Ep.88 – An Inside Account of the Financial Crisis

This is our third and final installment of shows looking back on the financial crisis of ten years ago. It was such a big moment we felt we needed to devote most of September to remembering how the U.S. financial system was brought to its knees.

Today we get the inside account from Neil Barofsky, the former Inspector General of TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and author of Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street.

As you’ll hear, the discussion is basically a play-by-play of how the Treasury Department bungled the financial bailouts.

At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Barofsky gave up his job as a prosecutor in the esteemed U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City, where he had convicted drug kingpins, Wall Street executives, and perpetrators of mortgage fraud, to become the inspector general in charge of overseeing administration of the bailout money.

It’s fascinating to hear him talk about how from the onset, his efforts to protect against fraud and to hold big banks accountable for how they spent taxpayer money were met with outright hostility from Treasury officials in charge of the bailouts.

Barofsky offers an insider’s perspective on the mishandling of the $700 billion TARP bailout fund. There’s no holding back as he reveals the extreme lengths to which our government officials were willing to go in order to serve the interests of Wall Street firms at the expense of the broader public, and at the expense of effective financial reform.

Just like the book, this interview delivered an incredible account of Barofsky’s plunge into the political hot-seat of Washington, as well as a vital revelation of just how captured by Wall Street our political system is and why the too-big-to-fail banks have become even bigger and more dangerous in the wake of the crisis.

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Better Off is sponsored by Betterment.

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“Better Off” theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.