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FROM THIS EPISODE

Banks that were "too big to fail" were rescued from the consequences of bad decisions with taxpayer money.  They're beginning to pay it back but, at the same time, they've grown bigger than ever. What does that mean for consumers? Can government get the banks under control before they get reckless again? Also, an update on the fires that are ravaging southern California. On Reporter's Notebook, Japan's likely new Prime Minister rejects American-style capitalism… or does he?

Banner image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Producers:
Gary Scott
Sonya Geis
Christian Bordal

Reporter's Notebook A New Era in Japanese Politics? 8 MIN, 47 SEC

Japan's Liberal Democrats have governed the country almost continuously since democracy was established after World War II. Now the new Democratic Party has won in a landslide, based partly on doing away with American-style pro-market reforms. During the recent election campaign, the likely new Prime Minister railed against American-style capitalism as "void of morals or moderation." Now he says he "did not present an anti-American way of thinking over all." Nicholas Szechenyi is Assistant Director on Japan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Guests:
Nicholas Szechenyi, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Making News More Smoke, More Fire in Los Angeles 7 MIN, 33 SEC

Speaking this morning at a command center East of Los Angeles, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger observed, "We have a lot of fires all over the state of California. We have fires from the northern border all the way south and from the Pacific to the Sierra Nevada – fires, fires, fires." The largest of these, the Station Fire, has taken out more than 50 structures, killed two firefighters and caused thousands to be evacuated from their homes.  Shelby Grad is City Editor of the Los Angeles Times.

Guests:
Shelby Grad, City Editor, Los Angeles Times

Main Topic Too Big to Fail - and Still Growing 34 MIN, 20 SEC

Some banks are paying back their part of the $700 billion in TARP loans -- with interest.  But challenging questions remain. America's banks that were rescued as "too big to fail" are now bigger than ever, but smaller banks are failing fast. What's the connection? With just four banks -- JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup -- now issue half America's mortgages and two-thirds of its credit cards, do consumers still have any choice? Are the institutions that put the entire economy at risk being rewarded?  Will it be harder than ever for the government to wrestle them down to size?

Guests:
David Cho, Staff Writer, Washington Post
Daniel Gross, Daily Beast (@grossdm)
Felix Salmon, Reuters (@felixsalmon)
Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics (@dismalscientist)

Dumb Money

Daniel Gross

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