Since the financial meltdown began, trillions of dollars have been spent rescuing banks and jumpstarting economies, yet recovery remains fragile. Fears abound of a “double-dip” return to recession. The millions around the world who lost homes and jobs are demanding answers: How did it all go so wrong? Who is to blame? These answers and much more are to be found in this 4-part comprehensive documentary video portrait by CBC’s DocZone of the worst economic crisis of a generation.
The CBC’s Terence McKenna (www.cbc.ca/doczone/) takes viewers behind the headlines and into the backrooms at the highest levels of world governments and banking institutions in a 4-part investigation that reveals the astonishing level of backstabbing and tension behind the scenes as the world came dangerously close to another Great Depression.
[The following article is presented by Lorimer Wilson, editor of www.FinancialArticleSummariesToday.com and www.munKNEE.com and may have been edited ([ ]), abridged (…) and/or reformatted (some sub-titles and bold/italics emphases) for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. This paragraph must be included in any article re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.]
Episode One: The Men Who Crashed The World
Greed and recklessness by the titans of Wall Street triggers the largest financial crash since the Great Depression. It’s left to US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, himself a former Wall Street banker, to try and avert further disaster.
Episode Two: The Global Tsunami
The meltdown’s devastation ripples around the world from California to Iceland and China. Facing economic ruin, desperate world leaders are at each other’s throats.
Episode Three: Paying the Price
The victims of the meltdown fight back. In Iceland, protestors force a government to fall. In Canada, ripped off autoworkers occupy their plant and, in France, furious union members kidnap their bosses.
Episode Four: After the Fall
Investigators begin to sift through the meltdown’s rubble. Shaken world leaders question the very foundations of modern capitalism while asking: could it all happen again?
The Hard Facts About the Meltdown
- Half of America owns only 2.5% of country’s wealth. The top 1% owns a third of it.
- The gap between the top 0.01% and everyone else hasn’t been this bad since the Roaring Twenties.
- In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheque to the average worker’s paycheque was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
- In 2008, the total national household debt in Canada has reached an all-time high of $1.3 trillion. A survey found that 42% of respondents said their personal debt was rising in the past three years, and 21%said they couldn’t manage their debt.
- 61% of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49% in 2008 and 43% in 2007. The numbers are similar in Canada.
- A staggering 43% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
- In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
- In 2008, the World Economic Forum rated Canada’s banking system No. 1 in the world. The U.S. came in right behind — Namibia.
- It is being projected that the U.S. government will have a budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars in 2010. How much is that? If you went out and spent one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars.
- In February 2010, there were 5.5 unemployed Americans for every job opening.
- In California’s Central Valley, 1 out of every 16 homes is in some phase of foreclosure.
- U.S. banks repossessed nearly 258,000 homes nationwide in the first quarter of 2010, a 35% jump from the first quarter of 2009.
- In May 2009, the number of Canadians getting regular employment insurance benefits in reached 778,700, the highest level on comparable records going back 12 years. During the month, the number of people getting EI benefits grew by 9.2%, from April.
- More than 24% of all homes with mortgages in the United States were underwater (the mortgage is more than the current market value of the home) as of the end of 2009.
- This recession has erased 8 million private sector jobs in the United States.
- 39.68 million Americans are now on food stamps, which represents a new all-time record. But things look like they are going to get even worse. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecastingthat enrollment in the food stamp program will exceed 43 million Americans in 2011.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average just experienced the worst May it has seen since 1940.
- If you only make the minimum payment each and every time, a $6,000 credit card bill can end up costing you over $30,000 (depending on the interest rate).
- Approximately 21% of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
- In 2010 the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.
- In 2009, U.S. banks posted their sharpest decline in private lending since 1942.
- During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.
- As of February 2009, there were 111,500 employees working in motor vehicle assembly and parts, down 37% from its peak in 2001, according to a Stats Canada report.
- According to a Pew Research Center study, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession.
- For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.