An insider of both the Bush and Obama administrations offers an irrefutable indictment of the mishandling of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program bailouts and the extreme degree to which our government officials—from both parties—served the interests of Wall Street at the expense of the public.
From his first day on the job as the special inspector general in charge of overseeing the distribution of the bailout money, Neil Barofsky found that the officials at the Treasury Department in charge of the bailouts were in thrall to the interests of the big banks. In vivid behind-the-scenes detail he reveals how they steadfastly failed to hold the banks accountable even as they disregarded major job losses caused by the auto bailouts and refused to help struggling homeowners. He discloses how the team at the Treasury under Secretary Timothy Geithner worked with Wall Street executives to design programs that would have funneled vast amounts of taxpayer money to their firms and allowed them to game the markets and make huge profits with almost no risk and no accountability. Providing stark details about how—through a combination of sheer incompetence and a profound disregard of the plight of homeowners—the interests of the broader public were betrayed, he recounts how an increasingly aggressive war was waged by the Treasury against his efforts to raise the alarm about the failures.
Bailout is a riveting account of his plunge into the political meat grinder of Washington, as well as a vital revelation of just how captive to Wall Street our political system is and why the too-big-to-fail banks have only become bigger and more dangerous in the wake of the crisis.
Neil Barofsky is currently a senior fellow at New York University School of Law. From December 2008 until March 2011, he served as the special inspector general in charge of oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Before that he was a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Bailout is his first book.
©2012 Neil Barofsky (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Yes, if I wanted to understand some of the more complex issues that the author explains
When Neil decides that he is there to do his job and not worry about his future in Washington. He seemed to be one of the few there who had that kind of integrity.
No I have not.
It made me angry and it made me lose confidence in our government the way it is currently structured.
I have little understanding of the financial system in this country and at times it was hard to follow but Neil did a great job explaining the majority of it. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to keep their head out of the sand!
The inside story on the power hungry, self absorbed characters in Washington.
Barofsky tells an interesting, well organized story about his efforts to curb the extensive selfish influences on the bailout of wallstreet and the banks. To hear his side of it, he was thwarted at nearly every turn by both the banks, lobbyists, wall street, and worst of all the federal government itself. It is frustrating and enormously telling how helpless we, the tax paying, hard working, american public are to stop the overreaching power of the rich and our own government, given that this information is and has been public for some time and no one of any standing, is in jail.
It is understandable that Barofsky see's himself as a victim who did everything he could...and I am far from armed with proof that he didnt, yet I finished the book feeling like his efforts were less than heroic and that by playing within their rules he accomplised very little compared to the astronomical waste and obscene corruption woven throughout the bailout debacle.
A former Washington official's description of how difficult it is to stand up to the dysfunctional system and do what's right.
Want to know how your government really works? What forces really shape policy? Want to know why the current financial crisis is not the problem, its just a symptom of the real problem that is destroying America!
This work is an in depth account of all the forces that came together to create the housing bubble and its inevitable collapse. The Gorden Gecko character from "Wall Street" is a small time operator compared to the real sharks and thieves running our economy!
I definately will, because Neil points out the falacy within our democratic system.
I wish he would cover more on the Auto Bailout and how they terminated businesses unjustly
Barofsky shows how infinitely corrupt the politicians are. Is there still hope?
What is there to like? The politicians are ruining a remarkable social experiment. If our system survives, our children are lucky.
This was a very open and honest story about how our government caters to big business, in this case banks, and the rest of us are just a vehicle for them to do so. At the end of the day our wallets and purses are all our elected officials care about; not our needs and protection. The Constitution states that the purpose for the federal government is to protect the people. This book makes it abundantly clear that is a meaningless charge when it comes to the latest group of "for sale" administrations. Bush setup TARP and Obama ran it. And both Administrations lied to the public when it came to how the funds would be used to pass it, and all of them made sure the Banks (and Wall Street) were protected in the mortgage bailout, while we picked up the tab and did not get anything for our money!!
This book was written by someone that knows where all the bodies are buried and whose job it was to police these bailouts. He was our advocate in Washington by Congressional mandate and he was ignored and considered an obstacle by the crooks in the Treasury department. It is those appointees, who should be in jail for fraud along with the bankers that ripped off everyone, but instead they were given a free pass and bonuses by their Wall Street pals in the Treasury Department with taxpayer bailout funds!! And it should come as no surprise that they are positioning us for another round of rip-offs as I write this review, but no one seems to notice or care. The occupy Wall Street crowd was not wrong, just too unfocused. In the end, this book proves that we as Americans have a serious problem with our system and elected officials. They only care about money and power, and those of you loyal to a political party are just their pawns in a much bigger game where you are the cannon fodder. Believing in any politician is like believing in the Easter bunny because they all have their hand out and this book helps to prove that assertion.
This is a very important book and folks should spend the credit, listen to it, and start voting out these folks. It is clear the writer does not have a political axe to grind because he blames both parties for the endless stream of Wall Street insiders appointed to the Treasury department. IT is very clear that the Treasury Department puts Wall Street first, even when they commit fraud – while the rest of us go to jail for the same crimes they commit daily……
GET THIS BOOK. INVESTIGATE THE WRITER. HE IS THE REAL DEAL.
The author provides an interesting insider's view of the workings of the Treasury in the months and early years after the financial collapse. This is a surprisingly interesting story that reveals how tightly coupled the Treasury is to Wallstreet. The revolving door ensures that the priority of the Treasury following the crises was to prop up the WallStreet and the Banks. Programs that were intended to help homeowners caught up in the crises were implemented by Treasury in such a way that they had a completely different purpose. Rather than restructuring mortgages to benefit the distressed homeowner the plan intention was to spread out the foreclosures in time such that the banks would have the capacity to process them. The goal was to maximize the return to banks and mortgage processing companies rather than to help the homeowners. This is but one example from the book.
My take away from the book was that the Treasury has been thoroughly captured by the Banks and Wallstreet and no longer works in the interest of most of the tax payers.
Just like you, I spend my money here and am not on any author's payroll :)
The difference between this title and others in the economics/"Great Recession" category is that it comes from from someone who was inside the US government in a high-level position at the time of the TARP bailouts. This gives listeners a different and severely troubling perspective than one would receive from those outside of the government sphere (such as economists, academics, Wall Streeters, TV political talk show hosts, etc.).
With that - this is a MUST listen, and I found Mr. Barofsky's narrative very troubling with respect to our nation, government, and the political circus that we (the American people) have let Washington DC become. Whether it can be 'fixed' (and always ask the question 'fixed - for whom?') remains to be seen, but from what I gleaned from this excellent title, don't hold your breath waiting for miracles from the US government.
Kudos to Mr. Barofsky for the candid bearing of the 'soul' of the US government as it deals with severe economic crisis....and pray for our nation, as it sure needs it.
BA English MA Political Science Political Independent Intellectually curious Critical reader
This is probably a one off for Mr. Barofsky. I doubt he will be in a position of power like this with an interesting story to tell any time soon.
Tim Geithner. You gotta love a guy that is a tool of the machine and is unyielding in that duty.
This book gives really interesting insight into the financial crisis with details and explanations that are completely missed by many of the other books available on the topic. Mr. Barofsky is obviously a nobody sent to D.C. to do a thankless job. His perspective of the mortgage crisis is important because he looks at what was happening on the ground floor with a lot more detail. Most other books detail the CDOs, CDS, and securitization issues, but Mr. Barofsky spends a significant amount of time on the point of contact between the public and the mortgage dealer.
The reviews pan Mr. Barofsky as a hyperbolic bean counter attempting to go whistle blower in an attempt to minimize his profile and story. The problem is that his story and experience ring true for anyone who has been personally involved with a mortgage issue in the last five years.
TARP was a give away to the banks. Our financial regulatory policies are being dictated to our Congress by those who are being regulated. The status quo in Washington is a hinderance to the nation's future growth.
All of this is true...but the only way it can change is through a duly elected official who has a constituency that supports them, not a presidential appointment that can be quickly and quietly replaced via Friday afternoon press release.
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