Host Ira Glass explains how the Planet Money team spent a thousand dollars of their own money to buy a toxic asset, and introduces Planet Money reporters David Kestenbaum and Chana Joffe-Walt. Their stories about "Toxie" have appeared on the Planet Money podcast and daily public radio news shows, and are collected here for the first time, into one epic, Dickensian tale.
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David and Chana buy a toxic asset, from a guy named Wit Solberg, who used to work on Wall Street and now helps small banks who've been saddled with toxic assets. Turns out...it's hard to buy a toxic asset.
David and Chana try to track down the actual homeowners in their toxic asset. The toxic asset is made up of 2000 mortgages all over the country.
David and Chana discover a dark criminal plot inside their toxic asset.
David and Chana meet another toxic asset owner, like themselves. Only difference, David and Chana bought theirs after it was already toxic, for a steep discount, 99% off.
David and Chana's toxic asset, which has acquired the nickname Toxie, gets sick. And the payments that it's supposed to provide them every month stop.
Ira with Planet Money economics correspondent Adam Davidson on why—even after everything President Obama has done to save Wall Street, actions which have led to record profits and bonuses—Wall Street seems ungrateful. Adam and producer Jane Feltes head out to a Wall Street bar where they're told by three finance guys that there's no reason to thank the President for saving their jobs. Planet Money is a co-production of This American Life and NPR News.
Planet Money's Chana Joffe-Walt has this story about a really ambitious million dollar idea: Getting people to see the good side of death. Planet Money is a collaboration between NPR and This American Life.
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.
A hedge fund named Magnetar comes up with an elaborate plan to make money. It sponsors the creation of complicated and ultimately toxic financial securities...while at the same time betting against the very securities it helped create. Planet Money's Alex Blumberg teams up with two investigative reporters from ProPublica, Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger, to tell the story.
Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg from our Planet Money team report on economic forecasts for 2010 and what they can and cannot accurately predict. Planet Money is a co-production of This American Life and NPR News.