Producer Alex Blumberg tells the story of Jeff Smith, a former Missouri State Senator who spent last year in federal prison. The story of how Jeff ended up there includes large sins, but begins with a relatively small one.
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Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and NPR Congressional correspondent Andrea Seabrook take a tour through the world of money and politics, discovering just how much time members of Congress spend raising money and which committee assignments yield the biggest campaign donations. They also try to figure out what all this money is actually buying.For an interactive map of Washington DC fundraiser locations, charts of the best and worst types of fundraisers, and other online extras, visit Planet Money's website.
Though the name of the Federal Reserve includes the word "federal," it's not actually part of the government. It's an independent institution tasked with something very simple, but very huge: Creating money out of thin air.
Why is it that Barbados and Jamaica faced almost identical financial crises, but now Jamaica is incredibly poor and Barbados is prospering? Alex Blumberg reports on the surprising strategy Barbados used to survive its crisis. Alex first learned about this story from a paper by Peter Blair Henry, the dean of the Stern School of Business at New York University.
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.
Our crack economics duo, Producer Alex Blumberg and NPR International Economics Correspondent Adam Davidson, on how a dead, slutty, elitist British man, John Maynard Keynes, is about to take over the American economy. President Obama's new stimulus plan relies on Keynes'; theory, which says that government can spend its way out of a downward economic spiral.
To deal with the financial crisis, our own government has also had to reinvent itself, with questionable consequences. This American Life producer Alex Blumberg and NPR's financial reporter Adam Davidson talk to Brad Setser, an economist at the Council on Foreign Relations who used to work at the U.S. Treasury.
This American Life producer Alex Blumberg teams up with NPR's Adam Davidson for the entire hour to tell the story—the surprisingly entertaining story—of how the U.S. got itself into a housing crisis. They talk to people who were actually working in the housing, banking, finance and mortgage industries, about what they thought during the boom times, and why the bust happened.
Alex and Adam's story continues.
There's probably no house more famous for the bad behavior of its denizens than the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has issued a report condemning the Bush Administration for what it called "distorting and censoring scientific findings that contradict" Administration policies. One of the cases cited in the report involves something called the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning.
The 2000 election season was strange in that many of the issues that the candidates debated most heatedly were ones that most of us have no handle on—prescription drug policy, social security solvency...and educational accountability. Producer Alex Blumberg travels to North Carolina, a state where many of the promises both candidates make regarding education are already in place.