Inside Job

A new documentary about the financial crisis of 2008 opened at the local Landmark Theatres  in the Washington, DC area on Friday.  My brother and I attended the matinée showing ($8.00 – good deal; esp w/ gift card) this morning at 10:05 a.m.

First, let me say that this documentary is almost 2 hours long (1 hour, 48 minutes to be exact).  The length didn’t bother me.

Second, this documentary is COMPREHENSIVE about how, why, who, what led to the financial crisis in 2008.

The director, Charles Ferguson, interviewed many key players (though a number of them declined to be interviewed including Former Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson, Former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, present Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner,  and present Fed Chair Ben Bernanke

As you watch this documentary you will be outraged (seething, but controlled) about the financial industry.  At times you can’t help but laugh in disbelieve as some interviewees won’t acknowledge certain facts).

The film is excellent.  It should be required viewing for EVERY AMERICAN age 18 years and older.

Although Director Charles Ferguson takes a complex topic and distills information in digestible chunks, I’m not sure if the average American would willingly watch the documentary.  Americans loved to be “entertained” and this documentary may be “too cerebral” for some.

Further, some of the terminology, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and credit default swaps, may be too incomprehensible for some viewers, even though the documentary explains clearly and precisely what they are and how they were used.

Bob Brinker of the radio program, Money Talk, often states “that the United States Government is the best government money can buy.”  You undoubtedly have heard the expression, “the proof is in the pudding.”  Inside Job is the pudding of Bob Brinker’s opinion. When you watch this documentary you learn that the financial industry has essentially bought both political parties.

There are many moments in this film that just are just mind-boggling, in terms of the greed, the excess, the warnings made by highly qualified individuals which were ignored.  But one moment in particular sticks in my crawl.

Hank Paulson, before becoming Secretary of the Treasury, was the chairman of Goldman Sachs.  Several years ago there were rules (yikes, REGULATION, OH NO) limiting the amount of risk investment banks could take.   Investment banks wanted the gloves taken off, so they could essentially gamble as much as they want [that’s what they were doing, gambling with us, the peons or serfs).  Hank Paulson lobbied for the limits to be removed and the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) complied.   What’s ironic, as the documentary shows, was this removal of limits on leveraging by investment banks ultimately resulted in the global financial meltdown of 2008.

We, the peons or serfs, must NEVER FORGET that those piggish, greedy Wall Street types were responsible for a near collapse of the global financial system.

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