Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street From Wall Street and Wall Street From Itself
Chat with Sheila Bair about her new book. Hosted by James Galbraith.
Sheila Bair is widely acknowledged in government circles and the media as one of the first people to identify and accurately assess the subprime crisis. Appointed by George W. Bush as the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 2006, she witnessed the origins of the financial crisis and in 2008 became—along with Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Timothy Geithner—one of the key players trying to repair the damage to our economy. Bull by the Horns is her remarkable and refreshingly honest account of that contentious time and the struggle for reform that followed and continues to this day.
A level-headed, pragmatic figure with a clear focus on serving the public good, Bair was often one of the few women in the room during heated discussions about the economy. Despite her years of experience and her determination to rein in the private banks and Wall Street, she frequently found herself at odds with Geithner. She is withering in her assessment of some of Wall Street’s finest, and her narrative of Citibank’s attempted takeover of Wachovia is a stinging indictment of how regulators and the banks worked against the public interest at times to serve their own needs.
Bair is steadfast in her belief that the American public needs to fully understand the crisis in order to bring it to an end. Critical of the bank bailouts and the Can. $29.99 lax regulation that led to the economic crash, she provides a sober analysis as well as a practical plan for how we should move forward. She helps clear away the myths and half-truths about how we ran our economic engine into the ditch and tells us how we can help get our financial and regulatory systems back on track.
As The New Yorker said, “Bair has consistently stood out for her skepticism of Wall Street and for her eagerness to confront the big banks. A Kansas Republican, she has become an unlikely hero to economic liberals, who see her as the counterweight to the more Wall Street–centric view often ascribed to Timothy Geithner, the Treasury Secretary” (July 6, 2009).
Sheila Bair is the former Chairman of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). In 2008 and 2009, Forbes named her the second most powerful woman in the world (behind Germany’s Angela Merkel), and in 2009, Time named her one of its “100 Most Influential People.” She has been covered—and lauded—everywhere from The New Yorker to The Washington Post to The Wall Street Journal and has received numerous awards for her leadership of the FDIC, including the Kennedy Library’s Profiles in Courage Award. Prior to assuming her post at the FDIC, Bair served as a top advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole, as Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and as Senior Vice President for Government Relations of the New York Stock Exchange. (Simon and Schuster)