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.
Scathing, but fair, Bailout Nation is a voice of reason in these uncertain economic times.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
"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.From the Back Cover:
Praise for BAILOUT NATION
"A beam of enlightened thinking in a sea of delusional complacency."
"If you want to know how we got into this mess, then Ritholtz's Bailout Nation is where you should begin. He chronicled the collapse from the beginning with a rare clarity, and that shines through in this book."
—Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail
"One of the biggest myths of the great credit debacle of 2008 is that nobody saw it coming. Bull. Barry Ritholtz did. In Bailout Nation, Ritholtz throws our current travails into historical relief. For those who want to know how we got to this miserable place—and who want to have fun doing it—this is essential reading."
—Daniel Gross, Newsweek and Slate
"Highly entertaining rants against the stupidity of our biggest financial institutions. Ritholtz brings intelligence and moral outrage to this book."
—Rex Nutting, MarketWatch
"Nobody in the financial punditry world has been 'righter' about the economic crisis unfolding than Barry. If there was such a thing as a financial pundits Hall of Fame, he would have to be an inaugural inductee. Ignore Bailout Nation at your own peril."
—Tobin Smith, founder, ChangeWave Research, and Contributing Market Analyst, Fox News
"Bailout Nation provides an easily understandable and vividly descriptive road map as to how our domestic economy got into the rut we are now in ... It is a must-read for serious students of financial history ... and for all investors in bonds and stocks who want to preserve and grow their capital in the future!"
—Doug Kass, Seabreeze Partners, Real Money.com, CNBC
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