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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.
Nick Timiraos is the chief economics correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, where he covers the Federal Reserve and U.S. economic policy. He joined the Journal in 2006 and previously wrote about the U.S. housing bust and the 2008 election. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and lives with his family in Washington, D.C.
"detailed, original reporting...fast-paced...[Trillion Dollar Triage] makes clear how much of a collective process this dizzying month of policymaking was...the pages about the current battle against inflation read like a rough draft of a history that is still being written. Powell’s legacy and the credibility of the Fed will be influenced by how this story turns out. For answers, we may have to wait for Timiraos to write a sequel."—Jason Furman, The Washington Post