New PBS Investigation Takes Viewers Inside The Financial Collapse

Former Treasury Paulson

Former Treasury Paulson

“Breaking the Bank” is a documentary that will be first broadcast tonight on some PBS stations. This is Michael Kirk’s most provocative and insightful work so far in which viewers get a chance to understand the underlying forces of the recent financial collapse.

It is focused on the controversial purchase of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America right after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. At the center of the high tension drama were then Chairman & CEO of Bank Of America’s Ken Lewis & former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

The investigative PBS piece on FRONTLINE reports that Paulson offered Lewis billions of taxpayers’ money to cover Merrill Lynch’s toxic assets. This was, however, kept secret for a month. Lewis now claims that he was coerced by Paulson into the deal.

Ken Lewis was stripped of his dual role at Bank of America (as Chairman and CEO) in May as a result of that transaction.

Lewis testified on June 11 at a hearing in Congress that he was told by both Fed Chairman Bernanke and Paulson that his job and the US economy at large were on the line if the deal with Merrill Lynch didn’t happen. During the hearing, a Congressman went as far as calling the deal a ” shot gun wedding “.

View a preview/clip of “Breaking the Bank” and get scheduling information for your specific area.


  • Digg this story by clicking this link.
  • Share

    12 Responses to New PBS Investigation Takes Viewers Inside The Financial Collapse

    1. Gilbert Mercier
      Gilbert Mercier June 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm

      Thank you so much for posting the link.

    2. half truths June 17, 2009 at 11:03 am

      No doubt PBS will not dig into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and how they started the collapse years ago by lowering the requirements necessary to qualify for loans. Thus forcing other banks to do the same to remain competitive.

      • Nate June 17, 2009 at 11:07 am

        @half truths — sure after the wachovia and others did the same.

      • Terence June 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm

        I don’t think they lowered the requirements to the point where banks and loan officers didn’t have to verify income. Let’s tell the whole truth.

      • Java June 17, 2009 at 1:18 pm

        Pure nonsense from the blame-the-victim cloud, I see… You on the right just cannot accept that the failure of your laughable ideological fallacies and your naive belief of a magical invisible market hand caused ALL of this.

    3. truth revealer June 17, 2009 at 11:10 am

      Inside the collapse or inside the aftermath? I’m sure they’ll leave out that Clinton’s administration deregulated the housing markets, which started the frenzy in the first place.

      • Java June 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm

        Nope, that is more wingnut claptrap that attempts to put the blame at just about anyone but their own corrupt and moronic feet. But as always, Freepers feel the need to post under multiple names to make their nonsense look like it has friends. It would be adorable if it wasn’t so disingenuous.

    4. Chris June 17, 2009 at 11:12 am

      I am surprised everyone didn’t know BofA was told to buy Merrill Lynch. Guess what, they were told to buy Countrywide too. Citi was told to buy Wachovia till Wells stepped in. This has been going on for years. “Tell you what, why don’t you buy this bank for us and I won’t tell my examiners to find any and every little thing you are doing wrong.” The regulators can be very persuasive about what they want their banks to do.

      I will still watch the PBS though. I love Frontline. It is probably the most robust investigative journalism we have right now. PBS in general is amazing and one of the things that I am happy my tax dollars go to.

    5. Donald June 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm

      We have always known why the collapse happened , even while it was happening. There are many articles and even books written on why all markets collapse on To simplify it, the Fed and local banks issued too much fake money into the system and this changed the structure of production, lowering interest rates and moving labor into areas that consumers did not want. Inevitably this can not continue and must collapse. If the government does nothing to hinder the restructuring, the bust will fix things quickly. Unfortunately, the government as usual failed to learn this simple lesson and pumped more money into the system, ensuring that unemployment will remain high for the next maybe 5 years, maybe longer. It is not a big secret except to the Keynesians and government.

    6. Java June 17, 2009 at 1:15 pm

      Absolutely incorrect, Donald. More Libertarian nonsense. Banking deregulation, lack of oversight and greed caused this mess, not fiat money. Fiat money saved this nation and has kept it running regardless of metals futures. Metals fluctuations would have destroyed this nation ten times over especially when most of the worlds gold and silver is found in nations we compete with. Add to this wasteful war spending and right-wing corruption and it becomes surprising that Obama may just yet undo the mess that the right has created, with no help at all from the naive claptrap from the Paultards.

    7. Grave June 18, 2009 at 3:39 am

      Great Article. Thanks.

    8. William Kent June 18, 2009 at 8:33 am

      Who’s Michael Kirk, and why is he doing Michael Moore’s job? Seriously.

    You must be logged in to post a comment Login