By William K. Black
February 12, 2017 Bloomington, MN
I am watching the film Too Big to Fail based on Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book of the same name. It led me to check out the price of the used book, which has fallen to $1.02, which is low enough that I am willing to buy a copy of the book, particularly since not a penny will go to Andrew Ross Sorkin. The financial analytics displayed in the movie and the book are so poor and dishonest that I need to have a copy by my keyboard as an inspiration to keep trying to cut through the calculated dishonesty about Wall Street pumped out nearly every day in the pages of the New York Times.
The movie starts with the imminent failure of Lehman. It is an astonishingly sympathetic portrait of Wall Street, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, and Ben Bernanke. The movie invents a scene in which the Treasury leadership explains “in English” the causes of the crisis to the Treasury PR person. There is not a word about the three fraud epidemics that hyper-inflated the bubble, drove the crisis, and produced the Great Recession. As one expects of a Sorkin tale, it is all about personalities and “great men.” (Women are rare and powerless, even FDIC Chair Sheila Bair.) The movie and book have a patina of financial jargon that Sorkin thinks constitutes analytics, and a nearly total failure to probe the Wall Street BS about the crisis.