Roger Lowenstein did not succeed in being first to market with his book on the financial crisis. However, it is fair to say that The End of Wall Street represents one of the best portrayals of the events leading up to the subprime meltdown that ultimately triggered the unprecedented collapse in September 2008 and prompted the type of government intervention previously considered unthinkable in America. Mr. Lowenstein’s book is well suited for a reader who is unfamiliar with the details of the crisis and is looking for a concise presentation with the right balance between a careful accounting of the facts and the personalities involved in the crisis. Read this article for a review of the book.
Roger Lowenstein is the author of five books covering financial markets. His latest book, The End of Wall Street, was published in April. Mr. Lowenstein is also the author of an excellent biography on Warren Buffett written in 1995 which we reviewed previously. In an article for the Washington Post today, Mr. Lowenstein makes the case for more timely intervention by the Federal Reserve when financial market bubbles are forming. Read this article for a brief excerpt and more commentary.
In the late 1990s, pension funds decided that it would be a good idea to purchase stocks near the peak of the technology bubble. Strike one. In the mid 2000s, the idea was to join the private equity and hedge fund wave sweeping over Wall Street just in time for the 2008 financial crisis. Strike two. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that public pension funds have decided to employ leverage in order to boost the low returns offered by bonds. Read this article for a preview of “strike three”.
Roger Lowenstein’s work has been discussed in some detail on The Rational Walk over the past few months. Lowenstein is the author of Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist which was reviewed last month. More recently, he wrote While America Aged which covers several case studies related to the pension crisis in the United States (this book was reviewed in February). Given Lowenstein’s background, I was interested to read his review this morning in The Washington Post of an upcoming book by Justin Fox covering the unavoidable implications recent history has on various theories of “market efficiency”. Read this article for further details.
Fortune Magazine recently published an article outlining New Jersey’s pension dilemma. Based on the information in this article, it appears that New Jersey could very well be the canary in the coalmine when it comes to the widespread pension crises that threaten to impact states and municipalities throughout the country. Let’s take a look at New Jersey’s situation and the broader implications for taxpayers, bondholders, and retirees.