The economic crisis explained in "The Giant Pool of Money"


Bad news about the economy is everywhere -- in cocktail conversation, at the water cooler, and on the evening news. You can nod and groan and grimace with the best of the doomsayers, but do you really understand how the nation got itself into this financial mess?

One of the best places to go for an explanation in 2008 was This American Life. Back in May, NPR's Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson teamed up to explain the housing crisis and its relationship to Wall Street's troubles. 

Here's a summary of the program, "The Giant Pool of Money," from NPR:

A special program about the housing crisis produced in a special collaboration with NPR News. We explain it all to you. What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income? And why is everyone talking so much about the 1930s? It all comes back to the Giant Pool of Money.

The program is still as fresh now as when it was aired. You can still listen to the program online or get a transcript.