Bailout NationHow Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy
An engaging look at what led to the financial turmoil we now find ourselves in 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 culprits 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 Ritholtz operates a hugely popular blog, www.ritholtz.com/blog Scathing, but fair, Bailout Nation is a voice of reason in these uncertain economic times.
Foreword. Acknowledgments. Introduction Bailout Nation. PART I A BRIEF HISTORY OF BAILOUTS. Chapter 1 A Brief History of Bailouts. Chapter 2 The Creation of the Federal Reserve, and Its Role in Creating Our Bailout Nation. Chapter 3 Pre-Bailout Nation (1860–1942). Chapter 4 Industrial-Era Bailouts (1971–1995). Intermezzo A Pattern Emerges. PART II THE MODERN ERA OF BAILOUTS. Chapter 5 Stock Market Bailouts (1987-1995). Chapter 6 The Irrational Exuberance Era (1996-1999). Chapter 7 The Tech Wreck (2000-2003). Chapter 8 The Backwards, Rate-Driven Economy. Intermezzo A Brief History of Finance and Credit. Chapter 9 The Mad Scramble for Yield. PART III MARKET FAILURE. Chapter 10 The Machinery of Subprime. Intermezzo A Memo Found in the Street: Uncle Sam the Enabler. Chapter 11 Radical Deregulation, Nonfeasance. Chapter 12 Strange Connections, Unintended Consequences. Chapter 13 Moral Hazard: Why Bailouts Cause Future Problems. PART IV BAILOUT NATION. Chapter 14 2008: Suicide by Democracy. Chapter 15 The Fall of Bear Stearns. Chapter 16 Dot-Com Penis Envy. Chapter 17 Year of the Bailout, Part I: The Notorious AIG. Chapter 18 The Year of the Bailout, Part II: Too Big to Succeed? Intermezzo Idiots Fiddle While Rome Burns. PART V POST-BAILOUT NATION. Chapter 19 Casting Blame. Chapter 20 Misplaced Fault. Chapter 21 The Virtues of Foreclosure. Chapter 22 Casino Capitalism. Postscript Advice to a New President. Notes. Index.
“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, but while you wait by the mailbox, here are some highlights.” (Freakonomics Blog, New York Times) "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." (The Wall Street Journal) "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." (The New York Times) "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. Bailouts are always unfair. Small businesses and individuals are left to the mercies of bankruptcy courts all the time. (Forbes.com) "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, Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy (Wiley), 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.com)
Barry Ritholtz operates one of today's most popular economic blogs,www.ritholtz.com/blog/, which has received over 50 million page views since launching. He is the CEO and Director of Equity Research at FusionIQ, an online quantitative research firm. He is a frequent guest on CNBC; a regular guest on Fast Money, Kudlow & Company, and Power Lunch; and author of the popular "Apprenticed Investor" column at TheStreet.com.
"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.
Praise for Bailout Nation with New Post-Crisis Update "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." —The 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 policymakers in Washington take it with them on vacation this month." —The 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 U.S. 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. Anyone interested in understanding the roots of our current crisis should check out this book." —Freakonomics, The New York Times blog
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