The Mortgage Crisis for Beginners


Our favorite radio show, This American Life, recently did a hour show examining the current mortgage crisis— the straw that broke the camel’s back and triggered a global financial crisis, the end of which is nowhere in sight. As the U.S. stumbles forward deeper and deeper into a recession, it would behoove those of us who don’t understand what has happened to take a minute to learn about the economic process—which was truly not a major aberration from business as usual—behind the credit collapse that has many economists warning of a new economic depression.

As usual, TAL makes the dry subject matter absolutely fascinating and entertaining, interviewing victims and perpetrators at every level of the travesty, and as they say:

We explain it all to you. What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income? And why is everyone talking so much about the 1930s? It all comes back to the Giant Pool of Money.

Listen to the show here, for free, by clicking on the ‘Full Episode’ link. For those looking for more details, another radio favorite of ours, Fresh Air, has some more perspectives here, and here. And of course, Wikipedia comes through with 12,000 words on the subject.