Retirement Planning, ARMs and An Inside Account of the Financial Crisis

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We opened the show with Ben from Houston who wanted to run his retirement plan by us. He’s got a variety of accounts, an adjustable rate mortgage and some college funds for the kids. As you’ll hear, this guy is a risk taker. Is he taking too much risk? What about that mortgage…should he pay it off? Or should he consider refinancing and locking in a long-term rate?

The rest of the hour was spent on emails. The good news is that we’re actually making some serious progress. We’re finally into the month of October. That’s the good news. The bad news is that next week is already November. A good problem to have!

In hour two we get the inside account of the financial crisis from Neil Barofsky, the former Inspector General of TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and author of Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street.

As you’ll hear, the discussion is basically a play-by-play of how the Treasury Department bungled the financial bailouts.

At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Barofsky gave up his job as a prosecutor in the esteemed U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City, where he had convicted drug kingpins, Wall Street executives, and perpetrators of mortgage fraud, to become the inspector general in charge of overseeing administration of the bailout money.

It’s fascinating to hear him talk about how from the onset, his efforts to protect against fraud and to hold big banks accountable for how they spent taxpayer money were met with outright hostility from Treasury officials in charge of the bailouts.

Barofsky offers an insider’s perspective on the mishandling of the $700 billion TARP bailout fund. There’s no holding back as he reveals the extreme lengths to which our government officials were willing to go in order to serve the interests of Wall Street firms at the expense of the broader public, and at the expense of effective financial reform.

Just like the book, this interview delivered an incredible account of Barofsky’s plunge into the political hot-seat of Washington, as well as a vital revelation of just how captured by Wall Street our political system is and why the too-big-to-fail banks have become even bigger and more dangerous in the wake of the crisis.

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