An insider’s perspective on the causes of America’s recent financial crisis and its ongoing consequences.
The financial crisis that began in 2008 resulted in thousands of families losing their homes, millions losing their jobs and life savings, and over 100,000 businesses going bankrupt. During her five-year tenure as head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the author was intimately involved in the government’s efforts to avert a catastrophic collapse of the U.S. economy. She chronicles the many ways in which a broken economic system led families into financial trouble and explains how the terrible decisions made at the time by CEOs of multinational banks and heads of government regulatory committees led to the Great Recession. She paints a graphic, disturbing portrait of privileged power brokers who, even in the face of national disaster, put themselves and their cronies ahead of the common good. Prefacing each chapter, in which she explains clearly and concisely such difficult economic concepts as “mortgage originators” and “securitization,” are fictional vignettes showing how young people’s lives are affected. Losing a home forces one family to surrender a beloved pet to a shelter. Another family struggles to pay for food and medicine. These vignettes are the weakest parts of the book, sometimes even distracting from the important factual information.
Nevertheless, Bair offers young readers an informed, insightful look into a crisis that continues to affect millions of citizens of all ages. (financial terms, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)