"Inside Job," A Movie Everyone Should See

Milton Friedman, apostle of de-regulation
Milton Friedman, apostle of de-regulation
Ronald Reagan--"The government is the enemy."
Ronald Reagan--"The government is the enemy."
Alan Greenspan--follower of Ayn Rand who failed to regulate the big banks
Alan Greenspan--follower of Ayn Rand who failed to regulate the big banks
Robert Rubin and Bill Clinton--responsible for repealing the Glass Steagall Act which prohibited banks from gambling with their depositors' money
Robert Rubin and Bill Clinton--responsible for repealing the Glass Steagall Act which prohibited banks from gambling with their depositors' money
Supporter of de-regulation, consultant to hedge funds while teaching economics at Harvard
Supporter of de-regulation, consultant to hedge funds while teaching economics at Harvard
Started two foolish costly wars, cut taxes for the rich, signed an un-funded Medicare drug program written by pharmaceutical industry lobbyists, left Obama with a huge deficit
Started two foolish costly wars, cut taxes for the rich, signed an un-funded Medicare drug program written by pharmaceutical industry lobbyists, left Obama with a huge deficit
Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, slow to react but has pulled out all the stops to end the deep recession
Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, slow to react but has pulled out all the stops to end the deep recession
Tim Geithner, Obama's Secretary of the Treasury, quite close to the Wall Street bankers
Tim Geithner, Obama's Secretary of the Treasury, quite close to the Wall Street bankers

"Inside Job," a "Must-see" Movie

Inside Job is a documentary written and directed by Charles Ferguson, narrated by Matt Damon and starring Ronald Reagan, Alan Greenspan, Bill Clinton, Henry Paulson, Robert Rubin, Glenn Hubbard and many others whose obsession with deregulation and whose regulatory failures led to the banking crisis and worldwide recession that began in 2008 with the bankruptcy of Lehman and AIG and the collapse of GM and Chrysler.

The movie dissects the origin and development of the mortgage bubble, it's meltdown and the resulting world recession which resulted in 30 million people losing their jobs. Like Michael Moore's documentaries, Inside Job is composed of ambush interviews, news clips and comments by most of the key players who declined to be interviewed and by critics of banking practices and regulatory failures, beginning with the Reagan administration and continuing until the world wide economic crash which began at the end of the Bush administration in 2008.

The documentary takes viewers step by step through the developments, beginning with deregulation debacle in the savings and loan industry under Reagan and continuing through subsequent administrations including, importantly, the repeal under Bill Clinton of the Glass-Steagall Act which had required the separation of banking and riskier securities trading activities since 1933. The elements leading to the housing bubble and the financial meltdown were deregulation of the banking industry, securitization of the mortgage industry through the creation of mortgage derivatives, excessive bank leverage creating excessive risk and failure of the bond rating houses to accurately assess the risk brought about by securitization of subprime mortgages.

The movie is similar to several of Michael Moore's movies such as "Wall Street, A Love Affair." Inside Job's lack of Moore's humor is more than made up by the detail and clarity which it provides about the dogmatic faith in unregulated markets, abuses, growth and influence of Wall Street banking behemoths and how they have captured government economic and regulatory policy, including the recent weak regulatory bills signed by Barack Obama.

However, one of the most compelling and damning portions of the documentary is its expose of how the financial industry pays economists at top universities and graduate business schools to write articles expressing their viewpoints without disclosing the payments they get for the "research" and serving as directors of the companies. Larry Summers, former Clinton Treasury Secretary, Harvard President and chief Obama economic adviser, has made millions consulting for hedge funds. The Dean of the Columbia Business School, former Bush chief economist, R. Glenn Hubbard, and Reagan economist Martin Feldstein came across as arrogant and defensive when pressed by the interviewer about their ties to Wall Street and their role in the rush to de-regulation and tax cuts for the richest Americans. John Campbell, chairman of Harvard's economics department and Glen Hubbard were reduced by the interviewer's questions "to stammering obfuscation," to borrow a phrase from A.O. Scott's N.Y. Times review of the documentary.

The most discouraging conclusion of the documentary is it's demonstration of how seamlessly the the baton was passed from the Wall Street insiders and fanatical Friedmanite free market economists to Treasury Secretaries and de-regulators in the Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush administrations. And many of the same true believer captives of Wall Street were appointed by President Obama, belying and undermining his eloquent vows to reform the financial industry.

To borrow another phrase from A.O. Scott's review , the movie is "about a crime without punishment" and with millions of victims.


Harper's Weekly, Mr. Fish

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Comments 45 comments

Ronald Diebel 5 years ago

I will be sure and see it.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 5 years ago

Thank you for this review Ralph. I shall take your advice and see it. The impact of the meltdown was felt worldwide but luckily for us in India, the tremors were less here.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Ronald and Sabu, Thanks for your comments. The movie was very well done.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 5 years ago from SE MA

Ayup. That's on our "must see" list.


GladYaMetMe! 5 years ago

Great--we can finally say our instincts were "right on the money" all to way to the poor house. Now the weasels have their sights on "privatizing" Social Security and Medicare.

Bill Maher is right--Americans are stupid and complacent sheep.


William R. Wilson profile image

William R. Wilson 5 years ago from Knoxville, TN

I'll be watching this one Ralph! Thanks for spreading the word about it.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

You'll like it, but it'll make you angry.


fatcat 5 years ago

I wonder why didn't they talk to Frank and Dodd, too


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Frank was in the documentary, either in an interview or a television clip. Dodd wasn't mentioned one way or the other.


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA

I'm really hesitant to subject myself to further confirmation of what I've known for so long, but you're right...I've got to see this. I just know I'll go in with my blood pressure perfect and come out sky high. I wanna bring my kids. They've heard me long enough, wait 'til they listen to this!

Thanks for the recomendation.

CP


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

That's got to be worth seeing. Thanks Ralph.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Thanks, all, for your kind comments. The movie is worth seeing although it's likely to make you angry.


latitude38 profile image

latitude38 5 years ago from tamalpais valley, ca.

thanks for the review,i 'll pot it on my must see list


George Nagle 5 years ago

Thank you, Ralph, for bringing this to my attention. I'm not sure I'll watch it, excellent though it is, as I already encounter enough to make me angry!


Kaye 5 years ago

Really interesting. Will surely watch this


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 5 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

I love movies about tragedies, Ralph Deeds, but I won't be going to see this one because I quit watching contemporary movies entirely after suffering through three highly touted movies that were more like watching psychedelic slides than real movies. I'll stick to watching the old, old movies on AMC and TNT and on my tapes. Anyway, I saw tragedy this play out in real life, so I don't need to see it again on celluloid. Thanks for another great hub.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Thanks, William. I also enjoy old movies. Recently, for the first time I watched "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." I'd known about the movie but never seen it. What a performance by Bette Davis. Joan Crawford was excellent also. I haven't seen anything recently to match it. "Glenngarry, Glen Ross" is about the only one that comes close.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

There is surely some truth in the film, Ralph. But how can any film about the financial collapse start with Reagan, instead of Jimmy Carter and his years of "malaise" and the Community Reinvestment Act? How can it not get into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Carter did deregulate the trucking and airlines industries, now that you mention it. But he never got much credit from the conservative critics for doing this. But the hard core deregulation boom really started with Reagan who said "The government is the enemy." Carter neither said nor believed anything like that.

Tnx for your comment, James.


movies star 5 years ago

Thanks for this article.

I want to watch this movie in next time.


Harvey Stelman profile image

Harvey Stelman 5 years ago from Illinois

Ralph, Nice job, I am not sure about where the truth lyes in all of this. H


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Harvey, see the movie and you'll find out. Also Joe Nocera just came out with a book on the subject. The "Big Short" by Michael Lewis is also quite good. I haven't read Nocera's book yet. It will come after I've finished your book.


Ron Edward 5 years ago

Biased- film neglected to mention the positive results of Reagan unleashing the capital markets that created millions of jobs that lifted all Americans. The real culprits are the phoney ratings given by the rating agencies. Without a bogus rating, there was no buyer for the bonds. The comment in the movie about how the middle class used their refi money prudently is far from fact, I saw the refis' and the money was wasted irresposibly, over and over. It was a get rich scheme, by Wall Street and the borrowers that no one knew would ever end. Stop perpetrating the myth of the poor homeowner victims who borrowed, spent and borrowed more. Same greed as wall street. People are the same.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment although we don't agree on all points. There is plenty of blame going on starting with Reagan and continuing with subsequent president's up to Obama, Congress, Fanny and Freddy, Moody's and the other bond rating firms, crooked mortgage brokers, dishonest realestate appraisers, greedy Wall Street banksters that created toxic mortgage derivative and sold them all over the world.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

“Inside Job,” the Oscar-nominated documentary directed by Charles Ferguson, takes a piercing look at the financial crisis. Told through the lens of economists like Nouriel Roubini and investors like George Soros, the film lays much of the blame on Wall Street and a revolving door of regulators, many of whom came straight from the big banks.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/after-expos...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

"Inside Job" won the best documentary Academy Award.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore

I just saw this movie a week or so ago and I still can't get it out of my head. It shocked me....not just the depth of the rapacious greed, which I kind of already new about but rather that the same dishonest, opportunistic people who created the crisis are back pulling the strings.

And yes,I also was surprised at those economics professors and their *conflict of interest*. The whole system is a vicious circle.

Compelling viewing.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Thanks for this well-written review. I haven't seen this documentary yet but am going to look for it. I have read about many of the things you wrote in this review but it sounds like it would be interesting to see them all put together in this documentary and to see actual interviews of some of the economists and people who were involved with changes that led to the worldwide economic repercussions.

Voted up, useful and interesting.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 4 years ago Author

Don't miss it! Thanks for your comment.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

An excellent documentary; it didn’t have the time to cover all of the aspects, but provides a fairly accurate insider view of what happened. Capitalism works; but greed and ignorance do not and this was at the heart of the problem.

The number of people hurt in the Savings and Loan crisis were not nearly as far-reaching as the 2008 global crisis. How far will it extend in the next crisis if effective regulation is not imposed as this industry continues to grow? History has taught us that we certainly need the financial services industry; but not sitting on Capitol Hill or in the White House. Government better stay ahead of the curve on these issues or this will undoubtedly happen again.

Excellent hub!


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 4 years ago from Miami, US

I want to see this, but I'm afraid of the rage it will bring out in me. Your review was helpful.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 4 years ago Author

I think it probably made nearly everyone who saw it angry. It sure did me. Thanks for your comment.


CupcakeAvenger 4 years ago

To Ron Edward, I'd have to say the the "unleashing" of the capital markets creating millions of jobs obviously didn't last long once all the deregulation had time to corrupt. Also, you have a good point about the homeowners saying "Same greed as wall street. People are the same" ... More the reason to have regulation knowing that the greed and corruption will take over if we let it operate unchecked, that goes for anything!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 4 years ago Author

Thanks for your valid comment.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 3 years ago Author

10-14-12NYTimes "Sheila Bair Tells All About the NY Bank Bailouts by Gretchen Morgenson

Sheila Bair Bares it All

"As described by Ms. Bair, the events of the fall of 2008 showed that many financial regulators were desperate to make anyone but those who created the crisis pay for its devastation....

"The other disturbing theme in Ms. Bair’s book involves favored treatment given to Citibank and its parent by top regulators. Even as the bank racked up billions in losses on its mortgage and derivatives businesses in 2007 and 2008, Ms. Bair writes, no meaningful supervisory measures were taken against Citi by either the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency or the New York Fed, its main regulators."


Nancy 3 years ago

So why isn't Obama in the list? He played a BIG role in the housing crisis.


Nancy 3 years ago

Also, where's Jimmy Carter? It was his Community Reinvestment Act at the heart of all the problems.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 3 years ago Author

Nancy, As far as I know President Obama had little or nothing to do with the housing crisis. And I don't think it's accurate to blame Jimmy Carter either. Thanks for your comments.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 3 years ago Author


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Hi Ralph, very informative hub. I did not see any mention of Neal and Marvin Bush who were a big part of the collapse of the S&L industry, as I was reading the book by Martin Mayer 'The Greatest-Ever Bank Robbery' and then reading your hub, and wondered that they were not mentioned?

Voted up, Interesting and shared.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 2 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Neal Bush, George W. Bush's younger brother:

"Neil Bush was a member of the board of directors of Denver-based Silverado Savings and Loan during the 1980s' larger Savings and Loan crisis. As his father, George H.W. Bush, was Vice President of the United States, his role in Silverado's failure was a focal point of publicity. According to a piece in Salon, Silverado's collapse cost taxpayers $1.3 billion.[4]

The US Office of Thrift Supervision investigated Silverado's failure and determined that Bush had engaged in numerous "breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest." Although Bush was not indicted on criminal charges, a civil action was brought against him and the other Silverado directors by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; it was eventually settled out of court, with Bush paying $50,000 as part of the settlement.[5]

A friend who also donated funds to the Republican set up a fund to help defer costs Neil incurred in his S&L legal defense.[6]


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 2 years ago Author

And here's a link to information about Marvin Bush's involvement with a firm funded by money from Kuwait which was responsible for security at the World Trade Center and two major airports.

http://www.apfn.net/messageboard/10-16-03/discussi...


DennisCMyers 21 months ago

You wrote, "Inside Job is composed of ambush interviews..." Please name one. I saw not one instance of anyone being confronted getting out of a car, on the sidewalk leaving an office. I saw only plainly scheduled interviews in offices, conference rooms, and other such settings. Some of the interviews were rigorous, but that's an interviewer's job. That doesn't make them ambushes.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 21 months ago Author

Perhaps that's a bit of an overstatement. Some of the interviews were with individuals sympathetic to Ferguson's position. I saw the movie 4 years ago when it came out, and can't recall many details.. I do think that Ferguson borrowed a bit from Michael Moore's hostile interview technique. I seem to recall R. Glenn Hubbard's, non-plussed, lame response to the interviewer's questions. Thanks for your comment.


Lauren Lubaroff profile image

Lauren Lubaroff 20 months ago from Warminster, Pennsylvania

I just DVR'd Inside Job last week on the Pivot network and can't wait to watch it. If you missed it, no worries, they've been showing it every few weeks or so. I just recently came across Pivot & fell in love - they're always showing great documentaries like this one, as well as Doctored (how people are treated in the health care system), The 99% (self explanatory), and Food Stamped (two men try to eat on $2.50/day, the average that the system provides to those on SNAP, the "food stamp" program), and lots more. If you're not familiar with it, check it out!

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