Saturday, March 22, 2008

Everything you need to understand about the neo-banking crisis of 2008

Everything you need to know, in 3 paragraphs (emphases mine)

What Created This Monster? - New York Times

...A milestone in the deregulation effort came in the fall of 2000, when a lame-duck session of Congress passed a little-noticed piece of legislation called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. The bill effectively kept much of the market for derivatives and other exotic instruments off-limits to agencies that regulate more conventional assets like stocks, bonds and futures contracts.

Supported by Phil Gramm, then a Republican senator from Texas and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, the legislation was a 262-page amendment to a far larger appropriations bill. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton that December.

Mr. Gramm, now the vice chairman of UBS, the Swiss investment banking giant, was unavailable for comment. (UBS has recently seen its fortunes hammered by ill-considered derivative investments.)...

And now, to save the greater economy, we will all donate to save Mr. Gramm and his ilk.

Because, you see, we can't let the those companies go under. And they can't be run, you see, without the the people who led them into their current peril. So we need to save the companies, which means saving their leadership, which means they get to keep the money of old that makes them rich, plus extra money from us now, because they really don't need to work because of the money they got before when they made the bests that ...

Yeah, you get the picture.

I'm acquiring an unsavory fondness for the Japanese tradition of Seppuku. In those days a dishonored leader didn't demand a new set of fresh stock options ...

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