Another notch in Taibbi’s belt, as he just shreds yet another Cornerite:
M.T.: What a surprise that you mention Franklin Raines. Do you even know how a CDS works? Can you explain your conception of how these derivatives work? Because I get the feeling you don’t understand. Or do you actually think that it was a few tiny homeowner defaults that sank gigantic companies like AIG and Lehman and Bear Stearns? Explain to me how these default swaps work, I’m interested to hear.
Because what we’re talking about here is the difference between one homeowner defaulting and forty, four hundred, four thousand traders betting back and forth on the viability of his loan. Which do you think has a bigger effect on the economy?
B.Y.: Are you suggesting that critics of Fannie and Freddie are talking about the default of a single homeowner?
M.T.: No. That is what you call a figure of speech. I’m saying that you’re talking about individual homeowners defaulting. But these massive companies aren’t going under because of individual homeowner defaults. They’re going under because of the myriad derivatives trades that go on in connection with each piece of debt, whether it be a homeowner loan or a corporate bond. I’m still waiting to hear what your idea is of how these trades work. I’m guessing you’ve never even heard of them.
I mean really. You honestly think a company like AIG tanks because a bunch of minorities couldn’t pay off their mortgages?
B.Y.: When you refer to “Phil Gramm’s Commodities Future Modernization Act,” are you referring to S.3283, co-sponsored by Gramm, along with Senators Tom Harkin and Tim Johnson?
M.T.: In point of fact I’m talking about the 262-page amendment Gramm tacked on to that bill that deregulated the trade of credit default swaps.
Tick tick tick. Hilarious sitting here while you frantically search the Internet to learn about the cause of the financial crisis — in the middle of a live chat interview.
B.Y.: Look, you can keep trying to make this a specifically partisan and specifically Gramm-McCain thing, but it simply isn’t. We’ve gone on for fifteen minutes longer than scheduled, and that’s enough. Thanks.
M.T.: Thanks. Note, folks, that the esteemed representative of the New Republic has no idea what the hell a credit default swap is. But he sure knows what a minority homeowner looks like.
B.Y.: It’s National Review.
I bet Rich Lowry wishes York had not corrected him at the end and had let people think York actually wrote for the New Republic. This has to have been the worst year for the National Review, ever.
At any rate, this just gets back to what everyone across the country is beginning to figure out- the bullshit artists who have been running this country and propping up the Republicans have no idea what they are talking about- ever. They have relied on invective and personal attacks and fear appeals and personal narratives for so long, we are to the point that they can not even debate coherently anymore. When pressed and pushed away from the talking points and the convenient scapegoating, they whiff. Reciting “fight them over there rather than over here” or yelling “no surrender” or babbling incoherently about American exceptionalism really doesn’t work when you are asked a specific question.
And for the record, I have only the fuzziest idea of how Credit Default Swaps work. It seems to me they are a ridiculously complex instrument whipped up by folks who in previous generations would be using their mathematical models to study theoretical physics. From what I have read, Ponzi scheme really does seem to sum up what they are.