Correcting a Review of Bailout Nation

There was a nice review Monday in the Las Vegas Business Press that, unfortunately, had one significant error. (I don’t mean something I disagree with, I mean a factual mistake).

I wrote the reviewer thanking him for “the kind words about Bailout Nation” — but gently noted this small correction in the review regarding “Who is to blame.”

Since I never heard back from him, I feel compelled to correct the record.

The reviewer wrote: “Ritholtz finds two main villains behind the current crisis: former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and former President George W. Bush.”

I responded:

“While I was wholly unimpressed with President Bush during the crisis, I find many more people more deserving of blame than him. On page 232, I list two dozen players who are primarily at fault — and while Greenspan is at the top of the list, George W. Bush comes in somewhere around the middle (depending how you count ~10 or 15).

These more blameworthy folks are:

The Federal Reserve (monetary policy)
Senator Phil Gramm
Rating agencies
Mortgage originators and lending banks
The Federal Reserve again (as bank regulator)
Borrowers and home buyers
The five biggest Wall Street firms (Bear Stear ns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs) and their CEOs

In the book, I rated all of these players as more culpable George W. Bush.

If its individuals, rather than firms and titled positions (i.e., CEO), than the #2 man on the list (again page 232) has to be Senator Phil Gramm.”

Other than that, its a good review . . .


Big bailouts a perversion of capitalism, author argues
Las Vegas Business Press, October 05, 2009

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