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Are the Banks Running America?
Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis, right, leads the way as chief executives leave the White House in Washington, Friday, March 27, 2009, after a meeting between chief executives and President Barack Obama. From left are: Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf; Morgan Stanley Chief Executive John Mack; US Bank Chief Executive Officer Richard Davis; and Lewis.(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Chief executives of major U.S. banks leave the White House on Friday, March 27, 2009, after a meeting with President Barack Obama. From left: Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf; Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack; US Bank CEO Richard Davis; and Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis. (AP)

Simon Johnson is raising hell over our response to the economic crisis so far. The former chief economist at the IMF says it’s been half-measures and soft steps and hasn’t gone nearly far enough to break up failed banks and knock back the Wall Street lords of finance.

The reason, he says, is that a financial elite has quietly taken over this country and its assumptions — sewn up power, he charges, as surely as in any banana republic — and barred the way to real change.

These are hot words from a top scholar and economist.

This hour, On Point: Simon Johnson on where we stand now in the economic crisis, and why.

You can join the conversation. Does Johnson’s analysis sound over-the-top to you? Just right? Are we taking the right steps to reset the American economy? Does the U.S. really deserve the label “banana republic”?

Guest:

Joining us from Washington is Simon Johnson, professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, he’s now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. His new article in The Atlantic, “The Quiet Coup,” argues that “the finance industry has effectively captured our government — a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets.” He co-founded the widely read blog The Baseline Scenario, where you can read his latest commentary.

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 2, 2015
In this Tuesday, March 4, 2014 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, right, speaks before the screening of the television documentary "Israel: The Royal Tour" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. (AP)

On the eve of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress, we look at the US-Israel falling out over Iran nuclear negotiations.

Mar 2, 2015
This image provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows an artists rendering on how a gamma ray burst occurs with a massive star collapsing and creating a black hole and beaming out focused and deadly light and radiation bursts. Astronomers and space telescopes in April 2013 saw the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, a large gamma ray burst. (AP)

A super-massive black hole, newly discovered, deep in space. We’ll peer into the realm of the black hole.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 27, 2015
This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. (AP)

Going back to Lead Belly. The blues legend is back. His influences, as big as ever.

 
Feb 27, 2015
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.  (AP)

A US-Israel rift. A win for net neutrality. “American Sniper” verdict. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Want To Listen To Lead Belly? Here’s Where To Start
Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Loved our show on Lead Belly, but unsure on where you should start to listen? Jeff Place of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage offers his best picks for a beginning Lead Belly listener.

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Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

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Two Congressmen Weigh In On DHS Funding
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland present their views on the ongoing Congressional budget fight over Department of Homeland Security funding. (Spoiler: They do not agree on a resolution of the crisis).

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