382: The Watchmen

382: The Watchmen

Jun 5, 2009
Since Congress hasn't held 1930's-style hearings into the causes of the financial crisis, we stage one of our own.
The subject? The regulators and watchdogs who were supposed to be overseeing the banks and the finance industry—to make sure things wouldn't blow up like they have. Clearly something went wrong. Today we pound a gavel and ask: Where were the watchmen?

Today's show is a co-production with NPR News, part of our Planet Money project. The Planet Money blog and thrice-weekly podcast is at www.npr.org/money.

Download a transcript.

  • Alex Blumberg and NPR correspondent (and "Planet Money" reporter) Dave Kestenbaum examine what went wrong with the credit ratings agencies. When all these financial instruments that brought down our economy—the mortgage backed securities, the derivatives—were originally issued, the rating agencies (Standard and Poors, Moody's and Fitch) gave many of these things their top rating of triple-A. Because of the great ratings, trillions were invested. And then the ratings turned out to be wrong. What happened? (25 minutes)BusinessEconomicsGovernment

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