What is a “Credit-Default Swap”, and why should I care?
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post (or any post on this blog, for that matter) represent the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of United Way of King County staff or volunteers.
My logic tends towards the illogical, as many of you know, so try to stick with me here:
- A ‘credit-default swap’ (also, I think, known as a ‘derivative’) is basically a contract that allows financial institutions to GAMBLE on whether or not a company will default on its debt. If said company does go into default, owners of the contracts (aka, bankers, traders, etc) stand to make a sh**load of money. The same practice also is common in the lending and mortgage industries…hmm.
- The fact that this type of activity has been and continues to be allowed has lead directly to our economic troubles, and now appears to be at least partially responsible for the downfall of an entire country.
- In other words, this result of our supreme belief in the ‘civilizing liberties’ of the free market AND THE PEOPLE/INDUSTRY that practice it cost us our savings…and our homes…and our jobs.
- And our government (both the previous administration and the current one) responded by tossing in excess of $800 billion in tax revenue at these same PEOPLE/INDUSTRY.
- Now, whenever someone has the audacity to question the boys at AIG or Goldman Sachs about their use of the money, or offer up thoughts on more regulation of these PEOPLE or that INDUSTRY, the stock market reacts as if the Bolsheviks are storming the castle.
So, I read about all of these things, and try to understand it all…and then, in the face of a certain other set of realities intent on making it illegal to be homeless or to even help the homeless, I stumble into this question: is it just me, or are we looking to pass laws that put the wrong people in jail?