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These Are the Plunderers

How Private Equity Runs—and Wrecks—America

(amazon)

Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner (View Bio)
Hardcover: Simon & Schuster, 2023.

These Are the Plunderers
(amazon)

Much has been written about the widening gulf between rich and poor, the pernicious effects our deepening income inequality has on the US’s well-being, and how our style of capitalism has failed to provide a living wage for so many Americans. But nothing has fully detailed the crucial role a small cohort of elite financiers has played in this dispiriting outcome over the past thirty years. Until now. Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author Gretchen Morgenson, with coauthor Joshua Rosner, unmask the small group of celebrated Wall Street financiers who use excessive debt and dubious practices to undermine our nation’s economy while enriching themselves: private equity.

These Are the Plunderers clearly traces the thirty-year history of corporate takeovers in America and private equity’s increasing dominance. Morgenson and Rosner investigate some of the biggest names in private equity, exposing how they buy companies, load them with debt, and then bleed them of assets and profits.

Private equity relies on debt—and lots of it. Morgenson and Rosner show how companies absorbed by private equity have worse outcomes for everyone but the financiers: patients at private equity-owned nursing homes are more likely to die; companies owned by private equity are more likely to go bankrupt; healthcare costs are higher at private equity-owned operations; workers at private equity-owned companies across the nation are more likely to have their benefits and pensions slashed or lose their jobs; retirees from private industry as well as school teachers, firefighters, medical technicians, and other public workers have lower returns on their pensions because of the fees private equity extracts from their investments. You’re worse off because of private equity.

These Are the Plunderers exposes the greed and pillaging in private equity, revealing the many ways these billionaires have bled our economy.

"A definitive, inside story of how our winner-take-all economy came to be. The private equity billionaires you’ll meet on these fascinating pages are the new robber barons. While the watchdogs were asleep, this investigative journalist and policy analyst show how they plundered America and, at last, hold them accountable. Ida Tarbell would sure be proud of them." — Jill Abramson, author of Merchants of Truth and former executive editor of The New York Times