It Takes a Pillage: An Epic Tale of Power, Deceit, and Untold Trillions
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
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.
do something. But throwing money at the belly of the Wall Street Beast, rather than providing credit help to citizens, from mortgage to auto and student loans, was precisely the wrong focus of money and attention. Unfortunately, detailed or patient analysis didn’t take precedent over keeping a seat. The banks, not the people themselves, would get public help with their bad assets. Here’s how Naomi Klein, the author of The Shock Doctrine, put it to me: “I don’t think the financial sector bailout
home prices started to fall and defaults started to rise. Subprime defaults decreased to 5.37 percent in 2005 (nearly half of what they’d been during the 2001 recession), right before those seeds of risk between lenders and borrowers began to sprout like Audrey II, the alien plant in Little Shop of Horrors.54 Consumer protections were simultaneously chucked. On April 20, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Charles
borrow money from their own affiliates with greater ease. This shift would let companies move money around internally, potentially creating the appearance of more liquidity, and effectively allow them to mislead the public about their true financial health.126 The Real Cost and Risk of the Bailout Even from the beginning of the bailout, as the banking system continued to exhibit a desperate propensity to inhale money, the true cost of keeping it functional seemed almost too big to comprehend—not
who got more than $816 million in cash and stock sales during that time. Second was Dwight C. Schar, then CEO of NVR, Inc., a Virginia-based company that builds and sells singlefamily detached homes, townhouses, and condos, who got more than $626 million over the same period.)37 Employees again got the short shrift when Countrywide announced in September 2007 that it was laying off up to 12,000 workers.38 They weren’t given the same sort of perks Mozilo got in his lucrative, though downsized,
dedication, as well as to the rest of Monteiro & Company. My gratitude to Demos for all the support they’ve provided since I left Wall Street in 2002 and for the important contributions they make every day, especially Miles Rapoport, David Callahan, Tammy Draut, Carol Villano, Bob Kuttner, Lew Daly, and the man who never seems to sleep, Tim Rusch. I’ve been fortunate to have the backing, inspiration and friendship of some wonderful people—writers, editors, and thinkers—over the years. Thanks to