Other People's Houses

How Decades of Bailouts, Captive Regulators, and Toxic Bankers Made Home Mortgages a Thrilling Business

Jennifer Taub; With a New Preface

View Inside Price: $20.00


May 26, 2015
424 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300212709
Paper

Also available in:
Cloth

The clearest explanation yet of how the financial crisis of 2008 developed and why it could happen again

In the wake of the financial meltdown in 2008, many claimed that it had been inevitable, that no one saw it coming, and that subprime borrowers were to blame. This accessible, thoroughly researched book is Jennifer Taub’s response to such unfounded claims. Drawing on wide-ranging experience as a corporate lawyer, investment firm counsel, and scholar of business law and financial market regulation, Taub chronicles how government officials helped bankers inflate the toxic-mortgage-backed housing bubble, then after the bubble burst ignored the plight of millions of homeowners suddenly facing foreclosure.
 
Focusing new light on the similarities between the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s and the financial crisis in 2008, Taub reveals that in both cases the same reckless banks, operating under different names, received government bailouts, while the same lax regulators overlooked fraud and abuse. Furthermore, in 2013 the situation is essentially unchanged. The author asserts that the 2008 crisis was not just similar to the S&L scandal, it was a severe relapse of the same underlying disease. And despite modest regulatory reforms, the disease remains uncured: top banks remain too big to manage, too big to regulate, and too big to fail.

Jennifer Taub is a professor at Vermont Law School and formerly an associate general counsel at Fidelity Investments. She lives in Northampton, MA.
"By unearthing the personal stories of homeowners, bankers, and regulators, Jennifer Taub shows that our recent financial crisis was no accident—it resulted from decades of government policies that bailed out banks and their wealthy executives while turning a blind eye to ordinary people."—James Kwak, co-author of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown and co-founder, The Baseline Scenario
 
“No matter how much you think you know about recent financial debacles, you will make some astonishing discoveries in Other People's Houses.  This is first-rate financial history.”--Marty Fridson, CEO, FridsonVision LLC
"Taub exposes three decades of predatory lenders, greedy investors, and lax regulators, with a much-needed focus on the dire consequences of preventing bankruptcy judges from restructuring mortgage debt.”—Julia Gordon, Director of Housing Policy, Center for American Progress
"A page-turner that reads like a Michael Lewis financial thriller, this bracing account of the roots of financial crises debunks stubborn myths with insight that would make Louis Brandeis proud."--Lawrence A. Cunningham, George Washington University, editor of The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America

"Demonstrating an academic's rigor and a style that is accessible to all, Taub takes us through decades of bad housing policy by bringing to life the greedy bankers and indifferent regulators who seem to keep bringing our financial system to its knees. Other People's Houses makes a relentless case for the need to level the playing field for Main Street homeowners and the consequences for our failure to do so. A must read for anyone seeking to understand the causes of the last financial crisis and why we may very well be heading towards another."--Neil Barofsky, former Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIG-TARP) and author of Bailout
"Taub argues persuasively how the seeds for the 2008 financial crisis were sown back in the 1980s as deregulation paved the way for the S&L debacle. But that was only an appetiser for even greater calamity later."--Mark Tran, The Guardian

“Shines a pitiless light on the subprime mortgage meltdown that kicked off the Great Recession . . . . Meticulously argued and guaranteed to raise the blood pressure of the average American taxpayer.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Provides a concise, clear, and compelling account.”—Glenn C. Altschuler, Huffington Post

"Over the years I’ve read a tall stack of books about the financial crisis. Other People’s Houses, by Vermont Law School professor Jennifer Taub, provides the clearest, beginning-to-end explanation I’ve seen of what went wrong. And Taub’s beginning is a surprise: A 1993 Supreme Court decision about how bankruptcy law applies to mortgages."—Pat Regnier, Money magazine

“[Other People’s Houses] reminds us that the nation’s economic troubles were entirely preventable. [Taub] pinpoints the key decisions—primarily by presidents, cabinet secretaries, key members of Congress, and government bank regulators—that allowed banks to engage in an orgy of speculation . . . They knew what they were doing and what the consequences might be.”—Peter Dreier, The American Prospect

“A must-read for those wanting to understand what happened to the American Dream of homeownership and building wealth by paying off one’s mortgage. . . . Taub tells a riveting story.”—Steven Pressman, Dollars & Sense

Made the 2015 Must-Read Nonfiction Book List compiled by the Massachusetts Center for the Book
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