NEW YORK, Jan 22 (Reuters) – America’s housing debacle was both highly predictable and easily preventable, and those who failed to spot it can no longer be relied upon as experts, according to a new book.

 In “Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy,” Dean Baker gives readers some basic metrics that clearly show the market was overly ebullient.

 Baker, of the progressive Center for Economic and Policy Research, also outlines a set of policies, including taxes on financial transactions, that might prevent similar episodes in the future.

 “Underlying all of these developments was an incentive structure that placed an enormous premium on short-term profits, often at the expense of longer-term profits or even long-term corporate survival,” Baker writes.

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