The 1980s opened with the prime interest rate at an astonishing 21.5 percent, leading to a severe recession with unemployment reaching nearly 11 percent. Depression-like conditions befell the agricultural sector, a bubble burst in the energy sector, a rolling real estate recession swept the country, the entire thrift industry was badly insolvent and the major money center banks were loaded with third world debt. Some 3,000 bank and thrifts failed, including nine of Texas 10 largest, and Continental Illinois, which, at the time, was the 7th largest bank in the nation. These severe conditions were not only handled without creating a panic, the economy actually embarked on the longest peacetime expansion in history.
In Senseless Panic: How Washington Failed America, William M. Isaac, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) during the banking and Ss meltdown that allowed the failure of a comparative handful of institutions to nearly shut down the world’s financial system. The book also tells the rousing story of Isaacs time at the FDIC. With accessible and engaging prose, Isaac:
Details the mistakes that led to the panic of 2008 and 2009.
Demystifies the conditions America faced in 2008, and
Provides a roadmap for avoiding similar shutdowns and panics in the future.
Senseless Panic is a provocative, quick-paced, and thoughtful analysis of what went wrong with the nation's banking system and a blunt indictment of United States policy.
"Washington had better read this book. Bill Isaac is absolutely on target in his acute analysis of what he rightly calls the 'Senseless Panic of 2008.' He was at the center in preventing what could have been an even worse banking debacle back in the 1980s-but it didn't happen, thanks to his level-headed leadership. If Washington politicians ignore Isaac's insights, we will pay a fearful price." (Steve Forbes, Chief Executive Officer, Forbes, Inc.)
"Bill Isaac throws down the gauntlet to Bush, Paulson, Obama, and Geithner. Their fixes and bailouts, he argues persuasively, were wrongheaded and very expensive. Learn from past crises and prevent the next collapse, says this experienced and outspoken former bank regulator. Let the real debate within the establishment begin." (Ralph Nader)
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