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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 books to make sense of financial crisis of 2009" (USA Today)
"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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
"Do you find yourself wondering: How did we get here? How did the United States of America get into such a predicament whereby in one year, 2008, the financial system nearly vaporized, the stock market crashed, real estate tanked, and major corporations were being bailed out. . . .How did our great country, a bastion of capitalism, devolve into a Bailout Nation where the gains were privatized, but the losses were socialized?"
—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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
-great american stickup
-all the devils are here
The author indirectly shows that the same academics,economists,senators,congressman and politicians who supported the massive concentration of the commercial banking industry through 35 years of mergers,acquisitions and takeovers ,are also the supporters of the current " to big to fail" bailout line used by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama .
There are a few places where the author could have stengthened his argument.First,he needed to duscuss the earlier work of Adam Smith,J M Keynes and Benoit Mandelbrot .All three of these thinkers clearly identified what the result would be if banks are allowed to make loans to speculators seeking to engage in debt leverage.
The author needed to spend more than the two pages (pp.258-259) he spent on the close connections between Wall Street speculator firms(see above),the heads of Fannie Mae (James "Jim " Johnson,Franklin D Raines,Daniel Mudd),and the head of CountryWide,Angelo Mozilo.Fannie Mae was essentially controlled by Mozilo and Wall Street.Bill Clinton,George W.Bush,Barney Frank,Chris Dodd and NY Senator Schumer essentially were paid off with millions in campaign contributions/donations by Wall Street in return for eliminating whatever regulatory apparatus was in place.
The problem is not low interest rates and easy money per se.The problem is the private banking industry's refusal to abide by and enforce their own basic creditworthiness standards.The really important question is ," Who gets the loans ?" Is it the Smithian projectors,imprudent risk takers and prodigals and/or Keynesian rentiers and speculators ? Or is it the Smithian sober people (small businessmen)? It makes a huge difference overall.
I recommend that this book be purchased.
Ritholtz is also very non ideological, blasting to pieces anyone, regardless of party, position, prestige who he feels responsible for our crisis, and even takes time to make a list of people/things he feels have been WRONGLY accused of contributing to the crisis. Besides the balance, the points he makes are just common sense and non ideological, its so wonderful to see such a work. He will point out justified and successful government programs, such as a new deal housing program, and how it's NOT a bailout, but of course blast other poorly done gov programs and bailouts.
I'm done waxing lyrical about how detailed, well written and un biased the book is, onto the actual content. As you can deduce Ritholtz makes the claim we are now a bailout nation, but it goes back farther than most of us think. He starts in 1971 when we bailed out an individual company, Lockheed Martin, and from this point on its a downward spiral. Each bailout has been bigger, and more expensive, and of course creates more moral hazard and has finally reached crony capitalism (or as he also says Casino Capitalism). Firms are not just being bailed out, but banks can now basically gamble big and we all end up covering the cost. I didn't like the bailouts, but like many saw them as a necessary evil, this book changed my mind. Only problem is I fear we're too far down the road to stop it now.
He also blasts the policies of Alan Greenspan (in fact he's numero uno on the list of responsible people) and goes into great detail about how his policies created our bubble economy, and his guiding, (he was the "masetro" after all) led to all types of negative impacts. I'll leave the details to the book of cours.e
He does not want some radically small government, ending the fed and cut throat markets running wild, he speaks quite ill of the de regulation craze, simply he wants a government that will allow irresponsible/failing companies to fail. A Fed that doesn't tinker so much and cause bubbles, sensible gov policy. All ideas that shouldn't be radical to any of us, but most of the "experts" and politicians clearly are clueless.
Highly recommend this book.