Will Inside Job Start a Popular Rebellion?

By Erica Abeel|Huffington Post

Once in a great while there arrives an essential film that cuts through the fog of disinformation and punditry to expose the truth about a catastrophic event. Such a film is Charles Ferguson’s documentary, Inside Job, which clarifies for the everyman the financial meltdown of 2008 that wrecked the lives of millions.

You’d think this might be dry stuff, but in fact, it’s beautifully shot and deftly edited, with a jazzy score and the pacing of a whodunit. And it’s positively thrilling to hear Ferguson — the off-camera interviewer — grill government and private sector pooh-bahs, as he exposes with diamond-cutter precision who and what plunged the financial system into cardiac arrest. The packed house at the New York Film Festival screening sat riveted, and afterwards a stunning array of the film’s participants assembled on stage.

The root cause of the meltdown was deregulation, according to Ferguson, a political scientist-turned-software entrepreneur, and now filmmaker. The policy was kicked off by Reagan, continued through the Clinton and Bush periods, and is currently powering on under Obama. (Interestingly, no one in his administration would even speak with Ferguson off the record.)

Adding insult to injury, the folks who promoted deregulation — and, like Larry Summers, overruled the regulation of derivatives — are precisely the ones in charge in Washington. One of the most scandalous things about the entire financial crisis is that the “gang of blue-chip ogres and world class motherf**kers” (thanks Jeffrey Wells) who caused it are not only still in power — they have eluded criminal prosecution.

“This was the biggest heist of all time,” says Ferguson of the financial crisis. “And I think many of the people who were involved in it were perfectly aware that that’s exactly what it was.”

In an environment free of accountability, guys who wrecked their companies walked away with fat pay packages; the head of AIG was kept on as a consultant for a million a month; investment bankers knowingly bet against the unreliable securities they sold to home buyers; Goldman sold toxic CDO’s and bet against themselves; and in 2010 Wall Streeters will collect even higher bonuses.

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