9/25/08

Bank Crisis 101 - The Simplest Explanation You Will Find


They try to hide what it is using fancy words like credit derivatives. Over and over again they tell you it is too complicated for the average person to understand.

They are lying to you.

rdf at The EuroTrib sums it up in the simplest of terms for those of you that don't understand what the supposed bank crisis is all about:
The Crisis Explained - Really
by rdf
Thu Sep 25th, 2008 at 10:24:14 AM EST

Analogies are never perfect, but here's one using horse racing. Don't expect a perfect correspondence to the banking situation, but I think it is close enough for government work.

Joe goes to the track and bets $2 on a horse.

Two guys standing nearby get into a discussion and Fred says to Sam, "I'll bet you $5 that Joe wins his bet."

Next to them are Bill and Bob. Bill says: "I'll bet you $10 that Fred welshes on his bet if he loses."

Next to them is Sally. Sally says: "For $3 I'll guarantee to Bill that if Bob fails to pay off, I'll make good on the bet."

Sally then goes to Mary and borrows the $7 needed in case she has to ever pay off and promises to pay back $8. She doesn't expect to every have to pay since she believes Bob will always make good. So she expects to net $2 no matter what happens to Joe.

A quick calculation indicates that there is now 2+5+10+3+7 = $27 riding on the outcome of the horse race.

Question how much has been "invested" in the horse race?

Answer:

$50,000 by the owner of the horse who is expecting to recoup his investment from the winnings of the horse and other future deals. Everyone else is gambling, not investing.

The issue with the home market is that the only "investor" was the person who bought the home. All those engaged in the meaningless derivatives spun off from this are gambling. You can see how quickly the face value of all these side bets can exceed the underlying investment. Who is holding these side bets - not the homeowner? It is the people at the failing investment banks, hedge funds and similar enterprises. Notice that the bailout is being directed at them not the homeowners.

The real world is, of course, even more complicated. Over the last 30 years people have been allowed to place bets on everything starting with the value of stock averages. They might as well bet on the temperature in Newark at 8:00 AM.

So when you hear everybody saying this is a crisis caused by the housing collapse, be skeptical. We are in the midst of a classic pyramid or Ponzi scheme and there is no way out except for people to lose a lot of money. All that is different this time is that it is the taxpayers who are being asked for the cash.
I keep trying to explain to people how this is a scam and how the American people are going to be victims of it if they don't pay attention to it. They don't want you to know how simple this ripoff is.

Does that explanation above sound so complicated?
That is an explanation that needs to go viral!

And all you really need to know about this now is that the bushies have been holding on to this to use it as an election issue for quite a while.

The thing that really pisses me off - and that most of the people, journalists and politicians don't seem to get or, at least, some of them intentionally ignore - is that the mortgage aspect is just a tiny little part of the entire shitpile.

The mortgage part of it is what really started to show the cracks in this scam, and it is one of the very few parts of this ponzi scheme with real and tangible assets to show at stake - the bulk of the shitpile are scraps of paper with absolutely zero value.

While it may look superficially similar to the recent implosions of such investment giants as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Lehman, the takeover and bailout of AIG is quite different, and means that the market is entering the next and even more dangerous phase. What is driving the fall of AIG – and potential government losses that may far, far exceed the $85 billion bailout announced late on September 16th - is not mortgages or real estate (directly), but fears that AIG’s huge, global credit-default swap positions will unravel. The $62 trillion dollar credit derivatives market is 50 times the size of the subprime mortgage derivatives market, and is indeed larger than the entire global economy.

Unfortunately, few people understand credit derivatives, or the full risks to the United States and global markets and economies. In this article, I will take a Credit Derivatives Primer that I published in the spring of 2008 - which anticipated this exact type of event - and update it for the current situation. Through reading this article, you should be able to greatly increase your knowledge of what credit derivatives are, and why they are a far greater danger than subprime mortgages. We will end with introducing some concepts about how individuals can protect themselves and even profit from these unprecedented market conditions – something you won’t find in recent financial history or conventional investments.

...snip...

On September 1st, few knew that AIG, the largest insurance company in the world with over $1 trillion in assets, was in deep trouble. By September 12th, the rumors about major trouble were everywhere. By September 15th AIG’s corporate life expectancy was being measured in days, and the question was: bankruptcy, buyer or bailout? By the evening of September 16th, the federal government had massively intervened, making an $85 billion loan to AIG in exchange for a controlling 79.9% equity share of the company.

Welcome to the brave new world of credit derivatives driven collapses. A world that is far more dangerous than the world of subprime mortgage derivatives. A complex world that because of its sheer size can potentially cause more damage in a matter of days than the subprime mortgage derivatives caused in their first year in the headlines.
Go to the following link and apply what you learned from the horse race to it remembering that a credit derivative is just a bet or a side bet. Bets where the oddsmakers start messing with the odds in unreal ways: The people that were selling and buying these scraps of paper, their managers, partners and firms profiting from and behind it all are negligent in their dealings - criminally negligent, IMHO - AND the Feds that backed all of this are equally criminal.

But whom exactly will all of the taxpayer money benefit?

A little clue to Joe and Suzy Sixpack: Unless you own a bank or one of these other failing businesses, it ain't you!

They gambled, they lost... And now they want you to pay off their gambling debts.


Previously Brewed in New Milford:

Buy Your Shitpile? HELL NO!

Given what we know about the closed door meetings on Capitol Hill, I want to know what the meeting insiders - from the corrupt Bush administration on down to the supposedly surprised Senators and Representatives and including all of the other government officials that have known or just found out about this - have done with their own investment portfolios in the last little while.

I say "supposedly surprised" since the Bush administration had fought tooth and nail to keep investigations into a big part of this financial fraud under wraps until their recent pre-election extortion demands to rape the American taxpayers:

Sure, Spitzer should have de-socked before his career-ending indiscretion. But we should revisit the prophetic message that was lost to the tsunami of Spitzer's scandalization two weeks later.

Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers,
Feb. 14, 2008. Washington Post.

Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders...These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.

Spitzer's omen went further to note that not only did the White House do nothing, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye after 50 state Attorneys General and many legislative attempts failed to halt the worst of the predatory lending excesses.

The AGs and their banking superintendents fought the Bush Administration's use of a Civil War era banking provision which established federal preemption of all state predatory lending laws and the new rules which emasculated state consumer protections from national banks.

Shortly before Stone's November tip finally mobilized national law enforcement to rescue Americans from the perverse activities of Spitzer and his calf-length socks, he left a final warning:

When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners, the Bush administration will not be judged favorably. The tale is still unfolding, but when the dust settles, it will be judged as a willing accomplice to the lenders who went to any lengths in their quest for profits. So willing, in fact, that it used the power of the federal government in an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general and anyone else on the side of consumers.

We're now to let Industry's insider dictate the terms under which we'll spend the heritage of our grandchildren to repurchase the bloody bag of instruments of our rape?(em. mine -CM1)

The Spitzer investigations were dogging just the mortgage aspects of the entire shitpile that bushies are trying to sell to us... Which would have eventually exposed the entire underbelly of this well before the Bush administration wanted to.

They try and tell you, over and over again that it is too complicated to understand. BULLSHIT!

All you really need to know is that the bushies have been holding on to this to use it as an election issue.

The thing that really pisses me off - and that most of the people, journalists and politicians don't seem to get or, at least, some of them intentionally ignore - is that the mortgage aspect is just a tiny little part of the entire shitpile.

The mortgage part of it is what really started to show the cracks in this scam, and it is one of the very few parts of this ponzi scheme with real and tangible assets to show at stake - the bulk of this shitpile are scraps of paper with absolutely zero value.

While it may look superficially similar to the recent implosions of such investment giants as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Lehman, the takeover and bailout of AIG is quite different, and means that the market is entering the next and even more dangerous phase. What is driving the fall of AIG – and potential government losses that may far, far exceed the $85 billion bailout announced late on September 16th - is not mortgages or real estate (directly), but fears that AIG’s huge, global credit-default swap positions will unravel. The $62 trillion dollar credit derivatives market is 50 times the size of the subprime mortgage derivatives market, and is indeed larger than the entire global economy.

Unfortunately, few people understand credit derivatives, or the full risks to the United States and global markets and economies. In this article, I will take a Credit Derivatives Primer that I published in the spring of 2008 - which anticipated this exact type of event - and update it for the current situation. Through reading this article, you should be able to greatly increase your knowledge of what credit derivatives are, and why they are a far greater danger than subprime mortgages. We will end with introducing some concepts about how individuals can protect themselves and even profit from these unprecedented market conditions – something you won’t find in recent financial history or conventional investments.

...snip...

On September 1st, few knew that AIG, the largest insurance company in the world with over $1 trillion in assets, was in deep trouble. By September 12th, the rumors about major trouble were everywhere. By September 15th AIG’s corporate life expectancy was being measured in days, and the question was: bankruptcy, buyer or bailout? By the evening of September 16th, the federal government had massively intervened, making an $85 billion loan to AIG in exchange for a controlling 79.9% equity share of the company.

Welcome to the brave new world of credit derivatives driven collapses. A world that is far more dangerous than the world of subprime mortgage derivatives. A complex world that because of its sheer size can potentially cause more damage in a matter of days than the subprime mortgage derivatives caused in their first year in the headlines.

The people that were selling and buying these scraps of paper, their managers, partners and firms profiting from and behind it all are negligent in their dealings - criminally negligent, IMHO - AND the Feds that backed all of this are equally criminal.

But whom exactly will all of the taxpayer money benefit?

A little clue to Joe and Suzy Sixpack: Unless you own a bank or one of these other failing businesses, it ain't you! And the beneficiaries of said scam are already out there trying to seed the blogosphere with disinformation on it:
Everybody's An Expert

I get emails like this sometimes, from insiders who know what they're talking about, and over time I've learned that while they may be insiders all that means is they have access to more gossip. That gossip often doesn't turn out to be true.

In any case, a straw man is being erected. There is no crisis which requires $700 billion to Hank Paulson's friends THIS WEEK. That's the argument. There may be serious problems in the financial sector which require government attention. There isn't something which requires an insane act of Congress NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW.

-Atrios 10:40
It is a fucking election fabrication and a scam, and I still say...

Fuck the banks - Let them fail

I am sitting here listening to the hearing on this and all I keep hearing is “think about this from the American taxpayer who is already on the hook”… BS

The only people already on the hook are the one’s that own these banks.

The Europeans are having the same problem and their answer? Let the banks get through it on their own. If that doesn’t clue everyone into how much of a fallacy this whole issue is, I don’t know what will?

Rush into the Iraq war…
fear! fear! FEAR!
Rush into the patriot act!
fear! fear! FEAR!
Rush into fixing (PRIVATIZE IT, DAMNIT!) social security…
fear! fear! FEAR!
Rush into a bailout of incompetent banks...
Fuck the fearmongering!

Banking disaster? Only if you own one of these failed banks… I am not buying this “bush reality” - not even a little bit.

It all looks like a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich for no other purpose than to support their failure at our expense.

The fear of a looming recession? We are in it whether or not these banks fail and it is going to get worse whether or not these banks fail. I have a great idea! Let a couple of these banks go under and watch what happens? If I were a betting man, I would be willing to bet someone will profit off of it, and we will still be in a recession.
You want me to buy your shitpile? Not just NO! But...

HELL NO!

You can buy our shitpile instead:

Buy My Shitpile

With our economy in crisis, the US Government is scrambling to rescue our banks by purchasing their "distressed assets", i.e., assets that no one else wants to buy from them. We figured that instead of protesting this plan, we'd give regular Americans the same opportunity to sell their bad assets to the government. We need your help and you need the Government's help!

Use the form to submit bad assets you'd like the government to take off your hands. And remember, when estimating the value of your 1997 limited edition Hanson single CD "MMMbop", it's not what you can sell these items for that matters, it's what you think they are worth. The fact that you think they are worth more than anyone will buy them for is what makes them bad assets.
I have a stack of papers sitting beside my desk - not to mention the rolls of it in the bathroom - that I can value at trillions of dollars too!

3 comments:

Avatar said...

As far as subprime mortgages the statistics agree that there was Predatory Lending and Mortgage fraud.

Karen said...

Good comment avatar!

Connecticut Man1 said...

I haven't seen any reports or studies anywhere that suggest mortgage fraud was or is even partially the cause of this.

And considering that it is not just Sub-Prime loans that are defaulting BUT Prime loans as well(I believe Experian reported that). Added to the fact that sub prime loans only make up a minute fraction of credit derivatives that were being manipulated to skim huge windfalls for the shadow bank industry.

Well? I fail to see the point of what you are saying?

Reports of predatory lending practices are well documented. I have seen absolutely zero on mortgage fraud.

Unless you count credit check agenecies that were hand picked by lenders beause of their willingness "fabricate numbers" to ensure loan approvals? (That is documented fact in many of the cases as well)

BTW: Focusing on the mortgage aspect of it only excludes where the largest frauds were purpotrated: The shaow bank credit default swaps, credit derivatives, etc, that were manipulated to rape the financial system by these banks.

Mortgages, sub-prime or not, are just the tip of the iceberg in the crimes.

I am not saying mortgage fraud does not exist. It does and I believe it is very rare. And it has no bearing on these crimes.