Betting Against the American Dream - The Intrepid

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Betting Against the American Dream

Two Sundays ago, This American Life, a weekly NPR radio program that takes on themes from the good ol' US of A, broadcast an episode called "Inside Job."

The first act focuses on Magnetar Capital, a financial company that made billions of dollars by creating and then betting against toxic financial securities, while the second act looks at Barry Cooper, a former dirty narcotics cop, who now specializes in helping in helping drug dealers and busting crooked cops. Act two is pretty awesome, and well worth checking out, but it's the storied story of Magnetar that really steals the show.

After recognizing that Magnetar's money making scheme was similar to the plan cooked up by the crooked producers in Mel Brook's musical, The Producers, This American Life commissioned Robert Lopez, the creator of Avenue-Q, to make a short Broadway-style parody. You can listen to the musical number in the video above.

The background research on Magnetar was done by ProPublica, an online news site. Their story on Magnetar's sleazy dealings is also worth reading.

Video by This American Life.