• Trillion Dollar Triage

  • How Jay Powell and the Fed Battled a President and a Pandemic - and Prevented Economic Disaster
  • By: Nick Timiraos
  • Narrated by: Nick Timiraos, Peter Ganim
  • Length: 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (86 ratings)

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Trillion Dollar Triage

By: Nick Timiraos
Narrated by: Nick Timiraos,Peter Ganim
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Publisher's Summary

The inside story, told with “insight, perspective, and stellar reporting,” of how an unassuming civil servant created trillions of dollars from thin air, combatted a public health crisis, and saved the American economy from a second Great Depression (Alan S. Blinder, former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve).

By February 2020, the U.S. economic expansion had become the longest on record. Unemployment was plumbing half-century lows. Stock markets soared to new highs. One month later, the public health battle against a deadly virus had pushed the economy into the equivalent of a medically induced coma. America’s workplaces—offices, shops, malls, and factories—shuttered. Many of the nation’s largest employers and tens of thousands of small businesses faced ruin. Over 22 million American jobs were lost. The extreme uncertainty led to some of the largest daily drops ever in the stock market.

Nick Timiraos, the Wall Street Journal’s chief economics correspondent, draws on extensive interviews to detail the tense meetings, late night phone calls, and crucial video conferences behind the largest, swiftest U.S. economic policy response since World War II. Trillion Dollar Triage goes inside the Federal Reserve, one of the country’s most important and least understood institutions, to chronicle how its plainspoken chairman, Jay Powell, unleashed an unprecedented monetary barrage to keep the economy on life support. With the bleeding stemmed, the Fed faced a new challenge: How to nurture a recovery without unleashing an inflation-fueling, bubble-blowing money bomb?

Trillion Dollar Triage is the definitive, gripping history of a creative and unprecedented battle to shield the American economy from the twin threats of a public health disaster and economic crisis. Economic theory and policy will never be the same.

©2022 Nick Timiraos (P)2022 Little, Brown & Company

What listeners say about Trillion Dollar Triage

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  • NL
  • 04-17-22

Hard to listen. Mostly an anti Trump book.

I had high hopes for this book. Thinking it would be an interesting look into the background of the fed and Covid panic… unfortunately the book is not only written by people with Trump derangement syndrome, it’s read by them as well.

You can’t take it serious with the mocking tones, and over the top parody they give the the President.

If you are left wing, VERY pro FED, and hate Donald Trump…. This book is for you 100%. Otherwise I would avoid it.

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Donald Trump Causes Pandemic!

If I wanted to read a hatchet job on the former President, I would read the NY Times or the Washington Post.
I thought that a writer for the WSJ would be a little less tilted in his reporting, but Timiraos proves me wrong, and blames Trump for just about everything that went wrong since the flu escaped China. Shameful to call this reporting.

2 people found this helpful

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Top-down view, slow start, but revealing details

I am concerned about much of what I heard here. To me it is a scary precedent. And now, the wave of inflation finally arrived in the wake of the post-2008-era Fed. I'm not sighing with relief or cheering from the stands. I'm flat-out concerned, not feeling like we are out of the woods. But this book is the first retelling of the pandemic swoon I've found, with the kind of detail previously seen in the major 2008 era books like Too Big To Fail. This is not sprightly prose. It is not the most listenable or entertaining finance book to be found. But once the dry sympathetic opener on Jay Powell's early years was over, the book moved into the kind of systematic day-by-day explanation I need, to really get why and how all this happened. I am willing to hear Powell and the Fed's version of the (claimed) necessity of all this. In today's world, plenty of listeners will be disappointed that this book does not mirror their views or politics (or perhaps rage), but I maintain there is vital history here, whatever one's views are. The scale of the Fed's moves (especially asset purchases of some pretty sketchy stuff) detailed here, makes my jaw drop. Alas, as I write this, in the spring of 2022, the wild swings set in motion in the wake of these 2020-21 COVID waves, and the Fed's mind-bending activism, are still playing out. Time is compressed in these days, and here we are, basically ready for a sequel. I appreciate the day-to-days recitals of market stats, mixed with the activities of Powell, Mnuchin, et al. It does get a little bit lost in the weeds though. My head is still spinning from all this. I think the book accomplished its purpose.

However, I need the broader surrounding context to understand all I need. That I found in the more recent release, The Fed Unbound. I would listen to that one first.

2 people found this helpful

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Trillion Dollar Triage

A fascinating look at the selection and interaction between the men who determine the fate of the rest of us. Anyone wanting to understand who pulls the strings and why should read this very current and timely expos’e

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Good Account

I enjoyed this book. The author is right basically saying the Federal Reserve did most of the work in this crisis. The understaffing of Treasury between 2017-2020 was a mistake. The Treasury’s reason for understaffing or “light staff” as they put it, was to save money but it didn’t save any real money and just increased the risk for Treasury.

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ignore the political bias

there's a clear political skew in the author's messaging, but the story is well-captured. I especially enjoyed the chapter on Fed's history

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Spoiled by a tone deaf narrator

The narrator can be replaced by a robot. The robot would have done a better job of providing some life into the reading.
Asking for a refund.