Since Congress hasn't held 1930's-style hearings into the causes of the financial crisis, we stage one of our own. The subject? The regulators and watchdogs who were supposed to be overseeing the banks and the finance industry—to make sure things wouldn't blow up like they have. Clearly something went wrong. Today we pound a gavel and ask: Where were the watchmen?
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Host Ira Glass talks with Michael Perrino, a law professor at St Johns University School of Law in New York, who wrote a book about Ferdinand Pecora called The Hellhound of Wall Street. Pecora was the lead attorney in the Senate Banking Committee hearings in the 1930s looking into wrongdoing in the banking industry. When he got the job, he turned the hearings from an unimportant and not terrible useful exercise into a real investigation into Wall Street and the causes of the 1929 stock market collapse. It spurred Congress to pass landmark reforms regulating Wall Street. Ira and Perrino talk about whether these kinds of hearings could or should happen today. (9 minutes)
Investigation Report #1
Planet Money reporter Chana Joffe-Walt asks a simple question: Who was the federal regulator who was supposed to be regulating AIG? The answer turns out to be far from simple. (21 minutes)