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on May 28, 2017
Our so-called economic experts, like Federal Reserve Board chair Alan Greenspan, who should have foreseen the 2008 economic meltdown, claimed that the meltdown was unforeseeable.

There is a great deal of evidence from other sources (e.g. Charles Ferguson's book Predator Nation), that there was nothing "accidental" about the crisis, and that it was in fact the result of criminal fraud among mortgage lenders, not factors beyond human control.

Frontline mostly fails to bring out that other evidence. From this video, it's hard to tell whether Greenspan, economics advisor Larry Summers, and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin were "merely" high-paid fools, or whether they were actively helping cover up the crimes that helped inflate the bubble.

So why the 4 stars, when other sources are better? This video, as limited as it is, nonetheless shows what our top economic advisers were doing and saying in the early years of the crisis (the last 1990s). In particular, this shows that as the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), headed by Brooksley Born, was trying to expose the "dark" markets for CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligations), people like Greenspan, Summers, and Rubin actively sabotaged efforts not only to regulate the scammers, but even to gather and publish information that would have allowed investors to make better-informed decisions. Ultimately, they castrated the CFTC.

Greenspan comes across as a religious fanatic who worships the libertarian "god" of free markets so blindly that he cannot accept any fact, no matter how obvious, that conflicts with what he wants to believe.

Whether you believe Greenspan was a naive fool, or an active ally of the corporate criminal class, is up to you. But there's no doubt that he and Summers and Rubin helped gag the people who were warning about the coming crisis.
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on June 9, 2013
We all look at past generations and opine how stupid and ridiculous they must have been because of this or that. Well, we are still stupid. By "WE" I refer to the middle and lower classes in America. This documentary names names and gives dates and places. It talks of millions, billions and trillions. It is impossible to ignore the evidence that the American government is really just a tool of the capitalist upper class, sucking blood all over the world. But there are two tragedies here. One is that many people made millions and billions in the American financial meltdown of 2007-09 while millions of families went broke. The other, more serious tragedy, in my view, is that the public will ignore this valuable report about how the capitalist system is really a neo-feudalist system sucking blood from regular, working Americans. Something is very wrong with America, but as George Carlin said: "Nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care." God help us all.
4 people found this helpful
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on August 22, 2016
This film needs to be seen once a year by every high school student and once more by every college kid. American working people got fleeced. Me and my family lost thousands from our meager retirement savings. Don't let this happen to you and your family.

We need to build a 15 foot tall golden statue of Brooksly Born in front of the NYSE on Wall St. to warn us not to let this happen again. Portraits of Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and especially Allen Greenspan need to go into a fire at the dump.

You and everyone you love need to see this film. It taught me who stole billions (maybe more) from millions of people, and who tried to warn us and was dismissed for her efforts.

God bless Brooksley Born, and I thank this film for teaching me about her.
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on September 19, 2012
This is an exceptional documentary!!!! It is a very clear indicator that the majority of the politicians knew that there was a severe problem with the banking industry after Pres. William Jefferson Clinton signed the bill to abolish the Glass-Steagall Act!!! The information contained in this documentary clearly proves that the political insiders turned their back on all indicators that the economical crash of 1929 was repeating itself!!! These insiders still maintain their jobs at all levels of our government from the Federal Reserve Bank to the Treasury Department.... It is even more alarming that the principles involved in managing the banks that corrupted our economic system circumvented the laws that protected the American people and put hundreds of millions of dollars in their back pockets.

The documentary titled "Inside Job" preceded this documentary by dateline and paralleled a lot of the information from that documentary from a government insider's perspective. Both documentaries are highly informative.

Another video titled "Chasing Madoff" contains information compiled by a Boston-based securities analyst, Harry Markopolos, uncovered the evidence that Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. In his investigation he exposed the fact that the majority of the large banks that have thrown us into an economic depression and $16 trillion of debt knew and invested in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Each and every one of these very large banks made profits from directing their investors into his scheme. The banks made profit from the fees charged for referring people into Madoffs scheme!!

There's a video on YouTube titled "Fierce Free Lancer.com" that shows how each and every one of these very large banks made over $100,000 from the FDIC for each and every bank foreclosure that they conducted!!!

Dateline also just completed a PBS television documentary in August of this year(2012) that shows even more information about the political insiders, lobbyists and their banks took apart all of the protections of the American people so that the banks and large corporations could reap trillions of dollars in profits!!!

The corruption goes on and on and on!!!

I highly recommend this video and the others!!!! We all need to keep educating ourselves in an attempt to stop the political and corporate corruption in this country!!!!
3 people found this helpful
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on June 5, 2014
Isn't it amazing that when told of an impending disaster, the people in authority do nothing, yet they seem NEVER to be held accountable. This is fascinating, but also something that could anger people and make them very resentful. I suggest if the financial situation of our gov't is important to you, you pick up this DVD.
One person found this helpful
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on July 27, 2013
The story of how Brooksley Born stood up against Larry Somers, Bob Rubin and Alan Greenspan during congressional hearings. It shows ignorant senators putting her down, while the three stooges above pooh poohed her accurate assessment of the danger posed by unregulated credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations and other creative financial instruments. Humbling to the protagonists and an eye opener to the general public - beware of the consensus among the well informed!
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on September 4, 2016
Informational and good movie to share with friends and family.
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on December 17, 2012
Do I have your attention? OK - I am using hyperbole when I say 'Every American should be FORCED to see this'. I believe this documentary reveals some problems with the way the American economy is being run, and it reveals "the flaw" that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan conceded he discovered in his regulation-shunning free-market ideology.

We have put the foxes in charge of the henhouse, with the result that ALL our nesteggs are at risk. These un-elected foxes have been running the economy since the days of Gerald Ford and are part of the Obama administration TODAY.

Brooksley Born should be honored as an American HERO, but sadly her name is unfamiliar to most citizens.

Get this DVD, and force everyone you know to watch it. (There's that hyperbole again!)
2 people found this helpful
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on March 22, 2016
Recommended. I use it in a White Collar Crime class
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VINE VOICEon March 23, 2010
This is the story of one woman who was the lone wolf in the financial world who tried to sound the alarm of the impending financial disaster. Her warning would make her an enemy of very powerful people who would attempt to shut her up and shut her down. Unfortunately, they would succeed.

Brooksley Born who is appointed Chairperson of the Commodities Futures Trade Commission (CFTC). As chairman of the CFTC, Born was authorized to regulate agriculture futures and derivatives. The men she would go up against are Allan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Robert Rubin, who served as Assistant to the President for Economic Policy under Bill Clinton, and Tim Geitner. Rubin's top deputy would be Harvard Economist, Larry Summers. Together they formed a powerful influence. When these men spoke, Government and Wall Stree listened.

Over-the-counter derivatives soon get her attention for its lack of regulation. Derivatives, or swaps, are essentially insurance policies that companies enter into to protect themselves against unforeseen calamities. It is a twenty-seven trillion dollar market that was hidden from public view. In 1993 Proctor & Gamble sued Bankers' Trust for losses in the millions from swaps. Proctor & Gamble employees find secret tapes of conversations between Bankers' Trust representatives bragging how they played P & G knowing they would lose. The only way the Federal Trade Commission found out about the fraud was from the high profile lawsuit. The largest banks are operating in secret. There is no recordkeeping, reporting, or regulation of swaps and their failure could take down the entire financial system.

Worried about an out-of-control financial instrument, Brooksley Born decides to attempt regulation by issuing a concept release. She will not only face the economic and banking titans, but also the most powerful lobby ever--the banking lobby. Their immediate push only heightens Born's suspicion, and she continues her regulatory action, which her agency is empowered to do. She is only answerable to the president. The "President's Working Group reacts. It consists of Greenspan, Geitner, Summers, Arthur Levitt, the SEC chairman, the head of the FTC, and other members picked by Rubin. Their intent is to browbeat Born into retracting her concept release, but she refuses.

The Working Group gets both houses of Congress to hold meetings immediately in the Summer of 1998. The old boys' network led by Senator Phil Gramm believes the good old boys, and Born is battered by the hearings. With no support or political clout Congress does nothing, but it doesn't take long for her prophecy to develop. In fact, it takes only six weeks when a hedge fund called Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) starts to melt down, exactly what what worries Born. Members of Congress begin to call for regulation but Allan Greenspan has no intention of yielding, and Congress backs him up. There will be no regulation against fraud, no transparency, no capital reserve requirements, and no record of transactions. The only action Congress takes is against the CFTC. Congress imposes a regulatory freeze on the CFTC because Born is the bearer of bad news, and not viewed as a team player. Powerless, she resigns. Wall Street is left to regulate itself at Greenspan's urging, and the last two years of the Clinton administration turns out to be the heyday of the derivative. By 2007, the OTC derivatives market grows to $595,000,000,000,000--that's trillion. Almost ten years after the collapse of LTCM the worst crash since the Depression occurs.

Robert Rubin eventually leaves government to join top management at Citibank. After the crash, the government gives the bank 100 billion to keep Citi afloat. Larry Summers and Tim Geitner have become Barack Obama's chief financial advisors. Allan Greenspan retires just before the crisis of 2006. He realizes that his life-long belief a self-regulating free market is flawed. Larry Summers now says that he is very much in favor of derivative regulation. The Treasury Dept. releases a proposal with some of the same ideas Born made more than a decade ago. The banking industry still opposes regulation. Without it, Brooksley Born a modern day Cassandra, predicts the same thing again in a different form until we learn from our experience. She epitomizes the meaning of public servant.

The question remains, if Brooksley Born's prophecy was heeded, would a financial crisis had been averted? The answer is yes.

Finally, the CFTC is still powerless as a watchdog agency for the public.

This is a phenomenal account of what happened, and who is to blame for the financial crisis from which this country still reels. For anyone who wants to understand what happened, this will inform you in 60 minutes.

Also recommended:
PBS' website where the discussion of the financial crisis continues, and a timeline of deregulation over the decades is offered.

Leopold, Les, "The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity." Chelsea Green Publishing, White River, VT. 2009
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