Uncle Sam in Pinstripes is an accessible primer on U.S. federal lending, providing an instructive look at one of the most important interfaces between the U.S. government and its citizens as well as the transactions that result. Douglas Elliott's introductory chapter makes clear the critical importance of federal credit programs and hints at some of their complexities. The remainder of this book fills in the details—the how, what, why, and the ramifications—allowing readers of all stripes to understand the history, current state, and key policy issues surrounding federal credit provision. No picture of the U.S. economy is complete without a fuller understanding of this increasingly important sector.
There is considerable evidence that taxpayers are not receiving the value for money that they should. The author believes that a number of steps should be taken to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of federal credit programs. These are explained in the final chapter and include the following actions, among many others:
• Target borrowers more carefully. • Take into account more fully the relative risk of different loans. • Use the same budget rules for all federal credit programs. • Use risk-based discount rates for federal budget purposes. • Create a federal bank to administer all credit programs.
Douglas J. Elliott is a fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he is part of the Initiative on Business and Public Policy. He was an investment banker for two decades, specializing in financial institutions, and also served as founder, president, and principal researcher for the Center on Federal Financial Institutions.
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In her groundbreaking reporting over the past few years, Naomi Klein introduced the term "disaster capitalism." Whether covering Baghdad after the U.S. occupation, Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami, or New Orleans post-Katrina, she witnessed something remarkably similar. People still reeling from catastrophe were being hit again, this time with economic "shock treatment," losing their land and homes to rapid-fire corporate makeovers.
The Shock Doctrine retells the story of the most dominant ideology of our time, Milton Friedman's free market economic revolution. In contrast to the popular myth of this movement's peaceful global victory, Klein shows how it has exploited moments of shock and extreme violence in order to implement its economic policies in so many parts of the world from Latin America and Eastern Europe to South Africa, Russia, and Iraq.
At the core of disaster capitalism is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization combined with the privatization of the disaster response itself. Klein argues that by capitalizing on crises, created by nature or war, the disaster capitalism complex now exists as a booming new economy, and is the violent culmination of a radical economic project that has been incubating for fifty years.
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William Bernstein’s commonsense approach to portfolio construction has served investors well during the past turbulent decade—and it’s what made The Four Pillars of Investing an instant classic when it was first published nearly a decade ago.
This down-to-earth book lays out in easy-to-understand prose the four essential topics that every investor must master: the relationship of risk and reward, the history of the market, the psychology of the investor and the market, and the folly of taking financial advice from investment salespeople.
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Investing is not a destination. It is a journey, and along the way are stockbrokers, journalists, and mutual fund companies whose interests are diametrically opposed to yours.
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