It Takes a Pillage: An Epic Tale of Power, Deceit, and Untold Trillions

It Takes a Pillage: An Epic Tale of Power, Deceit, and Untold Trillions

by Nomi Prins


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After months of various drafts and political infighting, Congress finally passed, and President Obama signed into law, a bill that was supposedly the biggest financial reform bill in decades. The big question is, do the supporters of this bill really believe it will change Wall Street? Or do they simply hope it'll be enough to placate us so the status quo can be validated? Nomi Prins assumes the latter, because they can't be that naive.

In It Takes a Pillage, former Wall Street insider turned muckraking journalist Nomi Prins explains how we are building a new bubble with more leverage, bigger bonuses, rampant speculation and fraud, amid extended unemployment and personal financial decline. The cowering of Washington bureaucrats in the face of the power and influence exerted by the Big Banks threatens the economic well-being of us all.

The scariest part is that, for all the trillions that have been spent or remain committed to the bloated stalwarts of Wall Street, our economic system is still in disarray. Average Americans continue to struggle while the banks are once again rolling in outsized profits and obscene bonuses. It Takes a Pillage is packed with the information you need to understand the financial crisis and what has followed, and to gain deeper insight into how to fight for real change.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983916048
Publisher: SWN Books
Publication date: 02/23/2013
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 588,402
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

NOMI PRINS is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs, now a senior fellow at Demos, who writes on corruption in Washington and on Wall Street for Fortune, Mother Jones, AlterNet, the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and other publications. She is a frequent guest on national radio and television, including NPR, The NewsHour, and various CNBC, CNN, and Fox TV programs. Her previous books are Black Tuesday, Other People's Money and Jacked. Visit her Web site at

Table of Contents


Introduction: The More Wall Street Changes, the More It Stays the Same.

1 Where'd the Bailout Money Go, Exactly?

2 This Was Never about the Little Guy.

3 Everybody Wants to Be a Bank.

4 Government Sachs.

5 We Already Have a Bad Bank: It's Called the Federal Reserve

6 Everyone Saw This Coming.

7 Bonus Bonanza.

8 Big Banks Mean Big Trouble.

9 Change, Really?

The Real Numbers: Bailout, TARP, and CEO Compensation.



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It Takes a Pillage: An Epic Tale of Power, Deceit, and Untold Trillions 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Miro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nomi Prins appears to be an activist of the Naomi Klein type but her book "It Takes a Pillage" is far more rewarding than Klein's "No Logo".Whereas Klein fashionably follows her political line (e.g. in ignoring the fact that Chinese manufacturing has lifted 400 million+ Chinese out of poverty), Prins approaches the subject of Wall Street involvement in the credit crisis in a much more open minded way. Perhaps she is rather light on what the consequences would have been of a non-bailout, or the extent to which property speculators stoked the demand for credit, but she explains very clearly the way in which middle America was robbed (indebted) by a group of Wall Street - Washington insiders.In admirably researched detail she shows how Wall Street found a way to make enormous profits in the first years of the new millennium by misusing then fashionable free market liberal arguments to demolish the legal barrier separating commercial and investment banking (Glass Steagall Act 1933) and in 2004 gain SEC approval for an official increase in leverage from 12:1 to 30:1. The way was open for the placing of massive bets on an extended capital base linked to sub-prime mortgages with a new government guarantee should anything go wrong.Of course it did go wrong as sub-prime mortgages defaulted and the leverage went into reverse with the nasty twist that the repeal of Glass Steagall had produced banks that were "too big to fail" and which enjoyed the newly extended guarantees.I feel that Nomi Prins (ex Goldman Sachs managing director) is one of the few people that really understand the extent of the damage. The media certainly doesn't as they continue to talk about the TARP and its possible repayment as the end of the crisis. She shows the real facts to be that the government provided $13 trillion in federal bailouts and loans of which TARP was only $700 billion (5%) with full system wide hidden losses possibly in the region of $140 trillion.The book finishes with a very valuable section entitled "Some Solutions" that puts forward structural legal protections to society along the lines of a modernized Glass Steagall Act and a requirement that all debt be quantifiable and in clear view (no more off-book debt) with government guarantees only applying to normal commercial banking. If investment banks speculate then they do so without a government guarantee. As she says, "People at the top could still get rich, just not as rich - and not at the cost of ravaging the general population and generations to come."Unfortunately this is closing the stable door after the horse has bolted and the author doesn't have much to say about how middle America will pay off the debt so cynically handed to it by Wall Street and Washington. Its the potentially explosive next chapter of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who wanys some
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Matt Pallakoff More than 1 year ago
too bad we didnt know 5 years earlier.
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