"David Wessel brings his deep knowledge of the Federal Reserve and U.S. politics and economics to a topic that will be studied by historians for decades to come...No one can understand what happened and what did not happen without reading this book."
—Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics and author of Globalization and its Discontents
For more than 20 years David Wessel has been The Wall Street Journal's insider at the Federal Reserve, with continual access not only to Fed Chairmen Greenspan and Bernanke, but also to other Fed governors, policy-makers, and staffers. While the Constitution specifies three coequal branches of government, over the past three decades a fourth branch has emerged, the Federal Reserve. The single most important economic institution in the world, the Fed steers the $13 trillion dollar American economy by printing money and influencing the price of credit. In stable times it has a powerful yet unseen effect on the day-to-day life of every person in the world. But when things hit the fan—as they did in 2007 and 2008—the Fed is huge. It has great power, yet it is a distinctly undemocratic institution.
Explaining both what happened and why it happened during the great panic of 2008, David Wessel provides new insight into how the Fed really works—and the fears Bernanke and other key players dealt with as the economic car was about to go off the cliff. "What if we get it wrong, as we did in the Depression? Then what?" Wessel shows the lightbulbs illuminating as they realized how much worse things were as each day passed. In FED We Trust is a breathtaking and singularly perceptive look at a historic episode in American and global economic history.
In Fed We Trust is essential, lucidand, it turns out, rivetingreading…Wessel uses his narrative gifts and a plethora of sources to give readers a vivid, highly immediate sense of what transpired in last-minute, high-pressure, seat-of-their-pants meetings in Washington and New York while placing these events in a broader historical context.