“Bailout is a jaw-dropping play-by-play of how the Treasury Department bungled the financial bailouts…With a prosecutor’s logic and copious footnotes, Barofsky makes it clear that things are rarely what they seem in Washington.”—USA TODAY
At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Neil Barofsky gave up his job as a prosecutor in the esteemed US Attorney’s Office in New York City, where he had convicted drug kingpins, Wall Street executives, and perpetrators of mortgage fraud, to become the inspector general in charge of overseeing administration of the bailout money. From the onset, his efforts to protect against fraud and to hold big banks accountable for how they spent taxpayer money were met with outright hostility from Treasury officials in charge of the bailouts.
In this bracing, page-turning account Barofsky offers an insider’s perspective on the mishandling of the $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bailout fund. With vivid behind-the-scenes detail, he reveals the extreme lengths to which our government officials were willing to go in order to serve the interests of Wall Street firms at the expense of the broader public—and at the expense of effective financial reform.
Bailout is a riveting account of Barovsky’s plunge into the political meat grinder of Washington, as well as a vital revelation of just how captured by Wall Street our political system is and why the too-big-to-fail banks have become even bigger and more dangerous in the wake of the crisis.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In the last couple of months, I've read and reviewed another book by a former Goldman Sacks banker who also thought the Wall Street banks had gone to heck in a hand basket. In his book, "Survival Investing: How to Prosper Amid Thieving Banks and Corrupt Governments," John Talbott entitled one of the chapters "Corruption In The Banks" and another one "Only an Idiot Would Lend to a Sovereign Government." At that time I thought maybe that author was just spewing "sour grapes" over some unknown experiences in his own past. Not any more. This book by Neil Barofsky the Special Presidential Inspector General for TARP, makes it clear John Talbott's opinions of the mess corruption has made of the banking system was right on the mark. In "Bailout" Neil Brofsky, who was in a position to know the facts, documents his own 19-month tenure trying to clean up some of the messes created by the much too cozy relationships between Wall Street and government. More importantly he points out that the...
Neil Barofsky oversaw the $700 billion dollar TARP program as the Special United States Treasury Department Inspector General. Barofsky, a democrat, was appointed by Bush and saw no difference between that administration and the Obama administration with regard to their deferential treatment of the big banks.
No strings were attached to the money. Top bankers used it to pay record bonuses, among other things. The magnitude of riches bestowed upon these elites stirs the imagination of witnesses such as Barofsky, who can't seem to get over it. It was the largest single transfer of wealth in our nation's history.
This book demonstrates a deep and continuing bias to favor large banks, especially by the Treasury Department. It doesn't matter which party holds the administrative branch. Stated goals of giving money straight to the banks included to get lending going again. Yet nothing was done to tie money freely given to banks to any performance in lending. In...
Of the myriad books written about different aspects of the financial meltdown, "Bailout" does a better job than many of making the financial complexities clear to the average reader. He also makes it painfully clear -- if it wasn't already -- that those with whom we entrust the most important decisions affecting our lives are not always interested in whether our lives go well or not. Never mind what they say when the cameras are present. By taking us through his tenure as "fraud cop" while TARP money was being doled out -- rarely for the purposes it was sold to the public as -- Barofsky wants to wake us up, make us angry, make us more likely to pay attention as voters to the democracy we empower.
Does Barofsky make himself (and a few others) sound like the only moral people in a cesspool of wickedness? Maybe. Does he sometimes sound like the only guy with a good idea, surrounded by fools blinded by self-interest and politics? Yes, he does. But that shouldn't detract...
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