More home foreclosures, swelling unemployment rolls, a weakening dollar, falling stock values and further
write-downs by major financial institutions have a lot of people worried about the American economy. Although the
present Washington administration refuses to use the word "recession," most experts admit we are in the opening
days of one.
Just released, Charles R. Morris' new book, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the
Giant Credit Crash, attempts to explain the factors that have created the most precarious financial environment
in recent history.
According to the financial writer, the sub-prime mortgage crisis is only an overview of the havoc that will play
out in the months to come as the full extent of the country's deep-seated economic problems come to light.
The astronomical leverage at major banks and their hedge funds and private equity clients virtually guarantees
massive disruption in national and global markets. After a quarter century of free-market zealotry that extolled
asset stripping, abusive lending, and hedge fund secrecy, it appears it is time to "pay the piper."
Without being overly pedantic, Morris explains the arcane financial instruments, the chicanery, the policy
misjudgments, the dogmas, and the delusions that created, in his estimation, the greatest credit bubble in world
Now that global confidence in American securities has been shattered and a weak dollar and low interest rates
are making foreign investors question the wisdom of keeping their money in this country, we are heading into even
stormier waters. High commodity prices for everything from corn and oil to metals are fueling inflation, which
poses an even more serious threat to the well-being of the average American.
Although this book doesn't offer any quick fixes for the current mess we are in, it does provide some
understanding as to not only how we reached this sorry situation but also what will have to be done to reshape the
political / economic landscape that will define the post-crash era.
Even though it's under 200 pages, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown is not a "quick" read. However, it will
provide some important background that will help decipher the meaning behind today's gloomy financial headlines.
For those who wonder "Why?," here's a place to get some answers!