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The Complete Idiot's Guide® To The Great Recession

Book Description

The truth behind the causes and effects of America's economic downturn.

The Complete Idiot's Guide® to the Financial Crisis explains the root causes and connects the events and issues with the problems that have confronted Americans over the course of more than a year, giving readers an unvarnished, unbiased, and in-depth analysis of the factors that lead up to the crisis, the major events that defined it, and the decisions and ramifications that resulted from it.

*Interest in the financial crisis continues to build with several high- profile books and an HBO movie due out in 2010, as well as the success of Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story

*Much of the financial crisis writing to date has been of the breaking news variety-this book will be one of the first books published after the smoke has cleared to offer a comprehensive analysis of what happened and how

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Introduction
  4. Part 1 - The Causes of the Crisis
    1. Chapter 1 - How Did We Get into This Mess?
      1. Four Fatal Factors and the Key Players
      2. Fatal Factor #1: Low Interest Rates and Easy Money
      3. Fatal Factor #2: The Housing Bubble
      4. Fatal Factor #3: New Mortgages and Bad Credit Policy
      5. Fatal Factor #4: Mortgage-Backed Securities and Derivatives
      6. The Rest of the Story
    2. Chapter 2 - The Housing Crisis—Markets Gone Wild
      1. Encouraging Homeownership
      2. Mortgage Market Changes
      3. Meet Fannie and Freddie
      4. MBSs Explained
      5. Rating Agencies: Asleep at the Switch
      6. The Bubble Bursts
      7. Mortgage Meltdown in the Rearview Mirror
    3. Chapter 3 - Debt Debacles and Financial Follies
      1. How Debt Became the American Way of Life
      2. I.O.U. (Signed) Uncle Sam
      3. Household Finance
      4. Lead Balloon: A Whole Lotta Leverage
      5. Wall Street Lived Large with Leverage
      6. Credit Default Swaps: Bad Boys or Good Guys?
  5. Part 2 - Government Responds to the Crisis
    1. Chapter 4 - Steps Taken by Bush and Obama
      1. Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008
      2. Federal Takeover of Indy Mac Bank
      3. Government Takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
      4. Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
      5. The Obama Stimulus Plan
      6. It Passed, and It Helped
    2. Chapter 5 - Steps Taken by the Federal Reserve
      1. Why Are Banks So Important?
      2. What “Too Big to Fail” Means
      3. Helping the Banks
      4. Actions Taken by the Federal Reserve
      5. The Fed’s Expanding Balance Sheet
      6. What Needs Reforming?
      7. Bank on It?
    3. Chapter 6 - Global Effects of the Crisis
      1. Canada: Sensible, as Usual
      2. It’s Contagious: The Crisis in Europe
      3. In the United Kingdom
      4. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
      5. European Economic Effects
      6. Differences Across the Pond
      7. Greek Tragedy?
      8. A Bit About Asia
      9. The Crisis’ Effects on Developing Economies
      10. The World Outlook for 2009 and 2010
  6. Part 3 - Lessons from Past Recessions and Expansions
    1. Chapter 7 - Recent Economic Cycles and the S&L Crisis
      1. The Sluggish ’70s
      2. The 1980s Go Bust, Then Boom
      3. The “Bush I” Recession
      4. The Savings and Loan Crisis
      5. Past Business Cycles
    2. Chapter 8 - The Great Depression and Its Lasting Effects
      1. Life Before the Depression
      2. The Arc of the Depression
      3. Measures During the Depression
      4. Measures Passed in 1934 and 1935
      5. FDR’s Economic Legacy
    3. Chapter 9 - How the U.S. Middle Class Lost Ground
      1. Middle-Class Losers?
      2. The Class of the 1900s
      3. Six Drivers of Middle-Class Growth
      4. What Happened?
      5. From Production to Consumption
  7. Part 4 - The Impact on Consumers and Households
    1. Chapter 10 - Unemployment—Past, Present, and Potential
      1. Unemployment Has Changed
      2. Past and Future Highs and Lows
      3. Unemployment Compensation: Temporary Safety Net
      4. Where Will Future Growth Come From?
    2. Chapter 11 - Income, Wealth, and Savings—Then and Now
      1. Our Standard of Living
      2. How U.S. Living Standards Have Changed
      3. Income Versus Wealth—Bet on Wealth
      4. The Wealth Effect and Wealth Destruction in the Crisis
      5. The Productivity-and-Wage Divide
      6. The U.S. Savings Rate Has Decreased
    3. Chapter 12 - Consumers and Consumption: A Changing Picture
      1. Five Key Trends Affecting Consumption
      2. What Consumers Spend On
      3. The Effects of Consumers’ Retreat
  8. Part 5 - The Impact on Industries and States
    1. Chapter 13 - The Auto Industry: In a Ditch or a Turnaround?
      1. Autos Not Immune
      2. Four Key Points
      3. The Economic Importance of the Auto
      4. Skidding Sales Stall the Industry
      5. Bailouts and Bankruptcies
      6. Ford: The First Born
      7. General Motors: Once the Biggest
      8. Chrysler: Smallest of the Big Three
      9. Cash for Clunkers Program
      10. The United Auto Workers
      11. Political Views of the Bailouts
    2. Chapter 14 - U.S. Industrial Problems and Potential
      1. The Importance of Business Investment
      2. A High-Level, Historic View
      3. What Does the Decline in Manufacturing Mean?
      4. Exports, Currencies, and Recoveries
    3. Chapter 15 - The State of the States
      1. Fifty Different Economies
      2. Regions of Recession
      3. Some State Stories
      4. State-by-State Employment Stats
      5. All Economics Isn’t Local
  9. Part 6 - Structural Problems in the U.S. Economy
    1. Chapter 16 - Taxes, Deficits, and Social Security
      1. A Taxing Situation
      2. The U.S. Federal Budget
      3. The Ballooning Federal Deficit
      4. The Effect of the Obama Budgets
      5. The Biggies: Social Security and Medicare
      6. Social Security Crisis—Coming or Not?
      7. Healing Medicare
    2. Chapter 17 - Curing the Sickness of U.S. Health Care
      1. The Current U.S. System
      2. Health-Care Reform or Insurance Reform?
      3. Why the U.S. System Is So Hard to Change
      4. Why the Current System Is Unsustainable
      5. The Policy Options
      6. Proposed 2009 Reforms
    3. Chapter 18 - The Economics of Sustainable Growth
      1. Sustainability, Politics, and Policies
      2. Aspects of Sustainability
      3. Environmental Impact and Natural Resources
      4. Population and Nutrition Issues
      5. Energy Availability and Usage
      6. Infrastructure
      7. Innovation and Education
      8. Factors Working For and Against U.S. Sustainability
      9. Meanwhile, Around the World
  10. Part 7 - The Economy Going Forward
    1. Chapter 19 - The Financial System Recovers?
      1. The Nature of the Financial Markets
      2. The U.S. Government and the Financial Crisis
      3. What the Financial Markets Said
      4. Back to a Bubble?
      5. Trends to Expect in Financial Services Regulation
    2. Chapter 20 - Ongoing Global Economic Forces
      1. Global Liquidity Dynamics
      2. The United States in a Global Context
      3. The Fall of the Dollar
      4. A World of Debt
      5. Spinning into the Future
    3. Chapter 21 - The Shape of Things to Come
      1. Housing at the End of the Recession
      2. The Postrecession U.S. Economy
      3. Looking Ahead
      4. Is There a “New Normal”?
      5. Report Card on Initiatives
      6. The Risks Are Significant
      7. We Will Survive