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Posts Tagged ‘recession’

Today’s Flickr Photo

Flickr photo by woodleywonderworks.

If you read one thing today . . .

There are a lot of books and movies popping up about the causes and consequences of the 2008 financial meltdown but, apparently, there aren’t many that look at the sub-prime mortgage racket the way Michael W. Hudson does in his book, The Monster: How A Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Lenders Fleeced America—And Spawned A Global Crisis. Hudson talks to Mother Jones about how the sub-prime market began in Southern California:

If you had to pick one figure that did more than anyone else to grow the subprime market, and grow it into the monster that it became, it would be Roland Arnall. Now, Countrywide and Angelo Mozilo played a big role, but they were very late to the game. Mozilo, especially in the ’90s, was nervous about subprime, and worried about getting into it. It wasn’t until Ameriquest and a few other Orange County-based subprime outfits really showed that you could make lots and lots of money, and really started threatening Countrywide’s market share, that Countrywide got into it.

Overheard:

Monday kicked off Jon Stewart’s week in Washington, D.C., which ends, of course, with the mother of all rallies, the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on Saturday. In a segment about NPR’s firing of Juan Willliams, Stewart tosses to Jason Jones who is driving around, lost, looking for the Supreme Court. Anyone who has tried to drive in the nation’s capitol will get this:

“I’m in a six-lane traffic circle that leads to an underpass . . . and that leads to another goddamn traffic circle. This Frenchified city layout makes no freaking sense. How hard is it to lay out a grid?”

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The trailer for the new Charles Ferguson documentary, Inside Job, looks great. The movie, which is narrated by Matt Damon, looks at the causes behind the 2008 economic meltdown, i.e. the financial deregulation that began with Reagan, the insatiable greed on Wall Street and the complicity of federal regulators who turned a blind eye to Wall Street’s reckless behavior. The movie had a limited opening this past weekend.

The documentary, which a group of critics voted the best film at the 2010 Cannes film festival, was also praised by Roger Ebert, who called it a “devastating” indictment of Wall Street:

It is a very angry, very carefully argued, brutally clear documentary about how the American financial industry set out deliberately to defraud the ordinary American investor. It was directed by Charles Ferguson (below), whose academic, business and government backgrounds make him unusually well-qualified for this subject. The remorseless narration is by Matt Damon.

Here is the argument of the film, in four sentences. From Roosevelt until Reagan, the American economy enjoyed 40 years of stability, prosperity and growth. Beginning with Reagan’s moves against financial regulation, that sound base has been progressively eroded. The crucial federal error (in administrations of both parties) was to allow financial institutions to trade on their own behalf. Today many large trading banks are betting against their own customers.

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