Hedge Fund Info Censored?


In April I warned about the economic danger of hedge funds and associated financial instruments, most importantly called derivatives and credit-default swaps(CDS). Sadly, the warning was prophetic, and our economy is falling apart, and not because of problem mortgages. Bad mortgages we could have handled; hedge funds we are struggling with.

Interestingly enough, in our current financial catastrophe the mainstream news (MSN) still refuses to discuss the role of hedge funds, derivatives and CDS. More importantly, the Presidential candidates are not talking about them either.

There seems to be an unspoken agreement to blame mortgages and generalized "greed on Wall Street" as the cause of the current crisis which has caused the FED to throw almost two TRILLION dollars at the problem (and the end is not in sight).

The lack of information is ominous, closely resembling censorship. It is more than an untold story; it verges on information control. I follow the mainstream news, and I have only seen Obama mention hedge funds once and McCain not at all.

CBS nightly news has talked about hedge funds three times and NBC twice. Two weeks ago there was a Sixty Minutes story that was very detailed and informative about derivatives and CDS. That is not much news for a crisis that has run over a month. We should all be hearing repeatedly about hedge funds, derivatives and CDS.

Don't get me wrong. I am not absolving don't Fannie, Freddie and the other causes of our crisis, but I am saying that more important topics are not being discussed in the MSN.

Leverage should be a major topic around the proverbial water cooler. We should all be talking about mortgage instruments that were leveraged twenty to three hundred times in various kinds of derivatives and, then, INSURED by CDS. After all, leverage did cause the Great Depression.

I have been waiting for Sixty Minutes' information to be verified by a responsible MSN source, and yesterday none other than Alan Greenspan did so, and he pointed out how wrong he was to leave these investment banks unregulated.

What's the total exposure? Believe it or not; we are talking about 50-60 TRILLION DOLLARS worth of highly leveraged, possibly worthless paper. That is the reason the markets are in the crapper, and that is the reason banks are failing left and right. Hundreds of people sold these schemes, made fortunes and should be on their way to jail, but where is the news?

Again, it bears repeating that leveraging assets at the margin was the cause of the Great Depression and the reason for the creation of the SEC, the FDIC and the FED. This is worse that the savings and loan scandal of the 80's that saw over 747 banks close due to the same kind of greed.

In April I quoted the SEC chairman, William Donaldson, who was fired by George Bush for trying to regulate hedge funds and CDS. As he said, "They are totally unregulated." That is why, for example, CDS are called swaps. If they were called insurance, they'd be regulated. As I noted in April Warren Buffet, John Bogle and Robert Kutner all agree about hedge fund dangers.

Now, here is the 64 zillion dollar question: why are the politicians and their media lapdogs avoiding the hedge fund issue?

I really don't know. I can only speculate that the pigs do not want this trough regulated.

I might further speculate that they want our tax dollars to stabilize their feed lots, so they can continue to take huge leveraged risks (now with our money) and possibly make zillions more in the future (instead of going to jail). If you have a better idea, please email me.

Remember, according to the Wall Street Journal, last year the 30 top hedge fund CEOs made an AVERAGE of one BILLION dollars in just that one year.

This needs to be talked about. Congress is holding hearings on regulating hedge funds. Last night, again, neither CBS nor NBC went into significant detail about these complex financial instruments. Write/call your Congressperson.