend in areas they had traditionally avoided out of fear that they were poor credit risks." Page 16.

Reagan and Bush I
"For more than fifteen years, fair housing activists had been using the Community Reinvestment Act to compel banks to make increasingly risky loans.
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Format: Hardcover
Schweizer has done what few other analysts of the late 2008 financial meltdown have been able, or even willing to do, and that's write a comprehensive and comprehensible narrative of the origins of the crisis. Many analysts of a free market bent will throw off broadsides at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Community Reinvestment Act and leave it at that, assuming that, having taken shots at these obvious governmental meddlers, the total picture simply paints itself. Well, it doesn't, and that's where Schweizer excels. Schweizer starts at the beginning and, chapter by chapter, walks you forward into the teeth of the meltdown. A true tour de force.

Three points of interest:

1) Schweizer opened my eyes to the neat trick pulled by President Clinton - while declaring the Era of Big Government to be Over, he was concurrently manipulating financial institutions to pick up the wealth redistribution slack, almost wholly under the public radar. Brilliant. Devious. Destructive.

2) I believe Schweizer goes too easy on the Bush administration. While they made efforts to address the worst of the Clinton abuses, they did encourage the same sort of "universal home ownership" mentality as the Clinton cabal. Chalk up their efforts to promote ownership as misguided and their efforts to reign in the worst of the abuses as lacking in sufficient urgency (rather than neglect) - they still failed to head off the financial collapse.

3) Schweizer altered my perspective on the wage controls that were imposed on the executives of the financial institutions that received bailouts. Those wailing about the assault on the free market are, for the time being, off-base.
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