As a result of my numerous blog articles on economic topics, I've had a few requests from readers to explain in fairly basic terms how the current recession began, and what sparked it. The situation is, of course, very complex, but it basically boiled down to an over-extension of credit. If that hadn't happened, much of the resultant implosion of the markets would never have happened either.
This video report by Jonathan Jarvis gives a fairly accurate overview of what happened, how it developed, and how the whole mess blew up into the recession of 2008 and everything that's happened since. It doesn't address excessive US government expenditure, or the national debt, both of which are very important elements of the situation; but it does a good job of explaining the banking, investment and consumer credit issues involved. If you aren't familiar with the background to the problem, I think it's worth the eleven minutes of your time it'll take to watch it.
Kudos to Mr. Jarvis for a very well put together presentation.