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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“This is a must-read for anyone seeking an honest assessment of the government’s role in responding to the Great Recession. Mark Zandi’s clear and easy-to-understand analysis reaffirms my belief that the totality of the government’s response avoided a disaster and paved the way for a recovery.”
--SENATOR KENT CONRAD, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee
“When Mark Zandi talks, people listen. This fine book evaluates the policy responses to the financial crisis and the Great Recession in his usual authoritative and objective manner--a rare combination. You should read it.”
--ALAN S. BLINDER, Economics Professor, Princeton University, and former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve
“One of our most insightful economists examines the extraordinary actions the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and other authorities took to cope with the economic catastrophe that followed the financial crash of 2008. A readable, balanced account of what they did, why they did it, and how well it worked out--so far.”
--ALICE M. RIVLIN, the Brookings Institution, former Director of OMB and Vice Chair of the Fed
“I don’t agree with everything Mark Zandi has to say, but he gives readers a close-to-the-administration analysis of the economic problems and policies of the past five years. He writes clearly with the expertise of an economist who was close to the policy process but with the detachment of an informed outsider.”
--MARTIN FELDSTEIN, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, and President Emeritus, National Bureau of Economic Research
Pessimists say the U.S. economy is collapsing. The truth is American businesses are as competitive as they’ve been in 50 years.
Pessimists say that debt will strangle U.S. banks and consumers for years to come. The truth is we’ve already made more progress than you think.
Zandi has advised top policymakers, both Republicans and Democrats: In this book, he focuses on policy and evidence, not ideology. Look past the political squabbling, and the news is refreshing and positive--and Zandi’s evidence is compelling.
These days, good news is the most shocking news of all. But if you can handle the truth about the U.S. economy, read this book.
Four years ago, the U.S. financial system suffered catastrophic damage, and the global economy was near collapse. Today, although many Americans are still shell-shocked and much remains to be fixed, progress has been substantial. The economy is growing and creating jobs. House prices are stable. Stock prices are up. Debt burdens are down. The financial system is stronger. Best of all, American companies are in top shape and ready to compete with the world.
How did all this happen? According to widely quoted economist Mark Zandi, who has advised Republicans, Democrats, and top companies worldwide, government policy deserves much of the credit. The unprecedented official response to the crisis--from bailouts and fiscal stimulus to the Fed’s zero interest rates--remains intensely controversial. But it succeeded, Zandi argues, preventing a far worse economic catastrophe. Moreover, while the economy still faces serious challenges--including mounting government debt and dangerously high unemployment--there are good reasons to be optimistic. Indeed, the U.S. economic future has arguably never been brighter.
Mark Zandi is the Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics. He is the cofounder of an economic consulting firm that was purchased by the Moody’s Corporation in late 2005. His recent research has focused on assessing the economic impacts of tax and government spending policies, the appropriate monetary policy response to asset market bubbles, the determinants of foreclosure and personal bankruptcy, and housing and mortgage market policies. He is on the board of directors of MGIC, the nation’s largest mortgage insurer, and The Reinvestment Fund, a non-profit that combines public and private capital to make investments in grocery stores, charter schools, health centers, and other facilities in inner cities in the Northeast. A trusted adviser to policymakers and an influential source of economic analysis for businesses, journalists, and the public, he often testifies before Congress and appears on CNBC, NPR, CNN, and Meet the Press. He is the author of Financial Shock.
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