Inside The Meltdown

Read the complete Introduction

On Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008, the astonished leadership of the U.S. Congress was told in a private session by the chairman of the Federal Reserve that the American economy was in grave danger of a complete meltdown within a matter of days. “There was literally a pause in that room where the oxygen left,” says Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.).

As the housing bubble burst and trillions of dollars’ worth of toxic mortgages began to go bad in 2007, fear spread through the massive firms that form the heart of Wall Street. By the spring of 2008, burdened by billions of dollars of bad mortgages, the investment bank Bear Stearns was the subject of rumors that it would soon fail.

Chapter 1: First Tremors
Chapter 2: The Deal to Save Bear Stearns
Chapter 3: Next Crisis: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
Chapter 4: Let Lehman Fail
Chapter 5: As Markets Start Crashing…
Chapter 6: The Contagion Goes Global