collateralized debt obligations tagged posts

The Tragi-Comedy of “The Big Short”

Seeing the movie adaptation  of “The Big Short” last night transported me back to a decade ago, when I made a regular habit of leaving my road bike in the garage and hopping instead on my upright city bike to cruise my hometown. Cycling is much like walking in giving you slices of life and peeks into windows and garages to take a measure of Americana. The slices just go by faster.

I can distinctly remember the internal commentary going on in my mind at the time as I moseyed in leisurely fashion through typical middle class neighborhoods of well-appointed tract homes, of the three-and-four-bedroom variety, with double garages on relatively small lots. They were workers’ homes, “owned”—at least until the banks stated reclaiming them—by plumbers and teachers and shop owners and radiology techs...

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Liberals, Conservatives and “The Big Short”

What do liberals and conservatives have to say about capitalism and the human heart? How to assign blame for the massive bubbles and frauds perpetrated in the financial markets in recent decades? Can the relentless pursuit and possession of capital be effectively shaped by any ethic save for the unfettered freedom to pursue its own ends?

These questions—and quite a few more—occurred on a few recent long drives during which my car’s CD player offered up Michael Lewis’s greatly entertaining and gravely dismaying The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. Lewis’s book chronicles the subprime mortgage episode that brought the U.S. economy to its knees in 2008, just in time for Barack Obama to stride into the Oval Office in that confident way of his, glance at the up-to-date economic data and ask, “Now what the hell just happened here?”

What happened, as the gifted Lewis (Moneyball, Liar’s Poker...

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