Tonight I’ll be with former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at Seattle Arts & Lectures, discussing his new book, Stress Test. It’s one of the best accounts of the financial panic I’ve read, with no petty score settling but full of useful information about how policy-makers addressed the Panic of 2008 and its aftermath. Often it is a gripping read.
It has also sparked plenty of criticism (see here, here, here and here). Martin Wolfe of Financial Times says, “Almost the only thing the left and right of U.S. politics agree upon, however, is that the actions taken during the crisis were a crime and a folly.”
My own view is that the actions taken by the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as the Federal Reserve, during the crisis avoided something even worse than the Great Depression. Policy after that was less satisfying, particularly allowing the Too Big to Fail Banks to get bigger and get back to business as usual, and the failure to criminally prosecute the banksters. That was a crime.
But maybe I’m wrong about the financial system today. What do you think?
This Week’s Links:
• The right way to control the banks | NY Review of Books
• Washington state defies minimum-wage logic | CNN Money
• Four lessons from Seattle’s 60-percent minimum-wage hike | The Great Debate
• I’m making $21 an hour at McDonald’s; why aren’t you? | The Great Debate
• Why America’s middle-class housing crunch is here to stay | BusinessWeek
• Net neutrality and the idea of America | The New Yorker
• Which flavor of QE? | Atlanta Fed Macroblog
Today’s Econ Haiku:
A real-estate boom
Towers, towers everywhere