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Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve

The U.S. Federal Reserve Building in Washington, DC.

As we continue to look back over the five years since Lehman Brothers collapsed, and we take stock of all the changes wrought in our financial system, it would be remiss of us to fail to mention one player with a starring role: The Federal Reserve. The central bank has grabbed headlines frequently over the past five years, making big, bold moves to deal with unemployment and interest rates, and everything in between.

Producer Jim Bruce has a new documentary out about the Federal Reserve; it's called "Money for Nothing." He says the one thing he hopes the film will motivates people to do: "question today's current Fed policies."

Bruce says that Fed history shows that the central bank does respond to public opinion. "Maybe if more Americans were questioning the Fed and its impact on their lives, we might see better policies from the Fed going forward," he says.

On the thing that made him say, 'whoa!': "The thing that I learned was how tough a job it is to be in the shoes of some of these leaders at the Fed," Bruce says.  He says it's especially hard now right because Congress is effectively deadlocked, and the Fed really is the central force in our economy right now.

"I think I understand the pressure the people at the Fed must feel to try to do whatever they can to improve the situation."

Lehman's Legacy: A Timeline Follow the key events before and after the Lehman Brothers collapse, and see how the financial crisis unfolded. Follow the timeline

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.


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