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‘Bailout’: Neil Barofsky’s Adventures in Groupthink City

February 7, 2013
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Source: Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi

NeilBarofsky-300x225Neil Barofsky isn't going to like this, but the first person I thought of when I read the former TARP Inspector General's book, Bailout, was G. Gordon Liddy. Not that he has anything in common politically with Nixon's fanatical arm-roasting hatchet man, but after reading Bailout I had the same thought I had after reading Liddy's memoir, Will – that every now and then, a born writer ends up in some other, far more interesting profession, and we don't find out about it until he or she is forced for some reason to write a book.

Bailout has its first paperback release this week, and Barofsky accordingly is making the media rounds (check out Comedy Central tomorrow), where he'll mainly be asked about the political revelations in the book. You know, the inside-baseball stories of how the officials who administered the TARP bailout fought transparency at every turn, failed to do due diligence on the health and viability of bailout recipients, seemed totally uninterested in creating safeguards against fraud, and generally speaking spent more time bitching about the media and plotting against the likes of Elizabeth Warren and, eventually, Barofsky himself than making sure the largest federal rescue in history wasn't a complete waste of money.

As the former Special Inspector General of the TARP, a key official who was present at the highest levels throughout most of the bailout period and saw from the inside how both the Bush and Obama administrations attacked the economic collapse, Barofsky does have that story to tell, and the book unsurprisingly is full of historically weighty scenes and factoids that will be culled by reporters like me for years to come.

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