Our criminal justice system has two extremes. On one end of the spectrum, we imprison people for decades for using marijuana or having consensual sex with their fellow teenagers. On the other end of the spectrum, we turn the other way for the really harmful stuff. For example, despite the blatant fraud and the trillions of dollars in public losses, those responsible for the recent financial meltdown were never prosecuted and rarely even investigated; instead, some of them walked away with hundreds of millions in bonuses while we bailed out their companies. And that’s what the documentary Inside Job is all about.
Inside Job explores the recent financial meltdown and exposes the perverse incentive programs, blatant conflicts of interest, and unparalleled fraud that set it all in motion. And, refreshingly, this documentary doesn’t take political sides. Sure, a lot of the problems were cooked up under Bush, Jr.’s watch, but some of it started as early as
, and Obama has done nothing but continue the status quo. In fact, despite his tough talk, Obama has refused to regulate these dangerous, egomaniacal children on Wall Street and has even rehired some of the same hacks whose policies caused the meltdown in the first place. That’s right: the same incompetents who were responsible for the crisis then got to engineer the bailouts, and then got to spend trillions of our money in failed stimulus programs to try and revive the economy they killed. Where’s Clinton ’s “three strikes” law when you really need it? California
But in addition to exposing the politicians, government economists, Wall Street executives, and ratings agencies that drove us into unprecedented chaos, Inside Job exposes another villain: Ivy League business and economics professors. Many of these profs were highly paid tools of special interest groups, and therefore played their own special role in the meltdown. Interestingly, some of these academics are still so hungry for attention that they foolishly agreed to be interviewed by the filmmakers. When confronted with the simplest of questions, these Ivy Leaguers stammered, stuttered, stumbled, and even shut-down right in front of the camera. This is the stuff that great documentaries are made of.
Inside Job is the best documentary—and possibly the best film—that I’ve ever seen. Although it doesn’t do the film justice, you can watch the trailer here. The DVD can be purchased here. Just don’t watch it too close to bedtime; the LA Times is right when it says the film will leave you “boiling with rage.”