Wednesday, October 20, 2010

INSIDE JOB - The Documentary


From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson (“No End In Sight”), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.

This film attempts to provide a comprehensive portrayal of an extremely important and timely subject: the worst financial crisis since the Depression, which continues to haunt us via Europe’s debt problems and global financial instability. It was a completely avoidable crisis; indeed for 40 years after the reforms following the Great Depression, the United States did not have a single financial crisis. However, the progressive deregulation of the financial sector since the 1980s gave rise to an increasingly criminal industry, whose “innovations” have produced a succession of financial crises. Each crisis has been worse than the last; and yet, due to the industry’s increasing wealth and power, each crisis has seen few people go to prison. In the case of this crisis, nobody has gone to prison, despite fraud that caused trillions of dollars in losses. I hope that the film, in less than two hours, will enable everyone to understand the fundamental nature and causes of this problem. It is also my hope that, whatever political opinions individual viewers may have, that after seeing this film we can all agree on the importance of restoring honesty and stability to our financial system, and of holding accountable those to destroyed it.

How Deregulation and the Evolution of Wall Street Culture Led to the Financial Crisis

A chronological re-ordering of the events and arguments of INSIDE JOB

1930s (post-Great Depression)-1979: Traditional American finance
1933-35: Motivated by financial abuses that contributed to the Great Depression, new laws such as the Glass-Steagall Act and the Securities and Exchange Act place limits on financial risk-taking and require extensive disclosure of financial information
• Bankers/traders earned salaries in line with other professionals; tightly regulated financial sector

1980s: The Reagan Era: laissez-faire and trickle-down economics
• Substantial deregulation, especially the Garn-St. Germain Act which deregulates Savings and Loan companies, leading to the later S&L crisis
• Oliver Stone’s Wall Street immortalized financial sector greed and immorality
• S&L scandal: loose regulations, lax enforcement lead to massive fraud; hundreds of S&Ls fail lax enforcement lead to massive fraud; hundreds of S&Ls fail; $124 billion taxpayer-funded bailout
• Neil Bush approves $100 million of bad loans to business partners through Silverado S&L, which subsequently fails
• 1989: Keating Five: Four senators and CEO Charles Keating accused of improper influence in advocating against investigating Lincoln S&L, which collapses and Keating is convicted of fraud
• 1987-1990: Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky and other Wall Street executives convicted of fraud and insider trading

1990s: Clinton era: increasing revolving door between Washington and Wall Street
• 1999: Clinton administration members with Wall Street backgrounds help pass the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, aka the “Citigroup Relief Act,” repealing Glass-Steagall and allowing mergers that create Citigroup
• 1994: A new law gives the Federal Reserve power to regulate the mortgage industry, but Alan Greenspan refuses to enact any regulations, on the grounds that regulation was unnecessary
• 2000: Clinton Administration, particularly Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan and key Congress members including Senator Phil Gramm help enact the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which bans all regulation of financial derivatives and exempts them from anti-gambling laws
• 2000: Dot-com bubble bursts
• 2000-2002: Eliot Spitzer sues 8 investment banks for conflict of interest and recommending dot-com stocks they thought were junk; reaches settlements totaling $1.4 billion in fines

2000s: George Bush pushes for further deregulation and relaxed enforcement
• 2000-2005: Investigations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reveal massive accounting fraud
• 2002: Arthur Andersen, auditor, convicted of obstruction of justice for shredding Enron documents
• 2003: Worldcom revealed to have inflated assets by $11 billion
• 2000s: new crops of highly complex financial innovations flourish: securitization of mortgages, credit default swaps, synthetic CDOs
• 2000-2007: Fed by the investment banking industry, a massive housing and mortgage credit bubble sweeps the United States; mortgage lending quadruples, housing prices double
• 2004: After intense lobbying by investment banks, the SEC lifts the leverage limits on the investment banking industry, allowing them to borrow more
• 2005: IMF chief economist Raghuram Rajan warns of dangerous incentives and risks in the financial system; Larry Summers dismisses him as a “Luddite”
• 2005-2008: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and other investment banks begin using credit default swaps to bet against the same mortgage securities that they are selling as extremely safe
• 2006: Hank Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs, becomes Treasury Secretary
• 2007: The housing bubble bursts, as the financial sector runs out of people willing to borrow and purchase more housing; home ownership reaches an all-time high, while savings rates are at historic lows

2008: Great Recession begins
• Collapse of Bear Stearns (March) and then Lehman Brothers (September)
• AIG rescued with $85 billion one day after Lehman declares bankruptcy
• Housing prices drop by 32 percent over three-year period
• Record foreclosures
• Unemployment rises from 5% to 10% in one year
• Tens of billions in bailout money go to AIG and Goldman Sachs
• $700 billion emergency bailout for the financial industry

2010s: The Obama era: Business as usual?
• Timothy Geithner becomes Treasury Secretary
• Larry Summers becomes director of the National Economic Council
• President Obama re-appoints Ben Bernanke
• Obama appoints many Wall Street executives to senior regulatory and economic policy positions

Charles Ferguson, the founder of Representational Pictures and the director of Inside Job, is a filmmaker, writer, and political scientist. A native of San Francisco, California, Ferguson obtained a B.A. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1978 and a Ph.D. in political science from M.I.T. in 1989. Following his Ph.D., Ferguson was a postdoctoral researcher at M.I.T. for three years, focusing on interactions between high technology, globalization, and government policy, and frequently consulting to U.S. government agencies including the White House staff, the Defense Department, and the U.S. Trade Representative. Then from 1992 to 1994 Ferguson was an independent consultant to high technology companies including Apple, Xerox, Motorola, Intel, and Texas Instruments. In 1994 Ferguson founded Vermeer Technologies, a software company which developed FrontPage, the first end-user Web site development tool, which he sold to Microsoft in 1996. Subsequently he spent several years as a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a visiting scholar at M.I.T. and U.C., Berkeley.

In mid-2005, Ferguson formed Representational Pictures and began production of his first film, No End In Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq, which premiered at the Sundance Festival in 2007. No End In Sight won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, the Best Documentary prizes of the New York and Los Angeles Film Critics circles, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Ferguson has authored several books including High Stakes, No Prisoners: A Winner’s Tale of Greed and Glory in the Internet Wars, and Computer Wars: The Post-IBM World (co-authored with Charles Morris).

Audrey Marrs is the producer of Inside Job, a documentary about the global financial crisis and No End In Sight, a documentary about U.S. policy in Iraq, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award along with director Charles Ferguson. Marrs obtained her master's degree in curatorial practice from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. After completing her graduate degree, she worked as a freelance curator prior to becoming a film producer. Marrs is the C.O.O. of Representational Pictures and divides her time between Berkeley, California and New York City.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stop Mis-Information! ENOUF SAID!

Never Forget

Building 7 WTC 2001

Events - The San Diego County Community Coalition