Here is an excellent introduction to the source of the financial meltdown that ushered in our current economic woes. Salerno builds on the monetary theory of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. He rightly notes the dangerous brew of Federal Reserve central banking, fractional reserve banking, and federal deposit insurance.
Salerno delivered his lecture at the most recent Mises Circle held in Manhattan. The theme of the event was "Central Banking, Deposit Insurance, and Economic Decline."