- Abraham Lincoln in letter to Col. William F. Elkins, 11.21/1864
Round two at my company will be announced by the end of April. Morale is down and people are having difficulty concentrating and I startle easily. Please no shoulder tapping tip toeing up to my cube... a funny little PRANK we call time to PACK UP!
Now guess where I work
Paulson pushed Lehman's CEO Dick Fuld to find a buyer for his ailing company. But no company would buy Lehman unless the government offered a deal similar to the one Bear Stearns had received. Paulson refused, and Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy.
FRONTLINE then chronicles the disaster that followed. Within 24 hours, the stock market crashed, and credit markets around the world froze. "We're no longer talking about mortgages," says economist Gertler. "We're talking about car loans, loans to small businesses, commercial paper borrowing by large banks. This is like a disease spreading."
"I think that the secretary of the Treasury could not fully comprehend what that linkage was and the extent to which this would materialize into problems," says former Lehman board member Henry Kaufman.
Paulson was thunderstruck. "This is the utter nightmare of an economic policy-maker," Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman tells FRONTLINE. "You may have just made the decision that destroyed the world. Absolutely terrifying moment."
In response, Paulson and Bernanke would propose -- and Congress would eventually pass -- a $700 billion bailout plan. FRONTLINE goes inside the deliberations surrounding the passage of the legislation and examines its unsuccessful implementation.
"Many Americans still don't understand what has happened to the economy," FRONTLINE producer/director Michael Kirk says. "How did it all go so bad so quickly? Who is responsible? How effective has the response from Washington and Wall Street been? Those are the questions at the heart of Inside the Meltdown."