Senseless Panic: How Washington Failed America
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.
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.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - jmcilree - LibraryThing
First part of book describes author's experiences as head of FDIC in 1980's and his ad hoc policy in reacting to bank failures. Sometimes he let banks fail, sometimes arranged shotgun marriages ... Read full review
The Early Years 19781981
The Savings Bank and SL Crises
The Butcher Empire Collapses
Continental Illinois Topples
Preparing to Leave
Policy Mistakes1989 through 2007
Schizophrenic Failure Resolution
The 700 Billion Bailout
Authors Notes on Sources