Bailout

An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street
Narrated by: Joe Barrett
Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (261 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

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  • 11-12-13

Barofsky's Bio of the time he was a TARP Watchdog

This book is a great story if you know absolutely nothing about how Washington works. Barofsky takes the reader from the beginning where he was just a lawyer from the south district of NY investigating & prosecuting fraud and drug crimes. His boss who passed him up for one promotion was now recommending him for a job in Washington as an insider. Barofsky's entire perspective is the journey of a man who becomes a Washington insider by taking a job he never expected to get in a town and political climate he never fancied.

Chapter 1-2 are about how he came to be confirmed as an inspector general. He gives great anecdotes and quotes from people he came into contact with or people he worked with or from his own family members to paint a picture.

I'm currently on Chapter 3 where he now has the job, he recruited a talented buddy of his to be his partner although only one of them would get the risk and reward for any of their work done. He describes his office, his interaction with Henry "Hank" Paulson. How wet behind the ears he was in Washington even being naive at times. It's a great account for anyone taking a job in Washington where they're having to start an entire dept/operation (well funded operation) in Washington from the ground up. Human mistakes will be made.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonder why the banks won and homeowners lost?

Would you consider the audio edition of Bailout to be better than the print version?

If you've ever pondered that question, this book will give you the answer. The subtitle delivers on its promise though there is a lot of political infighting detail that's probably only interesting to those who deal in that world.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

A little too much irony in his voice

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me furious, and all the more appalled at the blinder-wearing WonderBoy and defender of concentrated wealth, Mr. Timothy Geitner. Few people could have served the oligarchy of self-interested bankers looking to screw ordinary citizens better than he did.

1 person found this helpful

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Must Read on Wall Street and TARP

I've read most of the books on the mortgage swindles. This is the best, most interesting and names names. Barofsky is my new hero. He also is self deprecating, humorous and gives credit where due. The snakes in Washington do not compare to the drug runners in Columbia he prosecuted.

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An insider's account of the Wall Street bailout

Would you consider the audio edition of Bailout to be better than the print version?

no. This book is great. It doesn't matter what form the book is in.

What other book might you compare Bailout to and why?

I've read somewhere around 6 books on the bailout and none of them have the level of detail, inside knowledge and political insight as this book. I had always suspected that Treasury was the reason that we have no real homeowner assistance with mortgage reassessments or payment decreases or equity adjustments. Now we have proof. This book ties together verifiable data and press releases with insider information to complete the puzzle of why we still don't have a true recovery and why we still have "too big to fail" and "too big to sue".

Well written, well narrated, tight, condensed but leaving nothing out.

An Excellent book and Audible title.

Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

n/a

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would not want to listen to this book in one sitting. To walk away with such damning information of my government's collusion with Wall Street is depressing enough over the course of a week. To find all this out in one day would be too much for one person to handle.

1 person found this helpful

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Barofsky Goes to Washington

Barofsky tells the story of how he was the US prosecutor working on major drug cases out of Columbia but became the top cop put in charge of policing the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Unlike many other books about the debt crisis and the bailout this one tells the personal story of one of the inside players. The story format makes the book a much more enjoyable read than the traditional here are the facts with some questionable conclusions style.

The theme of the book is how the Washington culture is toxic with everyone serving only their own interests. Of course Barofsky paints himself as the hero who will not be corrupted by the pressure to conform in his role as the Inspector General of the TARP. He describes how the circumstances and actions of the people at the Treasury Department hindered his ability to have much of any effect at all on how the program was implemented and how the money was used. He blames most of the problems of the TARP on the people at the Treasury Department and claims most of the failures would not have happened if only they had heeded his advice such as to require strict income verification for trial mortgage modifications. He depicts Timothy Geithner as a stubborn and angry bureaucrat who does not listen to reason.

The revelation of the book is that despite the justification of TARP to help the average American underwater in their mortgage and to be a strategic strengthening of the balance sheets of sound and secure companies it was in fact always intended by the Treasury Department to be just an instant cash infusion into companies at the brink of collapse with no string attached. This is what Barofsky says is the real reason why the Treasury stifled transparency and made the job of Inspector General practically a joke. There???s nothing really shocking in this book except perhaps the confrontation between Barofsky and Geithner near the end. This book is clearly Barofsky???s attempt to vindicate himself for the failure of the TARP, but it does make for interesting reading, not only because it???s a story about the bailout but because it???s a story about what???s wrong with Washington and why it???s so hard to change.

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Every American Should Read This

If you are an American, you need to read this. It will truly frighten you to learn just how much the government was working AGAINST you when the financial markets got in trouble... UNLESS you're the CEO of a big bank, and then the government is actually YOUR BEST FRIEND! It truly amazes me how the big banks can break laws, make risky bets, and walk all over the average citizen, and yet our government REWARDS them for it!! This is stuff that would send any "average" citizen to jail, and it's getting the big banks (and their CEOs) REWARDED. Yes, a few trillion in free money, for doing nothing, is a reward.

Before reading this book, I knew it was bad, but WOW!! It is much worse than I thought. Bravo to Barofsky for having the balls to write this.

It is non-political, fair, and fact-filled. What's really impressive is how the author took a subject that is boring, and over most people's heads, and made it exciting and easy to comprehend. You don't need an MBA to enjoy this book... even though what our government did to us should make you sick.

Narrator is great.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent, detailed and enlightening

This is not a play for attention from a disgruntled government employee. Neil’s accounting of Tarp programs display deft knowledge of financial institutions, and the assumptions that led to the 2008 crisis. The story is also told with a very readable narrative. Conversations with Barney Frank, Tim Geithner, Grassley, and other key figures pull back the curtains on the Obama admin’s greatest failure, but this book doesn’t “bash” anyone... except maybe Geithner. I’m a Democrat, and I enjoyed it.

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Not what I expected.

I struggled listening through to the end. Book Was more focused on the author’s role which was of no particular interest to me. But a good summary of the underlying politics.

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A truly insider story of dysfunctional government

The light of transparency has finally been shined on the bank bailouts. We still run the risk of major problems given the way large institutions are allowed to gamble with government money and tje lack of regulation on bank transactions.

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Super informative, also, maddening

If anybody wants a quick primer to how government actually works, read this. Also, it gives a ton of laymen knowledge about 2008 that I think everybody should be in possession of.