List of Financial Bailout ebooks

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Bailout
by Neil Barofsky

In this account of his stranger-than-fiction baptism into the corrupted ways of Washington, Neil Barofsky offers an irrefutable indictment, from an insider of the Bush and Obama administrations, of the mishandling of the $700 billion TARP bailout fund. In behind-the-scenes detail, he reveals proof of the extreme degree to which our government officials bent over backward to serve the interests of Wall Street firms at the expense of the broader public–and at the expense of effective financial reform. During the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Barofsky gave up his job as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York City, where he had convicted drug kingpins, Wall Street executives, and perpetrators of mortgage fraud, to become the special inspector general in charge of oversight of the spending of the bailout money. From his first day on the job, his efforts to protect against fraud and to hold the big banks accountable for how they spent taxpayer money were met with outright hostility from the Treasury officials in charge of the bailouts. Barofsky discloses how, in serving the interests of the banks, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his team worked with Wall Street executives to design programs that would funnel vast amounts of taxpayer money to their firms and would have allowed them to game the markets and make huge profits with almost no risk and no accountability, while repeatedly fighting Barofsky’s efforts to put the necessary fraud protections in place. His investigations also uncovered abject mismanagement of the bailout of insurance giant AIG and Geithner’s decision to allow the payment of millions of dollars in bonuses–including $7, 700 to a kitchen worker and $7,000 to a mail room assistant–and that the Obama administration’s “TARP czar” lobbied for the executives to retain their high pay. Providing details about how, meanwhile, the interests of homeowners and the broader public were betrayed, Barofsky recounts how Geithner and his team steadfastly failed to fix glaring flaws in the Obama administration’s homeowner relief program pointed out by Barofsky and other bailout watchdogs, rejecting anti-fraud measures, which unleashed a wave of abuses by mortgage providers against homeowners, even causing some who would not have lost their homes otherwise to go into foreclosure.

Bailouts Or Bail-Ins?
by Nouriel Roubini, Brad Setser

Roughly once a year, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, the US treasury secretary and in some cases the finance ministers of other G-7 countries will get a call from the finance minister of a large emerging market economy. The emerging market finance minister will indicate that the country is rapidly running out of foreign reserves, that it has lost access to international capital markets and, perhaps, that is has lost the confidence of its own citizens. Without a rescue loan, it will be forced to devalue its currency and default either on its government debt or on loans to the country’s banks that the government has guaranteed.

This book looks at these situations and the options available to alleviate the problem. It argues for a policy that recognizes that every crisis is different and that different cases need to be handled within a framework that provides consistency and predictability to borrowing countries as well as those who invest in their debt.


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.


Last Resort
by Eric A. Posner

The bailouts during the recent financial crisis enraged the public. They felt unfair—and counterproductive: people who take risks must be allowed to fail. If we reward firms that make irresponsible investments, costing taxpayers billions of dollars, aren’t we encouraging them to continue to act irresponsibly, setting the stage for future crises? And beyond the ethics of it was the question of whether the government even had the authority to bail out failing firms like Bear Stearns and AIG.

The answer, according to Eric A. Posner, is no. The federal government freely and frequently violated the law with the bailouts—but it did so in the public interest. An understandable lack of sympathy toward Wall Street has obscured the fact that bailouts have happened throughout economic history and are unavoidable in any modern, market-based economy. And they’re actually good. Contrary to popular belief, the financial system cannot operate properly unless the government stands ready to bail out banks and other firms. During the recent crisis, Posner agues, the law didn’t give federal agencies sufficient power to rescue the financial system. The legal constraints were damaging, but harm was limited because the agencies—with a few exceptions—violated or improvised elaborate evasions of the law. Yet the agencies also abused their power. If illegal actions were what it took to advance the public interest, Posner argues, we ought to change the law, but we need to do so in a way that also prevents agencies from misusing their authority. In the aftermath of the crisis, confusion about what agencies did do, should have done, and were allowed to do, has prevented a clear and realistic assessment and may hamper our response to future crises.

Taking up the common objections raised by both right and left, Posner argues that future bailouts will occur. Acknowledging that inevitability, we can and must look ahead and carefully assess our policy options before we need them.


Bailout
by Irvine H. Sprague

During the high interest times in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the banks and the savings and loan associations were under heavy financial pressure. Hundreds of them failed. The Home Loan Bank Board permitted the savings and loan associations to treat goodwill as capital, thereby allowing them to remain open and to build up enormous losses that eventually cost the taxpayers billions of dollars. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took a different approach. It closed the banks or sold them, all at no cost to the taxpayers. Bailout is the engrossing story of how the FDIC handled four of these failures. Book jacket.

Financing Failure
by Vern McKinley

Probably no issue during the most recent financial crisis aroused more passion than financial institution bailouts. Focusing on the policymaking behind the decisions to bail out these institutions–not just during the most recent crisis, but also throughout history–this account argues that the genesis of financial crisis lies in government policy, whether in the mismanagement of monetary policy during the 1930s or in the extraordinary push of consumers into homeownership leading up to the current crisis. This detailed analysis is an essential read in order to understand why the United States has become so reliant on such interventions.


Reducing Foreclosures
by Christopher Foote

Abstract: This paper takes a skeptical look at a leading argument about what is causing the foreclosure crisis and distills some potential lessons for policy. We use an economic model to focus on two key decisions: the borrower’s choice to default on a mortgage and the lender’s subsequent choice whether to renegotiate or “modify” the loan. The theoretical model and econometric analysis illustrate that “unaffordable” loans, defined as those with high mortgage payments relative to income at origination, are unlikely to be the main reason that borrowers decide to default. In addition, this paper provides theoretical results and empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis that the efficiency of foreclosure for investors is a more plausible explanation for the low number of modifications to date than contract frictions related to securitization agreements between servicers and investors. While investors might be foreclosing when it would be socially efficient to modify, there is little evidence to suggest they are acting against their own interests when they do so. An important implication of our analysis is that the extension of temporary help to borrowers suffering adverse life events like job loss could prevent more foreclosures than a policy that makes mortgages more “affordable” on a long-term basis.

Borrowed Time
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.


Bankruptcy Not Bailout
by Kenneth E. Scott, John B. Taylor

This book introduces and analyzes a new and more predictable bankruptcy process designed specifically for large financial institutions—Chapter 14—to achieve greater financial stability and reduce the likelihood of bailouts. The contributors identify and compare the major differences in the Dodd-Frank Title II and the proposed new procedures and outline the reasons why Chapter 14 would be more effective in preventing both financial crises and bailouts.

Ending Government Bailouts as We Know Them
by Kenneth E. Scott, George P. Shultz, John B. Taylor

This book examines the dangers of continuing government bailouts and offers alternative strategies designed to produce growth based on the vigor of the private sector with inflation under control. The expert authors show that it is indeed possible to explain the causes of the crisis in understandable terms and clarify why resolving the bailout problem is essential to preventing future crises.

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