Last spring, This American Life tackled the subprime mortgage mess in a show entitled “The Giant Pool of Money”. This is a great episode, and I recommend it to anyone who wants background on the current U.S. financial situation. When I wrote about it in May, I said:
Why did the crisis occur? Because all along the financial chain — from bankers to brokers to borrowers to investors — people deluded themselves. They thought they could throw out the old rules of money. They thought they could cut corners to make a quick buck. In short: they were trying to get rich quickly instead of to get rich slowly.
I’ll stick with the slow, boring path to wealth, thank you very much. (And hope my progress isn’t derailed by the greed of others.)
Today’s program was a follow-up, exploring the bailout bill passed into law on Friday. “Another Frightening Show About the Economy” again tries to demystify the current financial crisis, explaining why the bailout is needed, and what it intends to do. The show covers:
- Commercial paper
- Money market funds
- Credit default swaps
- The bailout bill and the ‘back-door’ bailout included in the bill as an option: “stock injection”
- And, most importantly, what this all means to you.
I know this stuff sounds boring, but it’s not — at least not in the hands of Ira Glass and the gang at This American Life. I encourage interested readers to set aside a couple hours to listen to these episodes.
For more info, check out NPR’s Planet Money blog.
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