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A Bailout Botched By Centrists

If former Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has faced his share of criticism for his rocky tenure, Jesse Eisinger says, his new book makes clear that most of it should be borne by his old boss, President Obama.

Following up on his unsparing examination of the book, Stress Test, last week, Eisinger joins Steve Engelberg for ProPublica's newest podcast to expand on Obama's missed opportunities in the wake of the financial crisis.

Among the highlights:

* "I consider the Obama appointment of Geithner to be the single worst political mistake Obama made," Eisinger says, pointing out that as a former head of the New York Federal Reserve under President Bush, Geithner linked Obama politically to the status quo on financial regulation.

* A tendency to take the center road - even when sweeping change was needed - undid Obama's chances for lasting financial reform: "They compete in the Obama administration to be the one who bows the longest and the deepest to political reality," Eisinger says. "But I think that they significantly misread the moment of 2009."

Other resources from our financial coverage:

* Our reporting showing that as head of the New York Fed, Geithner missed clear signs of impending catastrophe before the financial crisis.

* Our series on the foreclosure crisis.

* Eisinger's reporting on the Volcker Rule.

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See also:

The Buck Stops With Obama On Tepid Financial Reform.

And:

The Wall Street Money Machine.

"As the housing market started to fade, bankers and hedge funds scrambled for ways to maintain the lavish bonuses and profits they had become so accustomed to, repackaging mortgages in complex securities called collateralized debt obligations. The booming CDO market masked how weak the housing market was, and exacerbated its collapse."

Including:

* The Rise Of Corporate Impunity.

* How Bank Of America Execs Hid Their Losses - In Their Own Words.

* How A Handful Of Merrill Lynch Bankers Blew Up Their Own Firm.

* Banks' Self-Dealing Super-Charged Financial Crisis.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on May 30, 2014


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