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It's The Economy, Stupid

On Sunday I moderated a discussion on the economy for the La Jolla Playhouse's Discovery Sunday Series. & The discussion followed the matinee performance of Tobacco Road, which led nicely into a comparison between today's economic crisis and the Great Depression. & However, I focused mainly on today's economy and what went wrong -- basically how it got sick and why the disease is spreading. & We started with the sub-prime mortgage crisis and dipped in along the timeline of illness at credit default swaps, the $700 billion bailout and ending with projections for the future. Obviously, credit default swaps are hardly part of my regular beat, so I had a lot of studying to do. & Plus, I was interviewing Todd Buchholz, a former economic policy advisor to the White House, who was also a Harvard professor of economics and a hedge fund manager. He was very entertaining on the subject and the audience seemed very engaged - especially when they got fiesty about the current state of affairs. &

As I was preparing for Sunday and telling people what I was up to, many expressed interest in what sources I was going to for easy explanations of the complicated mess we're in. & I thought it would be useful if I shared some of these sources because they were so helpful to me. &

The best, most accessible source on the sub-prime mortgage crisis and credit default swaps were two This American Life episodes. You can find them here. & The first is called The Giant Pool of Money and the second is Another Frightening Show About the Economy. &