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Senseless Panic: How Washington Failed America

Senseless Panic: How Washington Failed America

William M. Isaac, Philip C. Meyer (With), Paul A. Volcker (Foreword by)

ISBN: 978-1-118-47319-1

Jun 2012

240 pages

$11.99

Description

The truth about the 2008 economic crisis from a Washington insider

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 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’ ten largest, and Continental Illinois, which, at the time, was the seventh 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 S&L crises of the 1980s, details what was different about 2008’s 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 Isaac’s time at the FDIC.

  • Details the mistakes that led to the panic of 2008 and 2009
  • An updated paperback revision of the bestselling book on the 2008 economic crisis, including a fascinating new Epilogue
  • Demystifies the conditions America faced in 2008
  • Provides a road map for avoiding similar shutdowns and panics in the future
  • Includes a foreword by Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker

Senseless Panic is a provocative, quick-paced, and thoughtful analysis of what went wrong with the nation's banking system, a blunt indictment of United States policy, and a road map for making sure it doesn’t happen again.

Foreword ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

Part One: No Calm Before the Storm 1

Chapter 1 Home Alone 3

Chapter 2 The Early Years (1978 –1981) 13

Chapter 3 The Savings Bank and S&L Crises 22

Chapter 4 Penn Square Fails 29

Chapter 5 The Butcher Empire Collapses 47

Chapter 6 Deposit Insurance Reform/Tackling Wall Street 53

Chapter 7 Continental Illinois Topples 64

Chapter 8 Preparing to Leave 86

Chapter 9 Lessons Learned 92

Part Two: Here We Go Again 99

Chapter 10 Policy Mistakes—1989 through 2007 101

Chapter 11 The Subprime Mortgage Problem 113

Chapter 12 SEC and FASB Blunders 118

Chapter 13 Schizophrenic Failure Resolution 131

Chapter 14 The $700 Billion Bailout 148

Chapter 15 Never Again 161

Afterword 177

Epilogue 180

Authors’ Notes on Sources 208

About the Authors 209

Index 211