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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Book Review- In Fed We Trust

I ran into one blogger's summary of the good bits of David Wessel's In Fed We Trust.

Bernanke, on Lehman (emphasis mine): "Bernanke also made it clear that had Congress given the Fed and the Treasury more authority sooner — for example, had the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) been enacted earlier — he would not have let Lehman fail. 'We could have saved it. We would have saved it,' he said in an interview in October 2008. 'Even then, it would have been politically tough because of the risks to the taxpayer that would have been involved. And, of course, if Lehman hadn't failed, the public would not have seen the resulting damage and the story line would have been that such extraordinary intervention was unnecessary.'" (This actually strikes me as very politically astute. Bernanke was right, of course: if they had asked Congress for the TARP any sooner than they did, they would have been laughed out of the room.)

So I decided to find out what the professional reviewers over at the NY Times thought of it:

In this volume Mr. Wessel uses his narrative gifts and a plethora of sources to give readers a vivid, highly immediate sense of what transpired in last-minute, high-pressure, seat-of-their-pants meetings in Washington and New York while placing these events in a broader historical context. He examines the Fed’s increasingly important (and increasingly debated) role as an economic first responder, looks at how personality and personal philosophy can inform policy making and offers a concise explication of the causes of what he calls “The Great Panic.” (more)

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