Bailouts — Public Money, Private Profit Today's financial crisis was caused by the dismal failures of regulators, market analysts, and corporate executives, yet the response of the American government has been to bail out the very institutions and individuals that have wrought such havoc upon the nation. Are such massive bailouts really called for? Are they capable of success? Helping to make sense of this hotly debated issue, Robert E. Wright and his colleagues provide an unbiased history of government bailouts and a frank assessment of their effectiveness. This book depicts colonial America's struggle with the country's first dangerous real estate bubble, as well as the British government's counterproductive response, which limited trade and shrank the money supply. It explains how Alexander Hamilton saved a young nation by allowing central banks and other lenders to bail out distressed but sound businesses without rewarding or encouraging the risky ones. And it shows how, in the second half of the twentieth century, governments began to bail out distressed companies, industries, and even entire economies in ways that subsidized risk takers at the expense of taxpayers, while interventions made over the past four decades have failed to reinvigorate sagging economies. By peering into America's use of public money to save private profit, this volume demystifies the challenges now facing the Obama administration and offers better ways to control risk in the future. Anyone touched by our present economic crisis will find a trove of useful information in this book.