Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson is the co-author of 13 Bankers.

Recent Articles

The Crisis Last Time

The 2008 financial collapse should have brought the repudiation of neoliberalism. What happened?  

A Crisis Wasted: Barack Obama's Defining Decisions By Reed Hundt Rosetta Books Firefighting: The Financial Crisis and Its Lessons By Ben S. Bernanke, Timothy F. Geithner, & Henry M. Paulson Jr. Penguin Books This article appears in the Spring 2019 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Every Democrat who aspires to win the presidency in 2020 (or ever) should already be asking the question: How do we avoid what happened to Barack Obama and his ideas in the fall of 2008? Obama was, of course, the progressive candidate. He built a lane to the left of Hillary Clinton in the course of 2007 and then expanded it into a broad highway along which he could coast to victory in November 2008. The hope and change he promised was in no way about continuity with the past. Yet what President Obama delivered, over two administrations, was profoundly disappointing—and directly contributed to the rise of dangerous and despotic Donald. The trite riposte is that Obama was...

The Folly of Trumponomics

It may produce a short-lived boom. Then, look out.

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Donald Trump’s administration will implement large tax cuts and substantial financial deregulation. President Trump may also change U.S. policies on trade, although precisely what he will do is less clear—and the shift may be more rhetorical than real. Trump is also likely to substantially cut or privatize federal spending. To the extent that his policies add up to a coherent economic strategy, they are reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s, but with an extra dose of cronyism and the wild card of economic nationalism. Trump himself and several of his key appointees are also poster children for oligarchy and even kleptocracy—government operated to serve the business interests of elites, including top officials. The intermingling of business, family, and government as the Trump administration takes shape unfortunately parallels what I have observed in corrupt developing...

Too Big for Us to Fail

We need counterweights not just to Wall Street's toxic products but to its malign influence.

Financial regulatory reform was on few people's minds when Barack Obama launched his presidential campaign in February 2007. But with the near collapse of the global financial system in 2008, leading to high unemployment and high government deficits for years to come, it became frighteningly obvious that something had to change. However, in one respect -- the politics of financial reform -- nothing has changed. The Obama administration has led the push to reform the financial system. We agree with many of its proposals, including a strong Consumer Financial Protection Agency, dedicated oversight of systemic risk, and new requirements to move derivatives onto exchanges and central clearinghouses. At the same time, we do not think the administration has gone far enough to curb the behavior of "too big to fail" institutions and mitigate the risk that they pose to the financial system and the economy. But these reasonable debates over how the regulatory system should be overhauled are...