Synopses & Reviews
Still ticked off at the Federal government doling out trillions to save Wall Street from its own screwups? You're not alone. You have every right to know exactly how the financial disasters of 2008 happened, why the government leapt so quickly to lavish the reckless perpetrators with cheap loans and subsidies that may never be repaid, and what must be done to ensure it never happens again.
In It Takes a Pillage, former Wall Street insider turned muckraking journalist Nomi Prins argues vehemently and convincingly that the current crisis has almost nothing to do with subprime mortgages and everything to do with a financial system that rewards people who move money instead of people who make things, operates outside of the media's gaze, is sheltered from governmental supervision, and uses leverage to turn risky deals into insanely risky deals.
You'll find out how the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington enabled and encouraged the disastrous behavior of large investment banks. You'll meet the Pillage People: the men who funneled trillions of dollars directly to the banks and the executives whose companies drained the American economy. You'll learn which of the Federal Pillage Triumvirate pirated the biggest part of a $10.7 trillion bounty—Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, or Timothy Geithner. You'll decide which private-sector pillager took the biggest share of spoils—Bank of America head Ken Lewis in his unholy alliance with former Merrill Lynch chief exec John Thain, who extracted $225 billion from the public; former AIG exec Joseph Cassano, who banked $315 million, leading the division that nearly drowned AIG before it hooked a $182 billion federal life raft; or Robert Rubin, whose public- and private-sector decisions decimated financial restraint and landed Citigroup in a $388 billion hole.
Prins also takes you on a harrowing tour of the Wall Street mind-set, in which making money is a game and colossal paychecks are a way of keeping score—and getting a huge bonus after churning out fabricated securities and taking out the entire world economy might be the biggest win of all.
The scariest part is that for all the trillions that have been spent or committed to the bloated stalwarts of Wall Street, our economic system remains in disarray. Prins demonstrates that this failure stems from flaws not in these institutions, but in the banking system itself. She shows how irresponsible deregulation whetted both individual and institutional appetites for short-term gain, and produced an addiction to greed and power that still rules the markets even after nearly destroying them.
Complete with a savvy and well-developed proposal for extracting ourselves from this downward financial spiral and stabilizing the economy, ItTakes a Pillage is packed with all the information you need to understand the financial crisis and identify policies that will solve the problem, rather than make it more severe.
A bunch of former Big Finance leaders now working in Washington have organized billions in payouts to save big Wall Street firms, only to watch the money go to everything but fixing Main Street's money problems. Muckracking journalist Nomi Prins isn't going to let them get away with.
A former Wall Street manager turned muckraking journalist gets inside how the banks looted the Treasury, stole the bailout, and continued with business as usual
We all watched as packs of former Big Financiers commandeered posts in Washington and lavished trillions in bailouts to "save" big Wall Street firms that used that money for anything and everything except to fill in Main Street's potholes. We all watched as Wall Street heavyweights fought tooth and nail to declaw financial reform and won.
Former Wall Streeter Nomi Prins has been watching, too, and she is not going to let them get away with it. More than just an angry populist, commentator stuck on the sidelines, Prins understand Big Finance and big money and big schemes-and in this book she exposes the fundamental follies of our economic system and the schemes of the bigwigs who have no intention of letting it change.
- Remarkably combines detail, clarity, and narrative momentum, revealing all the ways in banks gamed the system to get the most money with the least oversight.
- Exposes the power-bankers who bagged more than $5 billion in compensation before and after their companies grabbed more than a trillion dollars in federal bailout subsidies-and how the government's indignation at this didn't lead to change.
- Shows how the most egregious pillagers work at the Fed and Treasury department, detailing how Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Tim Geithner siphoned off $10.7 trillion from the public's future for Big Finance's present, all the while telling us it was for our own good.
- Slams a financial system that will not change, if our government doesn't force it to change, no matter what happens in the so-called free market and why the 'sweeping' financial reform bill passed after Wall Street reconsolidated its power, is anything but sweeping or reformative.
- Written by a former managing director at Goldman Sachs, now a senior fellow at Demos, who writes regularly on corruption in Washington and Wall Street for news outlets ranging from Fortune to Mother Jones.
If you're still enraged and frustrated with how the bank bailout went bust for the American people, or how Wall Street continues to operate as if the rest of the world doesn't matter, or how the banks are once again rolling in outsized profits and obscene bonuses while average Americans continue to struggle through a bleak landscape of foreclosures and job loss, It Takes a Pillage gives voice to your outrage, and provides a deeper insight into what we really have to be angry about and how we can fight for some real change.
Praise for It Takes A Pillage
"If you want to understand why the Geithner-Summers plan won't solve the financial crisis, and why Wall Street is disgraced but still calling the shots, you can't do better than the brilliantly written and documented It Takes a Pillage, by former investment banker and financial critic Nomi Prins. As she devastatingly shows, it took a pillage to destroy the financial system, and it will take a lot more than the cozy relationship of Geithner, Bernanke, and Summers with Wall Street to rebuild the financial economy."—Robert Kuttner, co-editor, The American Prospect and author of Obama's Challenge
"Nomi Prins has applied her unmatched expertise in Wall Street's arcane methods of turning your money into their bonuses to mapping the recent crisis. In compelling, scathing prose, she shows how the key players escaped being brought to account, and kept their pet officials in power."—John Dizard, columnist, Financial Times
"No one takes Wall Street to task like Nomi Prins. But this book is far more than a pointed attack on how greed and bad regulation created a global economic meltdown—it also offers concrete prescriptions for how to prevent the next crisis. Let's hope Washington is listening."—James Ledbetter, Editor, The Big Money
"Nomi knows. Having been at Goldman Sachs, Nomi Prins knows the mind-set, knows how to read spreadsheets, knows the people, and knows Wall Street's games. Nomi knows and now Nomi tells."—Jim Hightower, author of Swim against the Current
"This book will make readers angry, as they should be. This is a lively account of the Wall Street machinations and Washington deregulation that led up to the economic crisis. Prins writes from the perspective of someone who has seen the beast from the inside, having worked as a Wall Street banker."—Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
About the Author
Nomi Prins, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs, writes on corruption in Washington and on Wall Street for Mother Jones, Fortune, Alternet, the Nation, and other publications. She is a senior fellow at Demos and a frequent guest on national radio stations, including NPR and Air America. She has appeared on The NewsHour, Democracy Now!, and various CNBC, CNN, and Fox TV programs. Her previous books are Other People's Money and Jacked. Visit her Web site at www.nomiprins.com.
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.