On the Brink is the story of the extraordinary times that brought about the present
economic recession. We all pray this doesn't become a global depression. We don't need another
Mr. Paulson was given the job of helping George Bush turn the economy back around after the
housing market tanked as people who'd bought houses they couldn't afford hit the end of their
financial rope and began leaving banks and others holding the mortgage bag. Even Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac were in big trouble. Extraordinary measures were needed to stave off a complete
The first idea Mr. Paulson had was to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by placing both
mortgage giants into receivership. They would then be sold or run by the federal government.
Mr. Paulson felt the move would be reassuring to investors and calm the market. But, considering
the Republican party's history with the economy, the move had the opposite effect. Investors
shied away from big lenders and other giants began to fail.
On the Brink is a lesson in how not to save an economy. Standard measures failed.
Mr. Paulson describes in great detail the inner workings of the Treasury Department and what
they went through with Congress as they extended their legal powers so they could take the
extreme actions they did to save the American economy. He also details the reactions as
everything backfired. That was the point where the American economy swirled down into the
sewer, taking the world financial system with it.
If you want insight into big finance, listen to this book. It's economics and history
wrapped up into one, a detailed, well written account that will open your eyes.