Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy / Edition 1

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Overview

"Do you find yourself wondering: How did we get here? How didthe United States of America get into such a predicament whereby inone year, 2008, the financial system nearly vaporized, the stockmarket crashed, real estate tanked, and major corporations werebeing bailed out. . . .How did our great country, a bastion ofcapitalism, devolve into a Bailout Nation where the gains wereprivatized, but the losses were socialized?"
From the Foreword by Bill Fleckenstein

In Bailout Nation, Barry Ritholtz, author of the popularfinance blog www.ritholtz.com/blog/, deftly mixes financial historywith an insider's knowledge of modern finance to reveal how we'vearrived at one of the worst economic crises ever. Engaging andinformative, this book clearly shows how years of trying to controlthe economy with easy money has finally caught up with the UnitedStates and how the government's practice of repeatedly rescuingWall Street—as well as other industries andorganizations—has come back to bite them.

Divided into five compelling parts, this timely guide opens witha brief history of bailouts, detailing their particular patternsand unintended consequences. From here, it quickly moves on toreveal the events, individuals, and institutions that have shapedour current situation. You'll see how various governmentinterventions—in individual companies such as Lockheed duringthe 1970s, in specific sectors such as banking in the early 1990s,and eventually, entire markets with the rescue of stocks in2000—opened up a Pandora's Box. You'll also discover how themisguided philosophies of many players, from Fed Chairmen andPresidents to Senators and Treasury Secretaries, promoted themassive meltdown that has engulfed our global economy.

Ritholtz leaves no stone unturned, as he breaks down how theFederal Reserve's interest-rate targeting policies as well as acondition known as moral hazard—the belief that you won'tbear the full consequences of your actions—perpetuated thereckless financial risk taking that has pushed us to the brink.Ritholtz also takes some of the biggest Wall Streetfirms—along with their enablers, the ratingsagencies—to task. Page by page, you'll learn how the repealof certain regulations allowed banks to merge into unruly financialbehemoths, while unproven investment vehicles, includingcollateralized 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 becomea Bailout Nation. The implications of this are significant andfar-reaching. If you intend on navigating today's treacherousterrain, it would be wise to understand how we got here and whatyou need to get ahead. Scathing, but fair, Bailout Nationputs this financial debacle in perspective—throughdiscussions of past miscues and an exploration of solutions beingproposed-and offers a voice of reason during these uncertaineconomic times. 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Best books to make sense of financial crisis of 2009" (USA Today)

"Best business books of 2009" (Miami Herald)

"Investment Book of the Year" (Stock Trader’s Almanac)

"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." (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 policy makers in Washington take it with them on vacation this month." (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 US 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. 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.." (Freakonomics)

"A comprehensive crisis scrapbook compiled by the money manager behind the popular financial blog the Big Picture in a quippy, no-nonsense voice..." (New York Magazine)

"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." (Forbes)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470520383
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 332
  • Sales rank: 870,187
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents

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 inCreating 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 andCredit.

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 theEnabler.

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 toSucceed?

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.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Find out the Real Story

    This book, in a very compelling and credible way, explains what were the root causes and the events that stemmed from them, that led to to the economic meltdown that struck this country and effected the world financially. From Republican legislaton to Greenspan's Federal Reserve to the fundamental change in how mortgages were handled, this book covers all the angles in a fascinating narrative that exposes all of those who who had a hand in the creation of this crisis. If you really want to find out what happened, then read this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Nook pricing, huh?!

    $47.50 for a book that's sub $20.00 on the shelf? What gives?

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  • Posted September 17, 2010

    Worth reading

    An excellent overview of how capitalism ought to function and how the US has strayed from that model to become a "bailout nation."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2009

    Not Compelling or Relevant

    This book is a good beach read , but certainly no scholarly piece of work .
    If you have a few hours to kill , this is the book for you

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 18, 2010

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    Posted April 13, 2011

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    Posted March 27, 2010

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    Posted December 12, 2009

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