How One Economics Reporter Experienced His Own Mortgage Meltdown

houses like dominoes; via iStockPhoto

Paul Solman: Who knew? I’ve been reading Ed Andrews since he took over the New York Times patents column back in the late 1980s, and I followed him following the housing crisis. But until the NYT magazine excerpted his new book, Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown, who knew that he was one of its victims?

Very few people, it turns out, though among them was Alan Greenspan, as it happens, to whom Andrews blurted out his plight during an interview in December of 2007.

In “Busted,” lucid explanations of the crisis are interwoven with a story as brutally candid as it is poignant. On camera, Andrews, his wife Patricia Barreiro, and mortgage broker Bob Andrews (no relation) were similarly honest.

Here’s part of our exchange:

Paul Solman: Would you have written a book that’s this disclosive if you weren’t desperately in need of money?

Ed Andrews: I certainly thought that maybe if I got really lucky that this book might solve some of my financial woes, and by the way I beg anybody to buy the book and save my house! I would love that! But I will also say that as a journalist I thought that I had a really amazing opportunity here.

But how, given his sophistication — an NYT reporter reporting COVERING the story, for goodness’ sake…

Paul Solman: How could you possibly have fallen for it?

Ed Andrews: I didn’t fall for it. I knew it was a huge gamble. It was the biggest gamble of my life, there was no question in my mind. I was praying to God to forgive me for the sins I was about to commit but you know the money was there.

You can see our segment featuring Ed below.