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.
Scathing, but fair, Bailout Nation is a voice of reason in these uncertain economic times.
©2009 Barry Ritholtz; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
I liked the content, but I'm not a financial expert either, so it's hard to be critical. However, the quality of the audio is substandard. Two chapters are repeated and you need to fast forward through them when you realize it. Then, the sound level of another couple chapters is noticeably lower than the rest, requiring you to turn up the volume for a period. I used quality 4; not sure it is applies to all downloads.
I have read probably 20 "great recession" books, and this is one of the better ones, though it came out in 2009 or so. It is well-told, well-edited, easy to listen to. This is a critique of the evolution of our economy and particularly the financial services sector from a smaller number of risk-taking owner-managers to today's sort of diffuse, ad hoc-governed, crony insurance system. (This is embodied perfectly in the odyssey of Robert Rubin from Goldman Sachs to the US Treasury to Citi; and of course the purportedly anti-government but utterly ham-handed governmental interventions of Mr Greenspan.) Democrats and Republicans both come in for a skewering. The book follows the gradual multi-decade drift of businesses and other institutions (like the Fed, Congress and the Presidency) into ever-more interlinked circles of privileged influence, into such a configuration that, in 2008, the Fed wound up jumping to wakefulness and leaping in awkwardly to "catch falling knives" being the finances of various mismanaged institutions (that were well-enough connected to the Fed).
The wisdom of hindsight is of course always nice, and I still await some working plan in our ultra-complex world economy to replace the mess that happened here (with a skeptical eye on 2010's Dodd-Frank). Maybe this author can give us a sequel? The US does seem bad, until anybody scrutinizes a lot of other systems. The whole thing still seems marbled through with incredibly misallocated resources and risk. The picture painted as of 2009 is still very instructive, and gets us ready to try to understand whatever is next. The captains of government seem only marginally more competent now than they were in that benighted era (not good enough!), and a lot of flaws pointed out in this book are very much with us.
Someone reminded me the other day that what our country needs is a “National Crises” in order to do an about-face and get its priorities in order again. I thought to myself “$16 trillion of national debt… and rapidly growing!!!”, should be crises enough!
Bailout Nation is an excellent audio book that points out many of the topics and issues that got us into this mess in the first place. I'm not one to “point the finger of blame”, but sometimes we have to realize the situation that we're in.
Unless we get our financial house in order, over the next 10 to 20 years, things don't look so great for our great country.
Bailout Nation is a book that will remind us of the greatness that we once had, and the greatness that we can still hang on to and build upon for our future generations..
My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.
If we get rid of regulatory laws we are doomed to repeat this mess of 2008 again, again and again as we have just about every 20 years since the great depression. These are high priced crooks handling the fate of the world's economy. What the hell are we doing??? This book spells it out folks and if we're so stupid as to believe deregulation is the way to go, we are doomed to become a blip in the timeline of history.
A Fascinating Listen but somewhat flawed. 2 comments
1. If Amazonized Audible insists on competing with its suppliers, it needs to hire some editors. Turgid, repetitive and the epilog worthless.
2. Barry ignores the machinery (back office) which makes the whole monetaryand financial system work
a. How is the Fed funds target rate translate into the interest rate structure. The money market?
b. What exactly do the 19 primary dealers do?
c. The Treasury uses two monster banks to handle its money. JPMChase and BoNY Mellon. How do they work? Political implications?
d. There are some 9K subscribers to the FedWire system. Who are they? Why?
e. What about repos and reverse repos?
f. The role of the DTCC and its nephew, FICC?
All of my questions underpin the system. Why is it ignored by all financial writers?
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