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PBS – Age of Easy Money

PBS Frontline: This “new two-hour FRONTLINE special, Age of Easy Money, [read the transcript here] couldn’t come at a more appropriate time. It’s the story of an epic economic experiment that began in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and explains how we arrived at this unsettled moment. “If we hadn’t been driving our economy for 14 years with easy money and then tried to really quickly undo that now, we wouldn’t be having these problems,” former top banking regulator Sheila Bair told us this week in an interview for the documentary. [This] special charts our economy’s tumultuous course from the 2008 crisis, in which investors, speculators and Wall Street bankers nearly brought down the global economy, to the current uncertainty — including the pivotal role of the Federal Reserve, the country’s central bank. The film investigates the experiment the Fed undertook to revive the economy by lowering interest rates to almost zero and creating and injecting new money into the financial system. It’s been called an “easy money” policy — and as the documentary explores, now that the Fed has been pulling back and raising interest rates in an effort to combat inflation, the risks and excesses that had been building in the age of easy money are starting to be exposed. “We lived in a bubble, in a dream, and this dream in a bubble is bursting,” economist and author Nouriel Roubini, who became famous for his accurate prediction of the 2008 financial crisis, warns in the documentary. Age of Easy Money explores the wide-ranging and sometimes unintended consequences of the Fed’s experiment, and why the Fed chose last year to start hiking interest rates at a historic pace to stem inflation. “Now we have to bring the hammer,” Neel Kashkari, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, told correspondent James Jacoby. “Because if we don’t bring the hammer, this thing can get out of control.” Directed by James Jacoby and produced by Jacoby and Anya Bourg, the award-winning team behind Amazon Empire and The Facebook Dilemma, Age of Easy Money airs on PBS Tues., March 14, at a special time, 9/8c. The documentary draws on two years of reporting and interviews with prominent financial players, leading economic thinkers, current and former top-level Fed insiders, officials from the Trump and Biden administrations and people impacted by the country’s economic policies.” [h/t Pete Weiss]

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