I just got my copy of Neil Barofsky's new book "Bailout" and am totally looking forward to reading it.
Def required summer reading.
couple of reviews below.
Protectors of Wall Street
A vital new book from the TARP IG, and yesterday's vote on a Fed audit, reveal some disturbing truths
If you believe the Federal Reserve has done a fine job of managing monetary policy and trust it to continue to exert vast power with no accountability or transparency, then you are probably content with the status quo. But yesterday, “a powerful left-right coalition” in the House of Representatives — defying the Fed as well as a likely White House veto — voted overwhelmingly to enact Rep. Ron Paul’s bill to subject the Fed’s monetary policy to audits by the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan and independent congressional agency. As Dennis Kucinich, one of 89 Democrats to vote for the bill, put it: “It’s time that we stood up to the Federal Reserve that right now acts like some kind of high, exalted priesthood, unaccountable to democracyThe argument has always been that the Fed must be able to act with independence and secrecy and that transparency would undermine its credibility and lead to political interference in monetary policy; especially now, the ostensible concern is that Republicans will impede necessary measures. But as Stoller points out, none of the parade of horribles about which the Fed warned resulted from the 2010 audit, and more to the point, the Fed — prime enablers of banks, crony capitalism and oligarchy — has proven that it deserves neither the trust nor the credibility which it had previously commanded. It’s remarkable to watch the Democratic Party become its most devoted defenders. As Stoller said about yesterday’s vote: “It’s so tiresome to see the Democratic leadership take the side of Wall Street, over and over and over.”Devastating. Now we readily have critique/condemnation of our rigged system. Thank you Mr. Barofsky.
Along those lines, Neil Barofsky, the Inspector General of the TARP bailout program from 2008 until 2011, has a must-read new book entitled Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street. When he was serving as IG, I praised Barofsky’s independence and adversarial watchdog mentality several times when he was warning of the Treasury Department and Tim Geithner’s overarching devotion to the interests of Wall Street at the expense of everyone else. But this new book lays out the case as clearly and powerfully as it can be made that the Obama administration and Geithner, as The New York Times‘ Gretchen Morgenson put it, “eagerly served Wall Street interests at the public’s expense, and regulators were captured by the very industry they were supposed to be regulating.” She adds:
“The suspicions that the system is rigged in favor of the largest banks and their elites, so they play by their own set of rules to the disfavor of the taxpayers who funded their bailout, are true,” Mr. Barofsky said in an interview last week. “It really happened. These suspicions are valid” . . . .
Mr. Barofsky joins the ranks of those who believe that another crisis is likely because of the failed response to this one. “Incentives are baked into the system to take advantage of it for short-term profit,” he said. “The incentives are to cheat, and cheating is profitable because there are no consequences.”
OK, democrats in Congress, and President Obama-- What is the plan? More financial anarchy?
Apparently the NYTimes (located in the den of thieves to begin with) doesn't like the book:
In general, Calmes' ersatz review in The New York Times, titled "Bad Banks, Big Bailouts and Bruises," comes off as a lengthy valentine to the Treasury Department officials who are so soundly savaged in Barofsky's book. Naturally, it's reasonable to expect these officials to offer some pushback, and in fact, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has let his feelings be known with regard to Barofsky's account.Yes, thank you. Read the book prior to "reviewing" it.. SOP, I would think.
Similarly, it's not unreasonable to expect some to want to carry a brief for Geithner, especially in our current election-year atmosphere. Chances are, after all, that Republicans will widely embrace "Bailout" -- their base is so uniquely averse to TARP that Barofsky's critiques make him an ally of convenience. That said, it's not controversial at all to remind you that the GOP remains opposed to the sort of rigorous financial sector oversight that Barofsky champions. (Republicans have, for the most part, directed their anti-regulatory ire at Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.)
But if Calmes wants to effectively make a case against Barofsky's account, she should be required to have actually read the book -- or, at the very least, to actually contend with the arguments it makes, instead of ignoring them. But throughout her "review," that's exactly what she does, preying on those who haven't read "Bailout" in order to make a fake case against it.