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CDS Markets: The Ultimate Ponzi-Scheme

Articles & Blogs - US Commentary

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As the general public begins to become familiar with some of the “financial weapons of mass destruction” which the banker oligarchs call “derivatives”, the media has continued to do an utterly dismal job of educating readers.

Talking-heads regularly parrot “credit default swap” prices on various mounds of festering, Western debt. Sadly, they never take the time to explain precisely what a credit default swap is, nor how the market functions. The reason this is of such great importance is that the minute there was a broad understanding of what a “CDS” really is, there would be an instant uproar that these financial abominations be permanently excised from global debt markets.

A “CDS” contract is nothing but make-believe “insurance”. The party wanting to issue more debt ensures that there is some chump purchasing a CDS contract on their debt, and then merely on the basis that this debt is now “insured”, the debtor magically gets to pay a much lower interest rate on the debt they issue. Indeed, the “magic” of these CDS contracts is precisely how the banksters duped idiot-politicians and institutional debtors to amass more than $60 trillion in CDS contracts – roughly equal to the entire, global GDP.

That’s right, one single banker Ponzi-scheme (primarily created by the odious Wall Street Oligarchs) has grown as large as the entire global economy and when this debt-bubble bursts it will cause a financial meltdown which will make the Crash of ’08 look like a very pleasant picnic, in comparison.

To illustrate precisely how terrifying this debt-bubble has become, we need only look at how little the world’s worst deadbeats must pay to “insure” their debt. Understand that all insurance is nothing more than a “bet” that the premiums paid to the insurer will exceed the pay-outs to the insured. Thus, the size of these premiums equates to the “odds” which the market has placed on (in this case) the insured party defaulting on its debt.

In the Land of Deadbeats (otherwise known as the United States), the current “champion” is the state of Illinois. Illinois simply didn’t even pay $6 billion of its bills from the last fiscal year (equal to 25% of total spending), and is looking at an upcoming “deficit” equal to 50% more than its total borrowing-and-revenues can bring in.

In short, it is already defaulting on its debts, and there is absolutely no possible way it can borrow enough, or cut spending by enough that it will be able to pay its bills this year – let alone catch-up on the $6 billion this deadbeat owes from last year. It is hopelessly insolvent, and bankrupt in all but name.

And to insure $10 million of its debt costs only $350,000. Gamblers out there (and anyone with a half-decent grasp of numbers) will tell you that the credit default swap market is currently betting 30:1 against a default by Illinois.  This is much like making a 30:1 bet that a hospital patient will survive a risky operation after the patient has already been pronounced dead.

Keep in mind that these credit default prices for Illinois have only recently exploded to these new highs. The chumps who “insured” Illinois’ debt for last year (including the $6 billion in unpaid bills) would have received  a much lower premium for their bet – meaning the odds (and their potential pay-out) is much, much greater.

Knowing the ridiculous leverage that the players in this market have taken upon themselves in insuring extremely risky debt is literally only half the “horror story” here. The other half is contemplating whom is (supposedly) insuring all of this bad debt. In fact, it is the same banking oligarchs who created this $60+ trillion Ponzi-scheme who are supposedly “backing” all of this debt – despite the fact that most of these financial institutions have only avoided their own bankruptcies via massive taxpayer hand-outs.

That’s right, we have deadbeats insuring deadbeats.

The obvious question from the above example is: how could anyone possibly be foolish enough to place a 30:1 bet against a bankrupt entity defaulting on its debts? The answer is equally obvious: these bankers have bet (at huge odds) that the U.S. government will come running to Illinois’ aid – chequebook in hand.

Many other large U.S. states are in nearly as dire a condition, with New York, New Jersey and (of course) California being at the top of the list of state charity-cases. All of these states pay even lower CDS premiums than Illinois – meaning that their creditors/insurers are even more heavily-leveraged in these suicidal contracts.

The size of U.S. state bail-outs in 2011 alone is optimistically estimated at about $100 billion. I say “optimistically” since these projected hand-outs are based upon current state revenue projections – which have consistently and ridiculously overestimated revenues and underestimated the size of deficits quarter after quarter. This is to be expected, since state revenue projections are based upon the outrageous lies which the U.S. federal government calls “economic statistics”.

If the U.S. government doesn’t cough-up the $100+ billions to U.S. states this year, they will default on their debts – making this pretend-insurance now payable. What happens then? The banks “insuring” this debt have no funds set aside to make payments. Much like our fiat “money” is simply paper currency with nothing backing it, the “insurers” of trillions of dollars of Western debt have nothing backing that “insurance”.

Consequently, if even one major debtor defaulted on its debt, there would be a chain-reaction of bank failures which would make the “contagion” from the collapse of Lehman Brothers look like nothing but the sniffles. Can you say “too big to fail”? I know the bankers can.

This presents the citizens of the stupid, incompetent Western governments who incurred these debts (and the greedy, thieving bankers who pretended to insure it) with another no-win scenario. They can submit to endless “bail-outs” of insolvent governments (funded by themselves). Or, they can refuse to pay for those bail-outs, watch states and nations default, and then have to engage in much larger bail-outs of the banks who have pretended to insure all of this debt. Or, they can refuse that “bail-out” (i.e. blackmail) as well – and watch our entire monetary system and financial markets come crashing down in the worst economic meltdown in human history.

The CDS market is “the Ponzi-scheme to end all Ponzi-schemes”. It has more chumps funneling in much more money than all of the other Ponzi-schemes in human history put together (excepting other parts of the derivatives market). In financial terms, it is equivalent to a choice between immediate suicide, or ‘merely’ slashing our wrists and watching our wealth bleed out of us.

There is one remaining piece of the puzzle here: the bond-holders who hold the debt instruments supposedly “insured” by CDS contracts. Much like reckless Western governments (and large public institutions) took on absurd amounts of debt which they never would be able to service over the long term, so too did reckless (and greedy) bond-holders lend-out absurd sums of money to deadbeat debtors.

Assuming that these sophisticated investors are capable of operating calculators, it would have taken about five minutes to realize that these debtors would never be able to repay those debts at 100 cents on the dollar. Despite the obvious arithmetic, greedy bond-holders lent-out far more money than at any time in history – at the lowest interest rates in history. This equates to taking more risk than any other bond-holders in history, for less reward.

Who are these bond-holders? They are the same banking oligarchs who created this massive Ponzi scheme (and their wealthiest clients). This provides us with the complete picture.

1) First the bankers dupe idiot-debtors into taking on much too much debt. They accomplished this by temporarily and artificially creating insanely low interest rates, through “gaming” Western debt markets with their pretend-insurance (CDS contracts), so that the debtors were fooled into believing they could remain solvent with all this debt.

2) They take in countless billions in “premiums” on pretend-insurance, which they never intended to make-good on (this is known as “fraud”).

3) They then start “shorting” the CDS market, making more $billions for themselves. They do this despite the fact that it’s pushing all of their CDS contracts toward default – since they never intended to honour those commitments.

4) They then go to these (now) insolvent governments with their blackmail: either these governments simply crank-up the printing presses (and further indebt their own people) in order to keep this massive Ponzi-scheme from imploding, or our entire economies come crashing down around us.

Essentially, the “Crash of ‘08” was nothing more than a “dress rehearsal” for the multi-trillion dollar scams which the banksters have been operating. In 2008, they were able to blackmail Western governments (primarily the U.S.) into paying out more than $10 trillion, in various forms of extortion.

With total Western debt exploding exponentially, and the budget-gaps for our governments increasing even more rapidly, the $10 trillion haul they took in from their initial extortion will soon be nothing more than an “annual cut” from this economic serial-rape.


Comments (4)Add Comment
Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, January 08, 2011
Thanks for the comment, Bobbbny. Yes, you are quite correct that the ratings agencies are integral accomplices for this entire, gigantic fraud scheme.

However, as direct and obvious accomplices of the banksters, this means that the "ratings" are not the causative factor in the scam, but rather just another supporting element - used to delude clueless debtors into being seduced into taking on too much debt.

From your remarks, I'm guessing that you would probably enjoy a commentary from nearly one year ago:

"U.S. Economic Terrorism the New 'Winning Trade'"
written by robert berg, January 08, 2011
As usual, your conclusions are correct if not understated. First, allow me to correct some of your observations. The CDS contracts do not allow the borrowers to obtain a lower interest rate. This is accomplished by the criminal "rating agencies" like S&P & Moodys. These are the same people who rated Enron AAA the day before it filed Chapter 11. These are the same folks who gave Countrywide Credits' toxic mortgages a AAA rating, allowing them to be bought by the likes of pension funds, thereby perpetuating the housing Ponzi scheme. Further aiding & abetting is accomplished by the bond insurance fraudsters like Ambac & MBIA who, for a fee "insure" these bonds when they know full well that they could not afford to cover the failure of even one single large municipal entity. This "insurance" is therefore worthless, and always has been, but it allows for the AAA rating used to dupe people into buying these securities. This of course allows the municipalities to borrow ever higher amounts of money, and has led to the debt situation we are in.
The CDS's come into play AFTER these securities are issued, and are in effect an unregulated casino where the Wall St fraudsters can bet on the failure of an entity, and can in fact create the conditions that make a failure inevitable. Without even having an "insurable interest", which is required with ALL OTHER types of coverage, these criminals can make large bets on the failure of an institution, municipality, or nation. As they pile into this trade, the cost of these phony "insurance" contacts goes up, or "blows out". This leads to an increase in the cost of borrowing for the affected institution, invariably leading to collapse without some form of "bailout".
Witness what the financial terrorists are doing now in Europe, State by State. The are systematically picking off the weakest of the bunch, blowing out the CDS's, driving up the cost of borrowing (Portugal now pays over 7% for funds) and then collecting on their bets. This should be illegal, but it benefits the power elite and aids in the continuing accumulation of wealth by the upper 1%. This practice could be derailed by allowing only for "insurable interest" in the CDS market, but it never will be.
Lastly, in December while nobody was watching, the top Wall St. firms held meetings to devise a "clearing house" for the trading of CDS's on US State & local governments. Thats right. They are preparing to attack Illinois, California, New Jersey, et al. The losers will be teachers, cops, firemen, you, and me.
Keep the voice of the Bullion Bulls loud & tell everyone to wake up and pay attention to what is happening. If not, then a bankster, fraudster, police state is coming sooner than you think.
Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, January 07, 2011
"Complicated" is the #1 ally of all scammers. The only thing we can thank the mainstream media for is that they have been TALKING about this form of derivative so often that it no longer sounds like a foreign language when I toss out a few of these basic terms.

But generally speaking, the banksters RELY upon the fact that their scams/crimes are difficult to comprehend - and simply bore most readers to sleep. Gradually the "financial IQ's" of the general public are starting to rise, which will ultimately be the "end" of the banksters (one way or another).
written by R Longley, January 07, 2011
...Thanks for spelling this out Jeff, in as "simpler language" as possible.
I have read small extracts form the book "When Money Dies", by Adam Fergusson and, It is not aparticularly easy read.I have read extracts and to be honest, I cannot bring my self to read cover to cover.
In financial terms it is the equivalent of a snuff movie. For the sensitive of spirit, The experience of what happened to the people of Austria an Germany, is truly heart-rending. For this is not a fictional phantasmagoria; the extraordinary sequence of events within it genuinely happened, to real people.

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