President Obama holds a campaign rally at Wolcott House Museum in Maunee Ohio
Dig Deeper: What You Need to Know About the Financial Crisis
April 20, 2012, 6:12 pm ET by Azmat Khan
Amid the fiercest financial crisis since the Great Depression, FRONTLINE has
been at the forefront of investigating the roots of the meltdown, the hidden
stories of those who warned about what was to come and the lessons moving
Over the next two weeks, we’ll continue the story in our four-hour special,
Money, Power and Wall Street — watch a preview above. The film goes inside the
struggles to rescue and repair a shattered economy, exploring key decisions,
missed opportunities and the unprecedented and uneasy partnership between
government leaders and titans of finance.
Until then, here’s some of the best of our reporting on the financial crisis.
The Warning [October 2009]
“I didn’t know Brooksley Born. I was told that she was irascible, difficult,
stubborn, unreasonable.” Former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt
In The Warning, FRONTLINE unearths the hidden history of the nation’s worst
financial crisis since the Great Depression. At the center of it all is
Brooksley Born, the head of an obscure federal regulatory agency — the Commodity
Futures Trading Commission [CFTC] — who not only warned of the potential for
economic meltdown in the late 1990s, but also tried to convince the country’s
key economic powerbrokers to regulate the secretive, multitrillion-dollar
derivatives market, whose crash helped trigger the financial collapse in the
fall of 2008. In The Warning, she speaks for the first time on television.
* Explore our video timeline of the tide of deregulation and the drumbeat of
warnings in the lead up to the financial crisis
* Learn more about Born, the prevailing economic philosophy in era of Federal
Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and the hidden dangers of derivatives.
* Read extended interviews with Born; Gary Gensler, the head of the CFTC under
President Obama; Arthur Levitt, the former head of the Securities and Exchange
Commission; and other key players.
Inside the Meltdown [February 2009]
“Rumors are such that they can just plain put you out of business.” Bear
Stearns’ former CEO “Ace” Greenberg
The sudden and complete financial meltdown of 2008 took most of America by
surprise. How did it all go so bad, so quickly? Who is responsible? How
effective has the response from Washington and Wall Street been? FRONTLINE goes
inside the chain of events that set off the crisis, what key officials didn’t
see, couldn’t stop and weren’t able to fix.
* Peruse our timeline of the meltdown, with play-by-play breakdowns of the
early warnings, formative disasters and key decisions and deals that got us
where we are.
* From the rescue of Bear Stearns to the decision to not bail out Lehman
Brothers to the government’s takeover of Fannie and Freddie, explore analysis
from key players.
* Read extended interviews with “Ace” Greenberg, the former chairman and CEO of
Bear Stearns; Mark Gertler, New York University economist and a longtime friend
of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke; Sheila Bair, former chairwoman of the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and others involved in the crisis.
Breaking the Bank [June 2009]
“It just seemed to me that the conservative, right thing to do was take the
[TARP] money. Little did I know the pain that would invoke…” Former Bank of
America CEO Ken Lewis
The merger of Bank of America, the nation’s largest bank, and Merrill Lynch in
September 2008 was supposed to help save the American financial system by
preventing the imminent Lehman Brothers bankruptcy from setting off a
destructive chain reaction. But within days, the entire global financial system
was collapsing. FRONTLINE reveals the story of two banks at the heart of the
financial crisis, their rocky merger, and the government’s new role in taking
over — some call it “nationalizing” — the American banking system.
* Track how how four CEOs grew a small North Carolina bank into the nation’s
largest — Bank of America — in our interactive map.
* Read extended interviews with former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis; former
Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain; the former directory of policy planning at the
Treasury Department, Michele Davis; and others.
Ten Trillion and Counting [March 2009]
“Here’s the fundamental problem: How much money can a society borrow before it
begins to have negative effects on our ability to borrow any more?” Former
Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill
All of the federal government’s efforts to stem the tide of the financial
meltdown have added hundreds of billions of dollars to an already staggering
national debt. FRONTLINE traces the politics behind this mounting debt and
investigates what some say is a looming crisis that makes the current financial
situation pale in comparison.
* Learn more about the debt during the George W. Bush presidency and during the
* Read extended interviews with former Office of Management and Budget Director
Peter Orszag; former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill; former Comptroller General
David Walker; and others.
The Card Game [November 2009]
“It’s almost as if 15 years ago, the industry discovered that you could make
money off of the most vulnerable people in America over and over, and that would
be the business model.” The Center for Responsible Lending CEO Martin Eakes
In a joint project with The New York Times, FRONTLINE investigates the future of
the massive consumer loan industry and its impact on a fragile national economy,
as credit card companies face rising public anger, new regulation from
Washington and staggering new rates of default and bankruptcy. We talk to
industry insiders, lobbyists, politicians and consumer advocates as they square
off over attempts to reform the way the industry has done business for decades.
* Learn about credit card tricks and traps to watch out for and what the
consumer’s responsibility is.
* Read extended interviews with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner; former
Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Chris Dodd; and American Bankers
Association Vice President Nessa Feddis.
The Wall Street Fix [May 2003]
“When Congress sees these scandals taking place … they become the latter-day
Elmer Gantrys, protecting investors that they had abused so badly before.”
Former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt
Years before the financial crisis, FRONTLINE went inside the culture of Wall
Street and the world of investment banking, investigating the hidden
relationships between the Street’s biggest bank, Citigroup, and the bubble’s
most spectacular failure, WorldCom to show how Wall Street drove the telecom
boom, pocketing enormous profits, and then took millions of investors on a ride.
* Explore our chronology of the long demise of the Glass-Steagall Act, from its
passage in 1933 to its death throes in the 1990s, and how Citigroup’s Sandy
Weill dealt the coup de grâce.
* Read analysis of the politics and the impact of Sandy Weill’s creation of
Citigroup, the first full-service superbank, and the repeal of the
Glass-Steagall Act that stood in his way.
Don’t let Mitt Romney take our country backword, we are moveing in the right direction now keep it going.
The worst economy crisis since the depression were caused by, “Money, Power and Wall Street”, search and read Frontline Money,Power and Wall Street.
READ one of the article below from that 4 hr show.
How are we moving in the right direction? Getting more people on public assistance, is that moving in the right direction? Un-employment is at an all time high…is that moving in the right direction? If you are moving toward socialism, then yeah, we’re moving in the right direction!
If you think turning the United States of America into a communist, no freedom, no Constitution, country by Obama is moving in the right direction, you must be brain dead.
I find it quite funny that at Obama’s rallies in Poland, Oh., and Maumee Oh, there were alot of African Americans in attendence……funny because these towns both have less than a 1% african american population…..I smell some bus-rats….
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