Mark McHugh

Book Report – Bailout Nation

In Open Thread on Monday, June 15, 2009 at 8:48 am



This weekend I finally got the chance to settle down with Barry Ritholtz’s new book Bailout Nation. It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of his blog, The Big Picture.  No voice resonates with both Wall St. and Main St. more powerfully.  Before I tell you what the book is, I’ll tell you what it is not (and why I lead with Dammit!). It is not a 300-page rant, which makes me sad because the man has a gift:

As to the crappy derivatives that Phony and Fraudy bought when they thought of themselves as giant hedge funds — the first person in government that suggests taxpayer money be used to cover those losses, I will personally feed  into a wood chipper . . . Feet first . . . Slowly.

~Barry Ritholtz

Still gives me goosebumps.  And while I would gladly read a book of imaginative threats, the demographics might be limited.

Bailout Nation walks the reader down the ever-widening path of moral hazard that America is on, succinctly and objectively.  And while blame is placed on those responsible, the surprising thrust of the book is hope, not condemnation.  Ritholtz reminds us that capitalism is a wonderful system, and interfering with the brutal aspects of creative destruction is creating a “worst of both worlds” hybrid.  Changes in regulation and ideologies impact on the past and present are chronicled in a way that reads effortlessly (I’d have used more f-bombs).

The last chapter, “Advice to a New President” is particularly thought-provoking.  It is a collection of truly fresh ideas from a variety of sources (Doug Kass and Dylan Ratigan to name but two) on ways to secure a better future for America.

This stands in stark contrast to my concept of what the last chapter should have been:  “Home Addresses of these Pricks”.  I’d also have used the book to merchandise “Ritholtz” brand torches, pitchforks, bats and anything else I could think of.

So Bailout Nation, while not the manifesto I was hoping for, stands tall as both a look back at lessons we should have learned from and map to get back on track.  More info

To those of you looking for good  rant however, I highly recommend this guy:

  1. ‘This stands in stark contrast to my concept of what the last chapter should have been: “Home Addresses of these Pricks”. I’d also have used the book to merchandise “Ritholtz” brand torches, pitchforks, bats and anything else I could think of.’

    I’m with you there, my friend. To the hilt. Great writing, here. And I like how you finish with walstreetpro2. Really enjoyed this short piece.

  2. YES! this is the one…the picture that needs wings on that pig! … when pigs fly will be when we will get out of this mess.

    as you already know i have already read your blog and am back now to leave 2 cents laying here and there. they are dollar based cents so they ain’t worth a damm, I digress.

    since few will be “right here” i am leaving a personal note to you as well. you know me from Adam so here is a tad to know.

    i work in oil industry and have for 30 some odd years. currently i am with a Russian outfit in Singapore and have been here close to 1 year now. so much for cold war. I have ZERO to do for 12 hours of 28 days in a row, aside form read/surf the internet by day and have a few drinks and spread gossip/fact by night.

    I am a “Google Master w/PHD” by now I assure you. I know that what you do is search / study intensively and for that I do not envy you at all ………… but instead I offer my services to assist in any exploration of what ever sewer pipe you are currently looking down.

    I am at “work” ( just like they do in DC ) and for another 22 days from post date here. when I go on days off I am busy working on my tin-foil hat and getting ready for doomsday for my kids sake, but that is another story. you / they will not find me on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else. I deleted me from everywhere last year and do not use a phone nor internet connections linked to ME. I had somehow missed this word press address and usually NEVER post anything anywhere.

    My email is ( should you ever need something mentioned above… .

    Rock On…

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