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The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at <em>Planet Money</em>. People seem to like it.


#158 Planet Money: We Bought A Toxic Asset!

March 9th, 2010

Episode 250 of 902 episodes

We wanted to really understand how this whole housing bust/economic catastrophe is playing out. So we sent David Kestenbaum and Chana Joffe-Walt to Kansas City, where a former Wall Street guy named Wit Solberg runs a shop that buys and sells toxic assets. Wit sold them a $1,000 sliver of a toxic asset he'd bought for $36,000. The asset — a bond made up of residential mortgages — was marked down from the pre-crash price of $2.7 million. Of course, it's marked down for a reason. About 15 percent of the homes in the bond are in foreclosure, and nearly half are behind on their payments. The foreclosures will continue to mount, and at a certain point our asset will be wiped out. But until then, we'll get monthly payments. If we make it to Thanksgiving, we could double our money. (We'll be giving any profits to charity, by the way.)

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