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by Neil Barofsky
by Christopher Foote
by James Freeman, Vern McKinley
The disturbing, untold story of one of the largest financial institutions in the world, Citigroup—one of the ” too big to fail” banks—from its founding in 1812 to its role in the 2008 financial crisis, and the many disasters in between.
During the 2008 financial crisis, Citi was presented as the victim of events beyond its control—the larger financial panic, unforeseen economic disruptions, and a perfect storm of credit expansion, private greed, and public incompetence. To save the economy and keep the bank afloat, the government provided huge infusions of cash through multiple bailouts that frustrated and angered the American public.
But, as financial experts James Freeman and Vern McKinley reveal, the 2008 crisis was just one of many disasters Citi has experienced since its founding more than two hundred years ago. In Borrowed Time, they reveal Citi’s history of instability and government support. It’s not a story that either Citi or Washington wants told.
From its founding in 1812 and through much of its history the bank has been tied to the federal government—a relationship that has benefited both. Many of its initial stockholders had owned stock in the Bank of the United States, and its first president, Samuel Osgood, had been a member of the Continental Congress and America’s first Postmaster General. From its earliest years, Citi took massive risks that led to crisis. But thanks to private investors, including John Jacob Astor, they survived throughout the nineteenth century.
In the twentieth century, Senator Carter Glass blamed Citi CEO “Sunshine Charlie” Mitchell for the 1929 stock market crash, and the bank was actually in violation of the senator’s signature achievement, the Glass-Steagall law, in the late 1990s until then U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin engineered the law’s repeal. Rubin later became the chairman of the executive committee of Citigroup, helping to oversee the bank as it ramped up its increasing mortgage risks before the 2008 crash.
The scale of the financial panic of 2008 was not, as the media and experts claim, unprecedented. As Borrowed Time shows, disasters have been relatively frequent during the century of government-protected banking—especially at Citi.
by Paul Ingrassia
This is the epic saga of the American automobile industry’s rise and demise, a compelling story of hubris, missed opportunities, and self-inflicted wounds that culminates with the president of the United States ushering two of Detroit’s Big Three car companies—once proud symbols of prosperity—through bankruptcy. With unprecedented access, Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Ingrassia takes us from factory floors to small-town dealerships to Detroit’s boardrooms to the White House. Ingrassia answers the big questions: Was Detroit’s self-destruction inevitable? What were the key turning points? Why did Japanese automakers manage American workers better than the American companies themselves did? Complete with a new Afterword providing fresh insights into the continuing upheaval in the auto industry—the travails of Toyota, the revolving-door management and IPO at General Motors, the unexpected progress at Chrysler, and the Obama administration’s stake in Detroit’s recovery—Crash Courseaddresses a critical question: America bailed out GM, but who will bail out America?
by Barry Ritholtz
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.
- The definitive book on the financial crisis of 2008
- Names the culprits responsible for this tragedy-from financial regulators to politicians
- Shows how each bailout throughout modern history has impacted what happened in the future
- Examines why the consumer/taxpayer is left suffering in an economy of bubbles, bailouts, and possible inflation
- Ritholtz operates a hugely popular blog, www.ritholtz.com/blog
Scathing, but fair, Bailout Nation is a voice of reason in these uncertain economic times.
by John Waggoner
The Power of Inaction
by Cornelia Woll
Bank bailouts in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the Great Recession brought into sharp relief the power that the global financial sector holds over national politics, and provoked widespread public outrage. In The Power of Inaction, Cornelia Woll details the varying relationships between financial institutions and national governments by comparing national bank rescue schemes in the United States and Europe. Woll starts with a broad overview of bank bailouts in more than twenty countries. Using extensive interviews conducted with bankers, lawmakers, and other key players, she then examines three pairs of countries where similar outcomes might be expected: the United States and United Kingdom, France and Germany, Ireland and Denmark. She finds, however, substantial variation within these pairs. In some cases the financial sector is intimately involved in the design of bailout packages; elsewhere it chooses to remain at arm’s length.Such differences are often ascribed to one of two conditions: either the state is strong and can impose terms, or the state is weak and corrupted by industry lobbying. Woll presents a third option, where the inaction of the financial sector critically shapes the design of bailout packages in favor of the industry. She demonstrates that financial institutions were most powerful in those settings where they could avoid a joint response and force national policymakers to deal with banks on a piecemeal basis. The power to remain collectively inactive, she argues, has had important consequences for bailout arrangements and ultimately affected how the public and private sectors have shared the cost burden of these massive policy decisions.
The Fed and Lehman Brothers
by Laurence M. Ball
by Irvine H. Sprague
Bull by the Horns
by Sheila Bair
The former FDIC chairwoman, and one of the first people to acknowledge the full risk of subprime loans, offers a unique perspective on the financial crisis.
Appointed by George W. Bush as the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 2006, Sheila Bair witnessed the origins of the financial crisis and in 2008 became—along with Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Timothy Geithner—one of the key public servants trying to repair the damage to the global economy. Bull by the Horns is her remarkable and refreshingly honest account of that contentious time and the struggle for reform that followed and continues to this day.
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