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Review: “The Bullies of Wall St”

The Honorable Sheila C. Bair

(Emissourian) – Former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Sheila Bair, has written a young reader’s primer about the 2008 financial collapse and its impact on families. Bair was at the helm of this potent United States bank regulator from June 2006 to July 2011. When the financial crisis hit, she was in the middle of the storm.

“The Bullies of Wall St” is an insider’s perspective on the 2008-2009 economic crisis and how government officials responded to it. Intended as an explanation for young readers, the book also helps adults better understand the crisis and its effect on lives today.

The heated arguments between Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner and Mrs. Bair are compelling and frightening. She characterizes the Treasury Department as robustly supporting Wall Street interests while the FDIC defended the interests of ordinary people who were losing their homes.

In a heart-wrenching example, Baer describes a family who loses their home and their life’s savings in the financial upheaval. To bring the crisis down to a level understandable to young people, she describes how that family had to give up their dog because a landlord would not allow Attila into their new apartment residence.

The author chronicles the terrible decisions made by CEOs of multinational banks and the greedy decisions made by powerbrokers who put themselves ahead of the common good.

Her explanation of financial terms such as “mortgage originators” and “securitization” are very helpful for young people as well as adults appreciative of a simple explanation of the multi-faceted national crisis.

“The Bullies of Wall St” is published by Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing Division. Whatever your age, if you think you could never understand the complexities of the financial collapse and recession, this is the book for you.

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