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Infiltrated: How to Stop the Insiders and Activists Who Are Exploiting the Financial Crisis to Control Our Lives and Our Fortunes

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What Every American Needs to Know About the War on Free Enterprise--and Freedom Itself America: be warned. A new wave of financial reformers has infiltrated our public institutions at both the state and national levels. A growing army of self-proclaimed activists, philanthropists, and politicians has infiltrated not only the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but the FD What Every American Needs to Know About the War on Free Enterprise--and Freedom Itself America: be warned. A new wave of financial reformers has infiltrated our public institutions at both the state and national levels. A growing army of self-proclaimed activists, philanthropists, and politicians has infiltrated not only the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but the FDIC, the Treasury, and other regulatory agencies. This explosive new book from New York Times bestselling author Jay W. Richards reveals the shocking truth about: The latest financial regulations--what every consumer and businessperson needs to know The Dodd-Frank Reform Act--how it targets the wrong people and problems Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau--what they're really up to Consumer credit and debt--why we need to stop blaming the banks The war against free enterprise--what you can do to fight back This startling account walks you through America's government and financial industry from the inside out--exposing the surprising history, the colorful characters, and the earthshaking events that got us where we are today. You'll meet the political ideologues and extremists whose good intentions paved the road to financial hell. You'll witness the "blame game" in action, as politicians and the media use the 2008 meltdown as an excuse to further their own agendas. You'll learn about the terrible consequences that sweeping government reforms have on small businesses and other industries that had nothing to do with the financial crisis. Finally, you'll find a special resource section of positive actions and ideas to help you stand up and speak out for your rights. America is at a crossroads. It is time for us to choose between stricter government control that limits our freedom or a more open free market that is the key to prosperity. This book could make all the difference. FREE ENTERPRISE IS UNDER ATTACK. THIS BOOK IS AMERICA'S WAKE-UP CALL. "Big government statists have created a destructive myth that deregulation and greed caused the financial crisis. Richards demonstrates that altruistic government policies supported by crony socialists were the primary cause of the crisis. It is important to debunk the statist myth, because it has been the justification for extremely harmful public policies." John Allison, President and CEO, Cato Institute, and New York Times bestselling author of The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure "Infiltrated strips the pretense of compassion from 'community action' and rips away the patina of idealism from housing 'fairness' hustles. . . . While naming the names and crimes of housing 'charity' scammers, Richards expounds an inspiring liberation philosophy of true economic compassion and win-win economic growth for all." George Gilder, author of Knowledge and Power "Fearless and brilliant. Dr. Richards boldly addresses important consumer lending issues in a detailed and exhaustive manner. You may not like his conclusions, but to detractors I say prove him wrong. The absolute best book of its kind." Harold A. Black, PhD, Smith Professor of Finance (Emeritus), University of Tennessee "If you want to know why the popular wisdom about the causes and effects of the financial crisis is mostly wrong, and how such myths will help facilitate similar crises in the future, Jay Richards's Infiltrated is an eye-opener." Samuel Gregg, author of Becoming Europe


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What Every American Needs to Know About the War on Free Enterprise--and Freedom Itself America: be warned. A new wave of financial reformers has infiltrated our public institutions at both the state and national levels. A growing army of self-proclaimed activists, philanthropists, and politicians has infiltrated not only the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but the FD What Every American Needs to Know About the War on Free Enterprise--and Freedom Itself America: be warned. A new wave of financial reformers has infiltrated our public institutions at both the state and national levels. A growing army of self-proclaimed activists, philanthropists, and politicians has infiltrated not only the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but the FDIC, the Treasury, and other regulatory agencies. This explosive new book from New York Times bestselling author Jay W. Richards reveals the shocking truth about: The latest financial regulations--what every consumer and businessperson needs to know The Dodd-Frank Reform Act--how it targets the wrong people and problems Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau--what they're really up to Consumer credit and debt--why we need to stop blaming the banks The war against free enterprise--what you can do to fight back This startling account walks you through America's government and financial industry from the inside out--exposing the surprising history, the colorful characters, and the earthshaking events that got us where we are today. You'll meet the political ideologues and extremists whose good intentions paved the road to financial hell. You'll witness the "blame game" in action, as politicians and the media use the 2008 meltdown as an excuse to further their own agendas. You'll learn about the terrible consequences that sweeping government reforms have on small businesses and other industries that had nothing to do with the financial crisis. Finally, you'll find a special resource section of positive actions and ideas to help you stand up and speak out for your rights. America is at a crossroads. It is time for us to choose between stricter government control that limits our freedom or a more open free market that is the key to prosperity. This book could make all the difference. FREE ENTERPRISE IS UNDER ATTACK. THIS BOOK IS AMERICA'S WAKE-UP CALL. "Big government statists have created a destructive myth that deregulation and greed caused the financial crisis. Richards demonstrates that altruistic government policies supported by crony socialists were the primary cause of the crisis. It is important to debunk the statist myth, because it has been the justification for extremely harmful public policies." John Allison, President and CEO, Cato Institute, and New York Times bestselling author of The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure "Infiltrated strips the pretense of compassion from 'community action' and rips away the patina of idealism from housing 'fairness' hustles. . . . While naming the names and crimes of housing 'charity' scammers, Richards expounds an inspiring liberation philosophy of true economic compassion and win-win economic growth for all." George Gilder, author of Knowledge and Power "Fearless and brilliant. Dr. Richards boldly addresses important consumer lending issues in a detailed and exhaustive manner. You may not like his conclusions, but to detractors I say prove him wrong. The absolute best book of its kind." Harold A. Black, PhD, Smith Professor of Finance (Emeritus), University of Tennessee "If you want to know why the popular wisdom about the causes and effects of the financial crisis is mostly wrong, and how such myths will help facilitate similar crises in the future, Jay Richards's Infiltrated is an eye-opener." Samuel Gregg, author of Becoming Europe

39 review for Infiltrated: How to Stop the Insiders and Activists Who Are Exploiting the Financial Crisis to Control Our Lives and Our Fortunes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    Jay Richards takes a unique approach to discussing the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. His main purpose here is to tell the story of some of the real people and policies that brought about the crash. The first half of the book chronicles the personal and professional history of a few characters who remain somewhat out of sight, beyond the typically mainstream focus on investment bankers and stock market traders. The second half focuses on the effects of legislation to purportedly prevent an Jay Richards takes a unique approach to discussing the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. His main purpose here is to tell the story of some of the real people and policies that brought about the crash. The first half of the book chronicles the personal and professional history of a few characters who remain somewhat out of sight, beyond the typically mainstream focus on investment bankers and stock market traders. The second half focuses on the effects of legislation to purportedly prevent another crisis, and articulates how free market principles are better. Richards first tells the story of Herb and Marion Sandler, liberal philanthropists and activists who grew their Golden West Financial Corporation into one of the largest sub-prime lenders in the country. They invented the "pick a payment" loan model and lent billions of dollars in option-ARM mortgages; after the crisis hit, these loans became known as "toxic" or "zombie" mortgages. The Sandlers sold their company to Wachovia at the peak of the real estate boom, right before the crash, and the massive losses that resulted were among the primary forces that pulled Wachovia under. Before the financial crisis hit and their lending practices came under more scrutiny, the Sandlers were adored by the media as advocates for sound financial policies that (supposedly) helped the poor, and they were known for their benevolent and generous philanthropy. Herb Sandler often railed publicly against sub-prime mortgages and the need for stricter regulations on lenders; but Richards shows unequivocally that the Sandlers literally invented the worst sub-prime products in the market, and were able to sell them by loosening lending standards--all in the name of helping the poor. Side note: Richards recounts the fascinating story of a Saturday Night Live sketch from 2008 that, in addition to criticizing the Democrats for missing the signs of the crisis at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and mocking sub-prime borrowers for taking out loans they obviously weren't qualified for, viciously criticized the Sandlers for building a multi-billion dollar portfolio of risky mortgages and selling it to Wachovia. The sketch was of a mock C-SPAN press conference, and the on-screen description below the Sandlers' names identified them as "people who should be shot." It caused quite a ruckus among the media and liberal elite, and the Sandlers' outrage was enough to get NBC to first edit the online video of the sketch, and then eventually pull it entirely. (Fortunately, Archive.org has an unedited copy.) Here is one of the most shocking facts about the crisis that I wasn't aware of, and which isn't included in the mainstream narrative:As a result of the arduous efforts to expand homeownership, by 2008 about 27 million loans "were subprime or otherwise risky loans"--that is, nontraditional loans. That was half the mortgages in the United States! …. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac held 12 million of those loans. FHA and other federal agencies (such as the Veterans Administration and Federal Home Loan Banks) held 5 million, and Community Reinvestment Act and HUD programs held another 2.2. million. That's a total of 19.2 million risky loans held by entities controlled by or within the federal government, leaving 7.8 million for Countrywide, Wall Street, and so forth. Let that fact sink in, because this is the one that shatters all the mythology surrounding the financial crisis. Two-thirds of all risky loans in the system "were held by the government or entities acting under government control," and they existed because of aggressive government housing policy. (160-1) The next culprit of the financial crisis that Richards profiles is the Center for Responsible Lending, a non-profit advocacy group that fights against predatory mortgages, payday loans and other financial products that are purportedly harmful to the poor. Richards carefully catalogues the socialistic assumptions and deceptive advocacy practices underlying this organization and its founder, Martin Eakes. CRL has successfully banished--or smothered under onerous regulations--the short-term (payday) loan industry in a variety of states. But Richards defends this industry in principle (in practice, of course, there are always some bad actors), arguing that payday loans are actually a net benefit to the low income areas they crop up in. Like Richards before he did his research, I had always thought payday lenders were predatory and destructive, trapping the poor in a cycle of bad debt and high interest rates. But Richards shows that this industry is unfairly demonized. One way opponents cast these loans in the worst possible light is by forcing lenders to publish their fees in the format of an APR (annual percentage rate). If a lender loans somebody $100 for a short term (two weeks) and charges a $15 fee to cover risks and underwriting expenses, that seems pretty reasonable. "But when you extrapolate the rate out over a full year"--which advocacy groups want to force lenders to do, even though it's a useless measure for an extremely short-term loan--"the APR is a whopping 391.07 percent." Richards continues: Do you see the problem? Using APR to express the consumer's cost for any small-dollar loan is misleading and virtually useless. It is like comparing the price per mile on taxi service in Manhattan with the price per mile on a roundtrip flight between New York and Los Angeles. The flight cost $70 per 1,000 miles. The tax will run you over $2,000 for the same distance, and that's if you don't catch any red lights. Thieving taxi drivers! This way of measuring consumer loans' cost makes the cab ride look like a huge rip-off, when it could very well be your best way to get from Battery Park to Eighty-Fifth Street for a job interview. That's why Dr. Harold Black, Professor of Financial Institutions at the University of Tennessee and an expert on APR policy, says that for small, short-term loans, APR is a "terrible metric to use to measure lending costs." (211) This industry is far from perfect, but it seems to me that they do bring a lot of value to low-income borrowers. (This section was very timely for me to have read, considering the recent and much-ballyhooed comedic commentary by John Oliver on this very topic.) Later on, Richards discusses the devastating effects of the Dodd-Frank legislation that Congress passed on the wake of the financial crisis. Dodd-Frank truly is unlike any other regulatory legislation in history; where past efforts have focused narrowly on particular topics, Dodd-Frank is extremely open-ended, creating a new regulatory agency that is unaccountable to Congress (either via oversight or even through the power of the purse) and given obscenely broad powers to pursue its interests for and against private enterprise. It effectively enshrines "too big to fail" into law, creating even more layers of uncertainty and skewed incentives in the marketplace. The more I read about this law--which is not even fully implemented or defined, and continues to metastasize each year--the more concerned I get about the sheer totalitarian nature of it. It is blatantly unconsitutional, and Richards describes a host of additional problems with the law. Richards closes with a discussion of his proposed solution: less coercive and intrusive government and freer markets. He wonders aloud what is "the best way to discourage [a company like] Goldman Sachs from taking foolish risks that will lead to its bankruptcy." He answers: Two main alternatives: (1) the federal government could write rules of incomprehensible detail and complexity to try to account for every possible eventuality and so prevent collapse at Goldman Sachs or rescue it before it collapses; or, (2) the government could clearly and consistently maintain the policy that the companies and executives that take risks in the hope of future benefit get to enjoy those benefits if they succeed, but must bear the weight of the consequences if they fail. The first option would almost certainly destroy the institution being regulated. The second option, however, would create market discipline, which is the greatest regulator, because it aligns incentives correctly. It strengthens and clarifies the key market signal. Any secondary regulations imposed by government should strengthen that key signal--namely, that you gain when your risks pan out, and you pay the consequences if they fail. At the very least, it should not interfere with it. Unfortunately, this commonsense market regulator has been mostly scrambled and subverted by a government preference for option number 1--our old friend, the moral hazard. (225)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve Stanton

    Infiltrated is a wake-up call for Americans who have had their future sold out by their own government. According to the author’s insightful analysis of the recent financial debacle, government regulators forced lenders to meet high quotas of risky subprime mortgages, creating an artificial boom in house prices and credit securities, and then blamed the banks when a proverbial house of cards toppled over. Now with a debt larger than the economy, the American government is using the financial cri Infiltrated is a wake-up call for Americans who have had their future sold out by their own government. According to the author’s insightful analysis of the recent financial debacle, government regulators forced lenders to meet high quotas of risky subprime mortgages, creating an artificial boom in house prices and credit securities, and then blamed the banks when a proverbial house of cards toppled over. Now with a debt larger than the economy, the American government is using the financial crisis as an excuse for even more harmful regulation of the banking industry and increased manipulation of civil society.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    I wish it was possible to read a book such as this and stay focused on the facts without framing the bad guys as either Liberal or Conservative, Democrat vs. Republican. The book was interesting and well researched, but I started getting the feeling half way through that the "truth" was focused more on Liberal is bad and Conservative is good. I finished reading the book feeling like, "Well it appears that the Democrats have learned well from decades of exploitation exhibited from the Republican I wish it was possible to read a book such as this and stay focused on the facts without framing the bad guys as either Liberal or Conservative, Democrat vs. Republican. The book was interesting and well researched, but I started getting the feeling half way through that the "truth" was focused more on Liberal is bad and Conservative is good. I finished reading the book feeling like, "Well it appears that the Democrats have learned well from decades of exploitation exhibited from the Republican side."

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Haines

    I am not an economist in any way shape or form. On top of that I am Canadian, and so, much of this book was news to me. It was an enthralling book. I learned alot, and enjoyed reading it from beginning to end. For me full review see my blog (philosopherdhaines.blogspot.ca) sometime after the 29th of November, 2013.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rich Cromwell

    I have a signed copy from the author. Dr Richards is a compelling writer.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  7. 5 out of 5

    Larry Thacker Jr.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Sautter

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Zatolokin

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barrett

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Griffith

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nolan Hunter

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gerald

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Frazer

  16. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul A. Saale

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jon Hill

  19. 5 out of 5

    Erik Van

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bart Christensen

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sa Walton

  22. 5 out of 5

    Branndon

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tino

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

  26. 4 out of 5

    Trent England

  27. 5 out of 5

    Doug

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tom Wannamaker

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jr

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tia

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  32. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  33. 5 out of 5

    Jeremie

  34. 5 out of 5

    Quincy

  35. 5 out of 5

    Foxglove

  36. 4 out of 5

    Tomáš Zemko

  37. 5 out of 5

    Azusa

  38. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Kinkley

  39. 4 out of 5

    Steve

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