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Gretchen Morgenson has spent years untangling the complex foreclosure mess and explaining the flawed paperwork trail that has led to the re-examination of hundreds of thousands of foreclosure cases. (iStockphoto.com)

How 'Reckless' Greed Contributed To Financial Crisis

May 24, 2011 (Fresh Air)

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Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon Gretchen Morgenson is assistant business and financial editor and a columnist at The New York Times.

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Gretchen Morgenson, who covers world financial markets for The New York Times, has been untangling the complex foreclosure mess and efforts to reform government regulations on Wall Street for several years.

Now Morgenson and co-author Joshua Rosner have written a book about the origins of the financial meltdown. In Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon, Morgenson and Rosner describe how regulators failed to control greed and recklessness on Wall Street.

Morgenson focuses on the managers of Fannie Mae, the government-supported mortgage giant. She writes that CEO James Johnson built Fannie Mae "into the largest and most powerful financial institution in the world."

But in the process, Morgenson says, the company fudged accounting rules, generated big salaries and bonuses for its executives, used lobby and campaign contributions to bully regulators, and encouraged the risky financial practices that led to the crisis.

Morgenson is an assistant business and financial editor and a columnist for The New York Times and the author of the Forbes publication Great Minds Of Business. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her "trenchant and incisive" coverage of Wall Street. Joshua Rosner is a managing director at the independent research firm Graham Fisher and Co., which advises regulators and institutional investors.

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