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Documentary film - Movie Review Example

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I knew that the fall of many of the largest financial institutions in the country caused serious problems, but it was not until hearing many of the financial…
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Prior to watching the PBS documentary, Inside the Meltdown, I had not given a lot of thought about the financial crisis. I knew that the fall of manyof the largest financial institutions in the country caused serious problems, but it was not until hearing many of the financial experts describe the details of the financial collapse that enlightened me on the true scale of the problems that the meltdown caused. Also prior to watching this documentary, I had thought that the government was just giving out money to these companies so that they could continue to profit and not because the financial experts and government leaders wanted to prevent further damage to the economy.
I thought that Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson were correct in wanting to prevent institutions such as Behr Sterns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Lehman Brothers from going bankrupt. It appeared that if one financial institution was allowed to fail than a domino effect would begin to occur. In many cases, that did begin to happen when there was a refusal to bail out Lehman Brothers. When Lehman Brothers failed, it froze a lot of money for banks to lend out for short-term loans, which in effect halted a lot of the commerce that occurs within the country on a daily basis.
The compromise of preventing Behr Stern from going bankrupt by selling their stock shares off to JP Morgan for $2 per share seemed like an extreme measure initially. However after some thought, it was probably the best option for both the company, the economy and the Federal Reserve. While all parties wanted to avoid adverse effects of Behr Stern going bankrupt, selling off the shares for such a low price definitely sent a message that this type of assistance from the Federal Reserve to fix these types of faulty business practices would come with consequences.
There was also a lot of criticism towards the idea of giving capital injections to bail out large institutions, such as giving $80 billion to AIG to prevent them from going bankrupt or covering the $30 billion in toxic assets to Behr Stern. I understand the arguments against the idea, however I do not think that some of the arguments were made on fact and were made more on political principle. For example, many in Congress did not want to support the bill to give money to bail out the financial companies because they felt it went against the idea of free and open markets. While giving money to private companies did go against the idea of a free market economy, there were many experts and evidence showing that a bailout would slow down and avoid further crisis and costly affects. It only made sense to me for congress to approve the bill.
I could also see why the experts and government allowed Lehman Brothers to fail and go bankrupt. If they could see that there would be further institutions that could go bankrupt, then they needed to set a precedent that the Federal Reserve was not going to give billions of dollars to every financial institution. A bailout may also pave the way for the same financial institutions that were bailed out to ask for assistance again the next time they knowing take a risk and it proves to be very bad choice. These were points for the Federal Reserve to consider. In the end, had they left all of the institutions alone, there may have been more disastrous results.
In the end, I think the government did the right thing in voting to allocate billions of dollars to buy back all of the toxic assets that had accumulated within many of these companies, after the initial bill failed in the House of Representatives. This is because with the failure of Lehman Brothers, and the problems that it caused being so massive, it was too risky to not find solutions and prevent the other institutions from failing. Not doing so might have caused the economy and other elements of the country even greater problems that would be costlier and take more time to recover from.
Inside the Meltdown, presented the causes and effects of the bankruptcy of some of the largest financial institutions in the country from the perspective of the Federal Reserve and the people who are analyzing the events after they have happened. The documentary did highlight points of how the CEOs of these companies responded and actions taken to try to contain what had happened. I would have liked to have asked why they thought that it would be a good idea to put so much money into very risky investments. I would also ask the question, if you could see that trouble was being to unfold, what did you try to do, if anything, to correct it? I would also like to ask these companies, what are you doing now to ensure that something similar to this does not occur again?
Other topics and questions that come to mind are how the economy will recover from all of the damage done from this financial disaster? It makes me ask the question will the economy ever recover completely or if Americans will ever have the same lifestyle as before the financial crisis. Will Americans have a better lifestyle? In addition, I have to ask the question is that what if something similar to this even happens again or could it?
The topics presented within this documentary did not have a direct effect on me, or my life, but I can see that in the future it may have an effect. Because the financial crisis affected mortgages and loans within the housing industry so greatly, I probably will have a more difficult time obtaining a loan if and when I decide to buy a house. It stated in the documentary, that before the meltdown, it was once very easy to get a loan even if you could not afford the loan. This resulted many foreclosures that even years later the housing market still has not recovered from it. Therefore I can see that it will not only be harder for me to get a loan in the future but the loan I do obtain may be costlier. While it may not have been the intention of the large financial companies for their business practices to impact the country on such a massive scale, it not only forever affected their companies and investors but the average American as well. Read More
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