How the scourge of private equity is transforming the American economy – increasing poverty, inequality, and economic decline – how the government is helping them do this, and what to do about it.
Plunder is a startling investigation into the poorly understood, powerful force of private equity that is reshaping the American economy: raising prices, reducing quality, cutting jobs, increasing inequality, and shifting resources from productive parts of the economy to unproductive ones. Already transformative, private equity is poised to reshape the American economy in this decade the way that big tech did in the last decade, and subprime lenders the decade before that. And importantly, private equity is doing all of this not just with the acquiescence but the active support of the government.
If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Toys R Us; why your doctor’s bills are getting more expensive, why nursing homes are getting worse, why there is a housing shortage, why newspapers in Chicago and Los Angeles have gone downhill and local investigative reporting has dried up, Brendan Ballou’s Plunder provides the reason why and provides a reform agenda spelling out how this industry can be stopped from wreaking further havoc.
Private equity firms buy up companies using little or no investment, forcing them to take on huge debts and pay extractive fees, often wringing the life blood out of them, leaving them bankrupt or a shell of their former selves. Private equity’s impact extends to the communities that have ling depended on now- eviscerated companies for employment and prosperity. Perhaps most startling is Ballou’s insight into how this is happening with the active support of government.
Through vivid storytelling about the industries that private equity firms is reshaping, the institutions (Congress, the courts, regulators, and state and local governments) helping them and key players such as Blackstone and Steve Schwarzman; Sun Capital and Mark Lederman; Apollo and Jan Clayton and Leon Black, Carlyle and David Rubenstein, Ballou’s revelatory explanation of how private equity works shines a light on a part of Wall Street that is hastening the financialization of the American economy and increasing the power of banks and other institutions over companies that make and sell tangible products.