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Paying the Price: Ending the Great Recession and Beginning a New American Century Hardcover – September 21, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


As seen on CNBC "Squawk Box," and "Tavis Smiley Late Night on PBS."

From the Back Cover

“This is a must-read for anyone seeking an honest assessment of the government’s role in responding to the Great Recession. Mark Zandi’s clear and easy-to-understand analysis reaffirms my belief that the totality of the government’s response avoided a disaster and paved the way for a recovery.”

--SENATOR KENT CONRAD, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee


“When Mark Zandi talks, people listen. This fine book evaluates the policy responses to the financial crisis and the Great Recession in his usual authoritative and objective manner--a rare combination. You should read it.”

--ALAN S. BLINDER, Economics Professor, Princeton University, and former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve


“One of our most insightful economists examines the extraordinary actions the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and other authorities took to cope with the economic catastrophe that followed the financial crash of 2008. A readable, balanced account of what they did, why they did it, and how well it worked out--so far.”

--ALICE M. RIVLIN, the Brookings Institution, former Director of OMB and Vice Chair of the Fed


“I don’t agree with everything Mark Zandi has to say, but he gives readers a close-to-the-administration analysis of the economic problems and policies of the past five years. He writes clearly with the expertise of an economist who was close to the policy process but with the detachment of an informed outsider.”

--MARTIN FELDSTEIN, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, and President Emeritus, National Bureau of Economic Research


Pessimists say the U.S. economy is collapsing. The truth is American businesses are as competitive as they’ve been in 50 years.


Pessimists say that debt will strangle U.S. banks and consumers for years to come. The truth is we’ve already made more progress than you think.


Zandi has advised top policymakers, both Republicans and Democrats: In this book, he focuses on policy and evidence, not ideology. Look past the political squabbling, and the news is refreshing and positive--and Zandi’s evidence is compelling.


These days, good news is the most shocking news of all. But if you can handle the truth about the U.S. economy, read this book.


Four years ago, the U.S. financial system suffered catastrophic damage, and the global economy was near collapse. Today, although many Americans are still shell-shocked and much remains to be fixed, progress has been substantial. The economy is growing and creating jobs. House prices are stable. Stock prices are up. Debt burdens are down. The financial system is stronger. Best of all, American companies are in top shape and ready to compete with the world.


How did all this happen? According to widely quoted economist Mark Zandi, who has advised Republicans, Democrats, and top companies worldwide, government policy deserves much of the credit. The unprecedented official response to the crisis--from bailouts and fiscal stimulus to the Fed’s zero interest rates--remains intensely controversial. But it succeeded, Zandi argues, preventing a far worse economic catastrophe. Moreover, while the economy still faces serious challenges--including mounting government debt and dangerously high unemployment--there are good reasons to be optimistic. Indeed, the U.S. economic future has arguably never been brighter.


  • Don’t bet against the United States-- especially now
    Why U.S. competitiveness is skyrocketing
  • The bailouts worked (and here’s the proof)
    Why stimulus isn’t a dirty word
  • Fixing the financial infrastructure
    Beyond Dodd-Frank: how to make the banks work for us
  • What we need to do now
    T he serious--but fixable--problems that remain

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (September 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137047983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137047987
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Loyd Eskildson HALL OF FAME on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Zandi contends that the financial carnage following the housing bubble displaced over 10 million households, that those who reached working age then struggled to find jobs and were often paid less than their predecessors, some 100 million credit cards were cut-up during the Great Recession, government efforts to save the economy cost $1.8 trillion, and that government efforts were successful at preventing calamity. The bulk of 'Paying the Price' is taken up with an objective recounting of those efforts.

However, he also admits that nearly 5 million fewer Americans have jobs than prior to the recession, and that this recovery has been the weakest of any since WWII. His recommendations - more education and immigration reform, unfortunately don't square with reality - a surplus of college-educated vs. jobs requiring such, some 7-8 million jobs outsourced to Asia and Mexico, 12 million illegals within the U.S., and another 1-2 million mostly computer programmers and health care workers here via H1-B and similar visas.

Overall, Zandi adds nothing new to what already has been written by others.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mark Zandi is not your usual economist. He is the founder of the best macroeconomics modeling and consulting business (Moody's Analytics). He is able to simulate the behavior of the overall economy as well as anyone else. Zandi has contributed to the formulating and testing of many of the Government policies undertaken during this recent financial crisis. He has sat across the table from many key policymakers. Given his unique background Zandi gives us an insider look at the recent financial crisis and its aftermath.

In summary, Zandi indicates that the US went through a historically wrenching economic shock. And, if not for a very successful combination of expansive fiscal and monetary policies the Great Recession would have turned into the Great Depression II. Also, he indicates that currently the US is rebuilding a very strong economic foundation. The severe deleveraging has nearly run its course. American companies are as financially strong and competitive as ever. Commercial banks are now very well capitalized.

The Great Recession was a historical event given its magnitude and worldwide impact. As Zandi outlines on page 151, financial losses related to the housing and financial crisis totaled $2.6 trillion in the US alone. Half that amount was suffered by banks. And, half of those overall losses were caused by drop in homes values related to defaults on residential mortgages. But, the financial system also incurred huge losses in consumer credit, commercial real estate, and corporate credits. Those accounted for the other half of the $2.6 trillion in losses.

By the Fall of 2008, the housing market was cratering and taking down the financial system and the economy.

Zandi mentions that at first Government policy responses were poor.
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"This is a must-read for anyone seeking an honest assessment of the government's role in responding to the Great Recession. Mark Zandi's clear analysis... the government's response avoided a disaster and paved the way for a recovery." --Sen. Kent Conrad

Almost five years elapsed since the financial melt down which inflicted catastrophic damage; crashing house and stock prices; with double-digit unemployment, and inflating federal budget deficits in the trillions. Congress swift reaction in bank bailouts, fiscal stimulus, and auto restructure remain controversial, but ultimately they will be judged a success.

In his quantitative analysis of the status of Economic recovery, Zandi is supported by recent D-J financial indicator, and unemployment rate slowly rebounding. His analysis has statistical and factual support, but does not prescribe scenarios of how to pay the Price? What about the serious problems of mounting deficit, and towering cost of national entitlements?

But while there remains much to be frustrated about, it is impressive how much progress has been made in correcting the causes that got America into this mess. The economy is growing and steadily creating jobs, @ 7.7% today; house prices are stable and stock prices are up; debt burdens have eased for most households and the financial system has recovered.

Serious problems need right solutions, including the government's mounting debt load and millions of unemployed workers, while Dow Jones is skyhigh. Mark Zandi is a trusted American economist born in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a regional economist at Chase Econometrics. He co-founded Moody's Economy.com, of Moody's Analytics, a well trusted source of economic analysis.
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Mark Zandi is an extreme advocate of government central planning and interventionalist policies, and anyone that is saying he is objective or unbiased hasn't read his book. He has been advocating massive government spending (both under Democrats and Republicans) for so long that "Zandinomics" was coined long ago to describe an extreme version of Keynesian economics that relies fully on the sort of models that his company makes to predict the future. He feels that his company's models have the entire economy mapped out, and all it takes is expert bureaucrats to manage the economy for us from DC and NYC. This book is both a solid history lesson about the financial crisis and a piece of propaganda advocating central planning by politicians and their chosen companies. Once you acknowledge his agenda and perspective though, this book is an excellent historical account of what happened to our financial system over the last couple of decades. If you can ignore the bias and propaganda, the insider details and explanation he provides is excellent.

"Paying the Price" gives a clear account of what happened, that is detailed and accurate historically. I don't disagree with his historical facts, I disagree with his constant assertian that the way it was handled was the only solution, and more Dodd-Frank like meddling is the solution for the future. As long as you can shield yourself from following his assertions that TARP, Quantitative Easing, and other Fed and Treasury programs were the only way to stem the collapse, there is certainly a lot to be learned from this book.

Almost every single page contains an unfounded and unreferenced assertion that one government intervention or another had prevented some unspeakable calamity.
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