Kathleen Day: Broken Bargain



Award-winning journalist and author Kathleen Day talks with Big Blend Radio about her latest book, “Broken Bargain: Bankers, Bailouts, and the Struggle to Tame Wall Street.”

Kathleen Day’s last book was named by “BusinessWeek” as one of the Top 10 Business Books of the Year, as well as recommended for reading by  the “New York Times Sunday Book Review.” Day has released a new book that explores in plain English the history of Wall Street scandals, why the government keeps bailing out bankers, and why taxpayers of all political stripes should be mad about it beyond the obvious.


In “Broken Bargain: Bankers, Bailouts, and the Struggle to Tame Wall Street,” (Yale University Press)  Kathleen Day shows that from the start–beginning with the country’s founding but especially since the 1930s–a bargain between the government and Wall Street has evolved: Banks receive privileges from the government such as limited liability for shareholders and insurance against loss for their depositors; in exchange, banks agree to be supervised. The aim of the bargain is to protect the public, especially taxpayers, from having to foot the bill for Wall Street’s misdeeds. Day explores the country’s financial crises, starting with the fight between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, but focusing especially on those of the 1920s, 1980s, and 2000s. From the Great Depression to Enron’s collapse, from junk bonds to the thrift crisis, from the subprime mortgage meltdown to Wells Fargo’s opening unapproved accounts for customers, Broken Bargain introduces Wall Street’s players and their often damaging dealings.


With tales of characters ranging over two centuries, the book pares the details of each crisis to a concise but complete history. “Broken Bargain” throws light on American finance’s raucous and Byzantine legacy, one that is fraught with boom-and-bust cycles. Along the way, she shows how the history of our banking and financial institutions mirrors and shapes the history of America.


Kathleen Day spent 30 years as a business journalist with the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and USA Today before joining the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business as a professor of finance in 2013. She lives in Washington, DC. https://kathleenday.com/


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