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Story pick: NPR goes toxic


My favorite long-running feature on NPR, besides the Sunday morning puzzle with Will Shortz, is the life and times of Planet Money's toxic asset. Planet Money is NPR's witty business team, and their toxic asset, purchased by reporters with their own $1,000, is a little piece of what nearly brought the economy down -- 2,000 mortgages packaged and sold as an investment.

Planet Money has used the toxic asset to periodically explain the ins and outs of the economic meltdown, and the team recently tried to track down mortgage holders who were behind on their payments. They discovered: "Richard Koenig is 81 years old and has a dog named Muffin. He doesn't look like a deadbeat. 'I don't have horns,' he says. 'I don't have much hair.'"

Koenig was pretty much the only dead beat who would talk to them. As part of their report, the Planet Money reporters sifted through legal papers, visited foreclosed properties in their asset, and generally had some good, but enlightening fun, with the people who owed them money. Listen and read here.

By Michael Rosenwald  | August 2, 2010; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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