From the summary:
Family wealth in the United States continues to take a beating as its housing market and financial markets suffer from the 16-month-and-running Bush recession. Household wealth in our country dropped sharply after reaching an $81 trillion peak in June 2007. By the end of December 2008–the last full quarter for which data are available and one full year into the current recession–about $15 trillion in private family wealth had evaporated.
So how did we as a society allow such massive losses of wealth? And how can government policy help ensure that it doesn’t happen again? Let’s first consider some of the microeconomic causes of today’s private wealth crisis.