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Money_Pool_transcript - This American Life Ep isod e...

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This American Life Episode Transcript Program #355 The Giant Pool of Money [Ambient sound of piano playing and crowd murmur] Ira Glass: So Adam, where are we? Adam Davidson: I recorded this at the Ritz Carlton in lower Manhattan. It’s a black tie dinner, just a few weeks ago. Ira Glass: And you, by the way, are NPR’s International Business and Economics correspondent. Adam Davidson: That’s right. I was there for my job. They’re giving out awards for all these financial securities, including the one that nearly brought down the global financial system. You know, the whole sub prime mortgage crisis. Jim Finkel: This guy is a legend. He’s a granddaddy of our industry. Adam Davidson: I’m sitting at this dinner with Jim Finkel. He’s kind of nervous because he’s up for CDO of the Year for the CDO he created, Monterrey. Now, the CDO, that’s what we’re talking about, that’s the financial instrument that was central to this global credit crisis we’re in. Ira Glass: And they’re giving awards for this? These guys are giving each other awards for doing that? Adam Davidson: Let me just say, they’re aware that there’s a certain irony, giving awards to the instrument that almost destroyed the world’s economy. They did consider canceling this year but it’s been a really tough year, it’s been really gloomy for them. Jim Finkel: Honestly, I know this sounds. ..I was happy to see there were no major suicides, people weren’t jumping off bridges, there weren’t personal disasters. Adam Davidson: That same week, a few days earlier across the river in Brooklyn, I went to a completely different kind of gathering. It was not black tie. It was put on by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. It was people on the opposite side of the mortgage crisis. People facing foreclosure, trying to figure out how to keep their homes. I met this one guy Richard, he’s a Marine. This big guy, over six feet tall. When he came back from Iraq a few years ago he bought one of these fancy new mortgages with an adjustable rate. Recently his rate reset. It’s gone up by more than $2,000 a month and he’s fallen behind on his payments. Richard Campbell: At one point, my son had $7,000 in a CD and I had to break it. That really hurt. I was saving that money for his college. I put $2,000 back but it’s like you can’t have a future. They put you in a situation where after a while you’re going to fail. It’s hard.
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2 Adam Davidson: It’s clear these two groups are connected. Jim at the black tie dinner and Richard the marine. The sub prime crisis has connected them. Ira Glass: Right. And I know this is what sent you and one of the producers of our show, Alex Blumberg, on a big reporting mission these last few months. You saw that. That there’s this long chain of people that starts with these Wall Street guys and ends with people who stand to lose their houses. All along that chain there were bankers and brokers and investors and homeowners. Everybody deluded themselves,
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