Betting against the USA -- told ya' so!

More than once in this space, I’ve said that derivative financial products set up a perverse incentive where investors have more to gain from the failure of companies and homeowners than their success. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the longer version of my description of the causes and consequences of the current crisis to understand how failed financial innovations, like credit default swaps, contributed to the meltdown of 2008.  read more »

Digging into AIG bonuses and other aid recipients

On Sunday March 15, 2009, American International Group, Inc. revealed the identities of some of the beneficiaries of about half of the nearly $180 billion the US government has committed ($173 billion actually paid out so far) to support the ailing international financial giant. As we now know, AIG sold credit default swaps (CDS) that paid off if the market value of some bonds fell.  read more »

Many Investors Have More to Gain by Letting Your Mortgage or Company Fail

I hate to say “I told you so” but… I told you so. The holders of the credit default swaps (CDS) have more to gain from the failure of the borrower than from accepting payments.  read more »