Directed by Charles Ferguson (Sony Pictures Classics, 2010)
While accepting the Oscar in February for his extraordinary documentary, Charles Ferguson noted that two years into a global economic meltdown caused by massive financial fraud, not one person or company had been accused of a crime.
Though many applauded Ferguson’s courageous and prophetic film, very few of the 1 billion people who watched the Oscars believe anyone in an executive suite will ever go to prison for the high crimes and treason Wall Street committed against countless millions of investors, stockholders, borrowers, homeowners, workers, and taxpayers. The unsettling truth of this film is that officials and legislators of both parties who decided that Wall Street’s financial behemoths are “too big to fail” have also determined that their bosses and boards are “too big to jail.”
Inside Job is a riveting “true crime” story about a colossal heist perpetrated in plain sight with the often willing cooperation of the very agencies and officials who should have protected American consumers and taxpayers. Like other heist films, this movie shows us the wickedly clever means used to breach the security systems protecting other people’s treasure.
Instead of drilling through walls or crawling though a web of laser beams, Wall Street’s leading bankers and brokers (with the aid of their Washington regulators-turned-playmates) use deregulation, credit default swaps, and predatory loans to steal millions from their own clients and investors. Ferguson makes it painfully clear that this daylight robbery was executed right in front of Democratic and Republican administrations with the full support of academic and professional economists who regularly ignored or attacked anyone foolish enough to sound an alarm.
Inside Job should be required viewing for every homeowner, taxpayer, and citizen being told by pundits that we need less regulation of financial markets. Give a copy to your banker, broker, and representative.