The New York Times bestselling business journalist Christopher Leonard infiltrates one of America’s most mysterious institutions—the Federal Reserve—to show how its policies spearheaded by Chairman Jerome Powell over the past ten years have accelerated income inequality and put our country’s economic stability at risk.
... bracing and closely reported ... Leonard’s book is an indispensable account in many respects—his coverage of the invisible bailout of the repo market alone stands as a bracing case study in how the false pieties of quantitative easing directly stoked ruinous asset bubbles. But Leonard is also that rarest of financial reporters who conscientiously tracks the real-life consequences of the Olympian deliberations undertaken by the paper economy’s gatekeepers. All too many chronicles of monetary policy and market convulsions focus on outsize masters-of-the-universe storylines ... In The Lords of Easy Money we have a richly reported, accessible, biting, and long-overdue remedy to that system failure.
You don’t ordinarily turn to a book about the Federal Reserve for comedy, and for the most part Christopher Leonard’s The Lords of Easy Money: How the Federal Reserve Broke the American Economy stays true to its genre. Mr. Leonard does, however, include one pointedly humorous moment that sheds light on so much of his subject matter ... Mr. Leonard, an investigative journalist, so skillfully tells the story of how, over several decades, a phalanx of economic sophisticates at the Fed have badly misunderstood the U.S. economy and often come up with policies that fail to produce the intended results ... Mr. Hoenig was often portrayed in the media as a monetary hawk for his ornery votes against expanded Fed interventions. Mr. Leonard offers a more nuanced view ... Mr. Leonard’s other hero is John Feltner ... Stories such as Mr. Feltner’s are too often presented as morality tales about corporate greed. Mr. Leonard refreshingly explains the precise policy incentives at work.
There’s something undeniably gratifying about an elegantly crafted morality tale—and the business reporter Christopher Leonard has written a good one, even if you suspect that the full shape of it isn’t quite as smooth as he makes it out to be. The Lords of Easy Money is a fascinating and propulsive story about the Federal Reserve—yes, you read that right. Leonard, in the tradition of Michael Lewis, has taken an arcane subject, rife with the risk of incomprehensibility (or boredom), and built a riveting narrative in which the stakes couldn’t be any clearer ... All of this usefully highlights how extreme financialization has transformed (or deformed) the economy and our politics ... Still, The Lords of Easy Money presents the complexity of the current system as if it were merely disguising some unshakable fundamentals; there’s a satisfying clarity to reading a book that puts the jumble of political and economic turmoil into such stark narrative terms, but there’s more to the story than that.