Through the eyes of experts and former employees on Wall Street, The Men Who Stole the World examines how a group of powerful executives helped trigger one of the largest global financial crises ever, how they got away with it, and why another crisis may be under way.
It wisely sold them when prices were high. Treasury bonds. In between discussions at the US Treasury, chaired by the increasingly beleaguered Paulson, Alistair Darling was firming up the details of which banks would take how much from the Treasury's bail-out; and negotiating with the Icelandic government about the return of UK consumers' deposits in the banking sector.
The following day, Blackstone Group, manager of the world's biggest buyout fund, revealed it had suffered a 90 per cent profit drop during its fourth quarter. And then what? We are not there, at least not yet. In September, the treasury announced it would rescue the government-supervised mortgage underwriters almost universally known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
This is largely because of the central role played by the banks of major capitalist states. Sanders reported in December : "We find limited evidence that substantial deterioration in CMBS [commercial mortgage-backed securities] loan underwriting occurred prior to the crisis.
They knew only that the rating agencies said it was as safe as houses always had been, at least since the Depression. If these accounts had gone bankrupt, business activities and the economy would have ground to a halt.
Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky called the bailouts "a calamity for our free-market system" and, essentially, "socialism"—albeit the sort of socialism that favored Wall Street, rather than workers.