FRONTLINE’s four-hour epic on the global financial crisis — the first two hours of which aired Tuesday evening — 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.
“Money, Power and Wall Street is demanding — this isn’t Finance for Dummies,” Evans writes in the review. “But it’s a compact and thorough lesson.”
In the first hour, FRONTLINE takes you inside the rapid rise of credit default swaps, including the voices of those who created them. With the real estate market booming, bankers successfully tweaked the credit default swap to bundle up and sell home mortgage loans to eager investors. But despite the money flowing into banks’ coffers, credit default swaps also loaded the financial system with lethal risk. And when the housing bubble burst, the credit default swaps — originally designed to stabilize the system — brought the global economy to its knees. Regulators, who had often stood on the sideline and allowed Wall Street to police itself, saw the ugly consequences rapidly unfold before them.
In the second hour, FRONTLINE investigates the largest government bailout in U.S. history, a series of decisions that rewrote the rules of government and fueled a debate that would alter the country’s political landscape. It offers play-by-play accounts of several secret meetings that permanently altered the financial system.
“The program feels fresh and vivid — and takes no prisoners,” writes Evans. “FRONTLINE finds plenty of blame to go around (Goldman Sachs and CEO Lloyd Blankfein take a particular bruising), but is most devastating in its dissection of the chummy collusion between bankers and the government leaders who should have been watch-dogging them.”
You can read the interviews at the heart of Frontline's "Money, Power, and Wall Street" online here.
"Money, Power and Wall Street" continues next Tuesday, May 1st, with an inside look at how the Obama administration, including a divided economic team, has handled the crisis and how the financial world has returned to many of the practices that created the meltdown in the first place.