Matt Taibbi on Wall Street's Astronomical "Space-Age Stealing"
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Remember when the Libor scandal surfaced, and it was consider “the biggest financial corruption case in history?”
Well, the corrupt alchemists of capital are at it again, and Matt Taibbi has a scathing new article that reveals that Libor has an evil “twin brother.”
According to his feature in Rolling Stone yesterday, financial regulators suspect that some of the world’s largest banks -- the same banks that were caught manipulating the interest rates in the Libor scandal -- have been manipulating the prices of interest-rate swaps.
What are interest-rate swaps, you ask? They may sound a lot like the notorious credit-default swaps that helped Wall Street bet against its products in the lead-up to the 2008 financial meltdown, but interest-rate swaps are in fact infinitely more powerful--and more profitable.
As Taibbi explains, “interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It's about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.”
As you may guess, interest-rate swaps and the global interest rates are related. And since we already know that the major banks colluded to manipulate the global interest rates (that’s what the Libor scandal was all about), now what we’re looking is, in the words of Taibbi, an “undisguised, real-world conspiracy”
In layman’s terms, Taibbi explains, “if you can imagine paying 20 bucks for a crappy PB&J because some evil cabal of agribusiness companies colluded to fix the prices of both peanuts and peanut butter, you come close to grasping the lunacy of financial markets where both interest rates and interest-rate swaps are being manipulated at the same time, often by the same banks.”
Oh, and regulators are also looking into whether these same bankers manipulated the prices of gold and silver. You know, just to make sure they had all their bases covered.