The PBS news magazine, Frontline, ran this story, Inside the Meltdown, on Tuesday night. It’s an hour long (you can full-screen it at their website, or from here), but it’s well worth the time if you’ve got it.
Essentially, it goes through the events beginning with the Bear Stearns bailout (March 2008) and goes up through the end of 2008. It goes into a lot of depth, but makes it very understandable…arguably, the most “understandable” I’ve had all this craziness explained to me. For example, it explains by Bear Stearns was bailed out and why Lehman Brothers wasn’t, and it also goes into what was happening within the Treasury Department and on Wall Street while everything was going down. There were a lot of things inter-connected, but this explains it with relative simplicity.
The focus on Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is rather interesting, too, especially his deep aversion to government intervention in the economy. You can see the look on his face as he has to make all these announcements of how the government is buying up debt and taking stakes in banking companies. You have to wonder if he doubts his all-mighty “free market” after having to do all this.
Rather fascinating. Glad I don’t have much money in our mutual fund…