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Paying the Price: The New Economic Mess We Have Created and How to Get Out of It

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Only a few years ago, the U.S. financial system and economy were near collapse. Global financial institutions teetered and fell, while at once-mighty U.S. companies, panicked CEOs slashed jobs. The financial chaos inflicted catastrophic damage: double-digit unemployment; crashing house and stock prices; federal budget deficits in the trillions, and a wider gap between the Only a few years ago, the U.S. financial system and economy were near collapse. Global financial institutions teetered and fell, while at once-mighty U.S. companies, panicked CEOs slashed jobs. The financial chaos inflicted catastrophic damage: double-digit unemployment; crashing house and stock prices; federal budget deficits in the trillions, and a wider gap between the country's haves and have-nots. Today many Americans still feel shell-shocked. But while there remains much to be nervous and frustrated about, it is impressive how much progress has been made in righting the wrongs that got us into this mess. The economy is growing and steadily creating jobs; house prices are stable and stock prices are up; debt burdens have eased for most households and the financial system has shored up its foundations to an impressive degree. American companies are as competitive globally as they have been in a half century. This dramatic turn in the economy's fortunes occurred because of what government did to stem the financial panic and combat the effects of Great Recession. Policymakers' unprecedented actions - from Congress' auto and bank bailouts and fiscal stimulus, to the Federal Reserve's zero interest rates and quantitative easing - remain intensely controversial, but ultimately they will be judged a success. Serious problems remain, including the government's mounting debt load and a burgeoning number of disenfranchised workers, but we are on our way to addressing them. Our economic future has arguably never been brighter.


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Only a few years ago, the U.S. financial system and economy were near collapse. Global financial institutions teetered and fell, while at once-mighty U.S. companies, panicked CEOs slashed jobs. The financial chaos inflicted catastrophic damage: double-digit unemployment; crashing house and stock prices; federal budget deficits in the trillions, and a wider gap between the Only a few years ago, the U.S. financial system and economy were near collapse. Global financial institutions teetered and fell, while at once-mighty U.S. companies, panicked CEOs slashed jobs. The financial chaos inflicted catastrophic damage: double-digit unemployment; crashing house and stock prices; federal budget deficits in the trillions, and a wider gap between the country's haves and have-nots. Today many Americans still feel shell-shocked. But while there remains much to be nervous and frustrated about, it is impressive how much progress has been made in righting the wrongs that got us into this mess. The economy is growing and steadily creating jobs; house prices are stable and stock prices are up; debt burdens have eased for most households and the financial system has shored up its foundations to an impressive degree. American companies are as competitive globally as they have been in a half century. This dramatic turn in the economy's fortunes occurred because of what government did to stem the financial panic and combat the effects of Great Recession. Policymakers' unprecedented actions - from Congress' auto and bank bailouts and fiscal stimulus, to the Federal Reserve's zero interest rates and quantitative easing - remain intensely controversial, but ultimately they will be judged a success. Serious problems remain, including the government's mounting debt load and a burgeoning number of disenfranchised workers, but we are on our way to addressing them. Our economic future has arguably never been brighter.

31 review for Paying the Price: The New Economic Mess We Have Created and How to Get Out of It

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jack Zandi

    THIS WAS BY FAR THE GREATEST BOOK I'VE READ IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW THIS WAS BY FAR THE GREATEST BOOK I'VE READ IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane Kistner

    There are few things I am less able to follow than complex financial subjects, so I've been pretty distressed and bewildered by all the "discussions" (railings) about what is needed to turn our economy around. Austerity! Fiscal cliff! Broken system! Gloom! What with all the dire spewings of the doomsday-mongers, I don't even want to turn on the news, frankly. But I found Mark Zandi's book an enlightening, and reassuring, read. In a very readable way, he takes us through what happened to cause, an There are few things I am less able to follow than complex financial subjects, so I've been pretty distressed and bewildered by all the "discussions" (railings) about what is needed to turn our economy around. Austerity! Fiscal cliff! Broken system! Gloom! What with all the dire spewings of the doomsday-mongers, I don't even want to turn on the news, frankly. But I found Mark Zandi's book an enlightening, and reassuring, read. In a very readable way, he takes us through what happened to cause, and then how we responded to, the financial crisis that most of us think of as starting in 2008. He writes in a manner that makes these topics easier for a lay person to understand. He reveals the many connections and interactions that reveal the typical "talking point" solutions as the simplistic non-answers that they are and grounds us in the framework of what has already been done to successfully avert disaster. Zandi's objective assessments of the actions of major players at the Federal Reserve, in the federal government, and in the private sector left me feeling more hopeful and optimistic that we actually are (and have been) in good hands, that things really have gotten better and will continue to do so, and that the U.S. is poised to emerge stronger for the longer term if we will but stay the course. (I found it especially interesting what he had to say about Ben Bernanke and Ron Paul!) It's a worthwhile read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    "At the peak of the lending frenzy in 2006, approximately one-half of all new mortgages required no down payments, little documentation of employment or income, and only a cursory building appraisal." (9) "Auto sales, production, and employment improved steadily to the point where nearly one-fourth of the economy's growth in the 2 years after the Great Recession ended was tied to Detroit's revival." (74) "Between 2008 and 2012, fiscal policymakers enacted more than $1.4 trillion in fiscal stimulus "At the peak of the lending frenzy in 2006, approximately one-half of all new mortgages required no down payments, little documentation of employment or income, and only a cursory building appraisal." (9) "Auto sales, production, and employment improved steadily to the point where nearly one-fourth of the economy's growth in the 2 years after the Great Recession ended was tied to Detroit's revival." (74) "Between 2008 and 2012, fiscal policymakers enacted more than $1.4 trillion in fiscal stimulus, a sum equal to almost 10% of GDP. This was the biggest federal stimulus since the New Deal in the 1930s, but it was proportional to the severity of the Great Recession. ... At the nadir of the Great Recession, that gap equaled just about 10% of GDP." (95) "But out of this economic morass, a leaner, more competitive economy was rising. American companies in nearly every industry had restructured. They had significantly increased productivity and reduced their cost structures, shed their debt loads, and raised lots of cash. Unit labor costs, which track worker productivity and are the best measure of global competitiveness, had fallen back to levels seen in the mid-2000s. In manufacturing, unit labor costs were back to their late 1980's level, besting the performance of nearly every other global economy." (236)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    If you're looking for a lucid, readable, and fairly comprehensive summary of how the recent (2007/08) financial crisis happened, the bailouts, and where we are now (as of fall 2012), this is a must-read. Zandi has some insider's insights and is not overtly partisan (despite the fact that he was John McCain's economic advisor). Recommended. If you're looking for a lucid, readable, and fairly comprehensive summary of how the recent (2007/08) financial crisis happened, the bailouts, and where we are now (as of fall 2012), this is a must-read. Zandi has some insider's insights and is not overtly partisan (despite the fact that he was John McCain's economic advisor). Recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bill Hagaman

    a reasonable review of the great recession......however didn't provide any unique insight from books I have already read on the subject a reasonable review of the great recession......however didn't provide any unique insight from books I have already read on the subject

  6. 4 out of 5

    John

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katheryn

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    Clear explanations but slanted conclusions.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rick

  10. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  11. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Danton

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tim Styer

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Grove

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tom Carson

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alan A. Reynolds

  16. 5 out of 5

    Doug

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joy Rider

  18. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nschwart

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cheree Moore

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Cunningham

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jim Walker

  23. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  24. 4 out of 5

    David

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hakija

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie A

  28. 4 out of 5

    Onur Ă–zdemir

  29. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Ressler

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cale

  31. 4 out of 5

    Sandi Moody

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