Suppose you give me a million dollars with the instructions, "Invest this profitably, and I'll pay you well."
I'm a sharp dresser — why not? So I go out onto the street and hand out stacks of bills to random passers-by. Ten thousand dollars each. In return, each scribbles out an IOU for $20,000, payable in five years.
I come back to you and say, "Look at these IOUs! I have generated a 20% annual return on your investment." You are very pleased, and pay me an enormous commission. Now I've got a huge stack of IOUs, so I use these "assets" as guarantee to borrow even more money, which I lend out to even more people, or sell them to others like myself who do the same.
I also buy insurance to cover me in case the borrowers default — and I pay for it with those self-same IOUs! Round and round it goes, each new loan becoming somebody's asset on which to borrow yet more money.
We all rake in huge commissions and bonuses, as the total face value of all the assets we've made from that initial million dollars is now fifty times that. Then one day, the first batch of IOUs comes due. But guess what? The person who scribbled his name on the IOU can't pay me back right now.
In fact, lots of the borrowers can't. I try to hush this embarrassing fact up as long as possible, but pretty soon you get suspicious. You want your million dollars back — in cash.
I try to sell the IOUs and their derivatives that I hold, but everyone else is suspicious too, and no one buys them. The insurance company tries to cover my losses, but it can only do so by selling the IOUs I gave it!
So finally, the regime steps in and buys the IOUs, bails out the insurance company and everyone else holding the IOUs and the derivatives stacked on them. Their total value is way more than a million dollars now. I and my fellow entrepreneurs retire with our lucre. Everyone else pays for it.
This is the first level of what has happened in the financial industry over the past decade. It is a huge transfer of wealth to the financial elite, to be funded by US taxpayers, foreign corporations and governments, and ultimately the foreign workers who subsidize US debt indirectly via the lower purchasing power of their wages.
But, to see the current crisis as merely the result of a huge con is to miss its right significance. Full Article Here