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Inside FRONTLINE FRONTLINE's Top Ten

December 29, 2009

The Most Popular Segments/Chapters from 2009 Programs:

11 Comments

COMMENTS

The Warning was the best of the year. It showed the arrogance of the "Three Stooges", Greenspan, Rubin and Summers. Men with power become drunk and blind with such, look at the mess we're in now, Greenspan said the market would correct itself, boy was he wrong.

Ralph Burton / December 30, 2009 8:40 PM

I just finished watching The Warning. It showed how arrogant and self-righteous, Greenspan, Rubin and Summers were. There is really no justifiable reason for not listening to Ms. Born's warning about these derivatives. Was it because she was a woman or were they profitting from it themselves? Only time will tell.

Alicia M. Green / December 30, 2009 10:07 PM

I sincerely hope that the thousands of viewers of The Warning remember Ms. Born's warning when it comes time to encourage their elected representaatives on regulatory reform.

Bob Ivey / January 3, 2010 6:22 PM

I enjoyed watching The Warning and I thank you for enlightening me. I was not aware of this chapter in our financial history.

But I would point out that you missed an essential point. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission could only regulate commodities based derivatives. Credit default swaps, central to the financial crisis, are not such derivatives.

If you want to look at a crucial point in time where there was a chance to prevent this crisis, look at the passage of the Home Owners Equity Protection Act, HOEPA, in 1994. Congress passed a law hoping to warn consumers, through disclosures, of the dangers of high priced mortgagesThe Federal Reserve Board, headed by Alan Greenspan at the time and expected to enforce the law through regulation, promulgated a regulation the following year that applied to very few such mortgages (1%), that the regulation subverted the will of Congress. The onset of the Republican Congress in 1995 prevented Congress from revisiting the issue. Some states passed their own high priced mortgage laws, such as Vermont, and did not suffer in this crisis. Others did not pass such laws, and have paid a price.

Why did the Board subvert the will of Congress in 1995 by promulgating a regulation that did not adequately enforce HOEPA? That is a question central to the onset of the financial crisis.

jim / January 3, 2010 7:11 PM

Your segment on the Madoff scandal may not have made the list because it was widely not carried (i.e. censored) by individual stations, as was the case with WEDU in Tampa FL. That the most costly and pervasive financial scam in recent history would not have been of sufficient interest to air in its usual time is difficult to believe. What is less difficult to believe, unfortunately, is that a powerful lobbying group, which usually confines its efforts to the censor of any negative information about Israel, has done all it can to squash the airing of this critical issue. It would be fascinating to know which and how many PBS stations did not air this segment of Frontline. If you could provide that information, I would be very grateful. If you choose not to post this comment, I will take it as a confirmation of my premise. Frontline is a wonderful program, and I commend you for your journalistic and moral integrity.

John Shrauger / January 5, 2010 7:38 PM

The Warning was awesome. Also The Dark Side was very special....very special.

tobi / January 5, 2010 10:56 PM

The Madoff Affair was amazingly informative about human nature, gullibility and the worthless minions of bureaucratic Washington DC.

I'm very impressed by the flow, quality and precision Frontline offers.

THANK YOU, and keep up the great work!

Joseph Alabat / January 7, 2010 4:44 AM

We have lost our way and our morals. The blueprint for this latest scandal was written for us chapter and verse less than a decade earlier in the guise of Enron and yet we willfully ignored it while paying rapt attention to celebrity bs. Our government is corrupt and we are waylaid by bread and circus. It is time we wake up and demand accountability from our elected officials regardless of party.

Michael / January 8, 2010 1:29 AM

Inside the Meltdown is television at its finest. Not only does it go in depth and explain why the financial meltdown happened but it is presented in a very entertaining package. As a business student, saying that it was "riveting" would be an understatement.

Tyler R / January 8, 2010 2:50 AM

The Warning should be mandatory viewing for all members of congress. THANK YOU PBS, great work!

Paul Whetsel / January 8, 2010 4:03 PM

For the life of me I cannot understand why this national tea party movement is taking shape. They talk about less government intervention, less taxes, and straight up disregard to what the government did to keep America from collapsing. In talking to my wife the other day I regret saying “Paulson, Bernanke and Congress should have let it all fall.” But to think of the catastrophe that would have been, the joblessness and all that comes with that. If we had the regulation in place that (Greenspan was against) this would not been so bad. Take for instance just the Credit Default Swap (CDS) if it would have been named as it should have been “Credit Default Swap INSURANCE” it would have been regulated. Letting AIG put itself out there on such a thin rope was reckless and the fault of Deregulation (Greenspan). I am all for profit but profit that is created by taking advantage of a situation is equivalent to stealing. Free Markets have shown that they must be regulated. Just like my freedom here in America it is limited to what I can do because I have entered into a pact of how I should live with the freedom this country grants me. While I am free I am regulated. Why not the Markets? One solution in my opinion is XBRL and how businesses report their earnings. We can setup powerful computers to look for trends and anomalies that could take our system to the brink like 2008. Please support regulation, let’s not let a few men on Wall street crash our system again. One last note, pay your credit card debt and live on cash. This is what I have learned from PBS and their WONDERFUL documentaries.

Guillermo Cruz / January 9, 2010 5:42 PM
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