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March 3, 2012 12:19 PM   Subscribe

The Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi uses a paper bag to illustrate exactly how the sub-prime mortgage scam worked, and how we're still on the hook for the next catastrophe.

Taibbi has reported extensively on the financial collapse, and is lauded for explaining the arcana of high finance in concrete human terms.
posted by clarknova (56 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
There is a tiny difference between being The Rolling Stones' Matt Taibbi, and Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi. It has something to do with liver damage, and millions of dollars.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:22 PM on March 3, 2012 [43 favorites]


Oh don't be silly, I'm sure he would have been able to party quite a bit if he were in The Rolling Stones too.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:30 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Selling oregano for weed" seems like a pretty good analogy to me, actually.
posted by carter at 12:34 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is the site the young woman at 0:48 was referencing.
posted by clarknova at 12:42 PM on March 3, 2012


evidenceofabsence, The Rolling Stones' Matt Taibbi should talk to Bill Wyman.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:47 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I enjoy the off camera peanut gallery which keeps throwing Taibbi talking points.
posted by codacorolla at 1:04 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


They're probably shills paid for by Big Consumer Protection.
posted by clarknova at 1:08 PM on March 3, 2012 [21 favorites]


I enjoy the off camera peanut gallery which keeps throwing Taibbi talking points.

Explain!
posted by Spatch at 1:11 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would contribute happily to a fund to buy hours of air time for Matt Taibbi to give this presentation over and over and over....
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:12 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is really good.
posted by killdevil at 1:16 PM on March 3, 2012


Taibbi is often rather vitriolic, but if he managed to come up with an understandable analogy for what the fucking banks have gotten away with I am forever in his debt.
posted by wierdo at 1:16 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


The cameraperson's zoom and focus tics are making me nauseous.
posted by rhizome at 1:35 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm still trying to decide if the crowd is a net plus or minus. Some good questions but a fair amount of distracting, mostly jokey stuff too. To his credit Taibbi keeps on track through all of it.
posted by scalefree at 1:43 PM on March 3, 2012


I enjoy the off camera peanut gallery which keeps throwing Taibbi talking points.
I had the opposite reaction. It made me feel like "Jeez, just shut up and let the guy talk already; your faux-naive two-word sarcasm isn't nearly as clever or entertaining as you think."
posted by Flunkie at 1:46 PM on March 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm just waiting for someone to start critiquing his scarf.
posted by clarknova at 1:53 PM on March 3, 2012


Matt Taibbi's ability to not fucking deck that guy with the wheezy voice is just one more excellent thing about him.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:57 PM on March 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


What an abomination of a scarf!

Ok, now that is out of the way... good analogies
posted by edgeways at 1:57 PM on March 3, 2012


Two things that Matt probably should have mentioned for context.

1. The bag actually has multiple layers of cash, or tranches, each rated at different risk levels.

2. Mortgage backed securities have been around since 1938 and in and of themselves aren't evil. Dishonest people are.
posted by punkfloyd at 2:04 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


To clarify, a liquid secondary market has existed since 1938. Mortgage backed securities came into being in the 1980s.
posted by punkfloyd at 2:10 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does he hold the bag over our head and then steal our wallet when we're passed out?
posted by formless at 2:13 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I appreciate having this explained to me in a new context, but this video (especially with the sarcastic running commentary off camera) feels like the definition of preaching to the converted.
posted by piratebowling at 2:14 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


a liquid secondary market has existed since 1938

Yeah, but who wants to stand around holding a wet paper bag?
posted by ShutterBun at 2:18 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I appreciate having this explained to me in a new context, but this video (especially with the sarcastic running commentary off camera) feels like the definition of preaching to the converted.

...who the fuck cares? It's good info explained well. That it happened to be in a setting full of people inclined to agree with his perspective on it is meaningless.

What's next? "Sure, that MIT Open Courseware lecture on the fundamentals of C++ was useful, but it was the definition of preaching to the converted." What completely nonsensical rubbish.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:18 PM on March 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


There is a tiny difference between being The Rolling Stones' Matt Taibbi

Usage Precedent.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:20 PM on March 3, 2012


i admire mr. taibbi's restraint in not physically assaulting the disoriented old man with the voice that annoys me
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:23 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


actually reading that back i sound sort of weirdly hostile and insane
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:26 PM on March 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


...who the fuck cares? It's good info explained well. That it happened to be in a setting full of people inclined to agree with his perspective on it is meaningless.

No, it's good info that is well explained which is being constantly interrupted by people who think they are adding to the discussion, when they are actually interrupting his flow and presentation. It made it really, really painful to watch. Like a comedian being beat t his punchline in a standup routine. Maybe my comment didn't explain my frustration accurately, but seriously, it would have been nicer to see him speak about this discussion without the crowd trying to consistently show him up.
posted by piratebowling at 2:27 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: actually reading that back i sound sort of weirdly hostile and insane


Come on, man. You can't just lob softballs over the plate like that.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:30 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: sound sort of weirdly hostile and insane
posted by hippybear at 2:30 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


*heh* Great minds think alike, Saxon Kane.
posted by hippybear at 2:30 PM on March 3, 2012


@piratebowling i agree it would be nice if it were possible to speak to The People without having to deal with a bunch of people
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:39 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I actually did a Metafilter FPP concerning Bank of America in possible trouble and giving the rise in fees in I think 2007. Yet, the posting got deleted. Was I 5 years early?
posted by yoyo_nyc at 3:13 PM on March 3, 2012


No, it's good info that is well explained which is being constantly interrupted by people who think they are adding to the discussion, when they are actually interrupting his flow and presentation. It made it really, really painful to watch. Like a comedian being beat t his punchline in a standup routine. Maybe my comment didn't explain my frustration accurately, but seriously, it would have been nicer to see him speak about this discussion without the crowd trying to consistently show him up.

The American left in a paragraph.
posted by codacorolla at 3:21 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


but seriously, it would have been nicer to see him speak about this discussion without the crowd trying to consistently show him up.

If that's your takeaway, then you suck.
posted by fleacircus at 3:27 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: Come on, man. You can't just lob softballs over the plate like that.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:29 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


yoyo_nyc, do you have a link to it?
posted by rebent at 3:31 PM on March 3, 2012


I did not expect to watch much of it and then I watched much of it. I know a lot more than I did when I started it, though I am further confused about how the new mafia (old white men in suits) continues to stay out of jail. On the other hand, I am not surprised.

I am more surprised by the dawning conclusion that the structures of power throughout history haven't changed as much as I thought. Disgusting piles of money = can do whatever I want to whoever I want, period.

And I did want to shut that older interrupter fellow up.
posted by Glinn at 3:32 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Your faux-naive two-word sarcasm isn't nearly as clever or entertaining as you think
posted by mattoxic at 4:13 PM on March 3, 2012


It's not?
posted by Trochanter at 4:49 PM on March 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


That girl standing behind him sometimes looks up at him with rapt fascination and sometimes looks down the street with total disinterest in the proceedings. Her mercurial attention span is extremely obnoxious and that he doesn't turn around and dropkick her mystifies me.

What he's saying about the Bank of America being on the verge of bankruptcy, and the FDIC not only being liable for all their depositors' accounts, but also the entirety of Merrill Lynchs' bad debt... it's almost a footnote to this.
posted by clarknova at 5:42 PM on March 3, 2012


That girl standing behind him sometimes looks up at him with rapt fascination and sometimes looks down the street with total disinterest in the proceedings. Her mercurial attention span is extremely obnoxious and that he doesn't turn around and dropkick her mystifies me.

That guy that was watching the speaker and then kept staring at the woman behind him with a look of rage was really disturbing.

After you figure out what he is using the bag for, you can put that tab in back and read another thread.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 7:46 PM on March 3, 2012


The big retail banks are on the ropes. Credit Unions offer more services at a better cost, and have the benefit of being solvent. Their charters prevent them from playing stupid Quant games... you deposit money, your money is loaned out to people buying houses, cars or starting businesses, you get a piece of the interest charged on that loaned money added to your balance. No shareholders, no golden-parachute MBA-miracle rent-an-execs, no quants formulating new financial perpetual motion machines - just old fashioned business with new-fangled customer service, with apps and web interfaces and loan officers who will come into the office on a Sunday or a Thursday after 7:00 if you ask.

I don't think the big banks falling will be anywhere near the catastrophe we now assume in the wake of the "Too Big to Fail" fiasco. The middle-class has woken up, and are moving to credit unions en masse. Banks like Chase are sneering at people with less than $100k in deposits... but it's purely "sour grapes." Customer and community committed credit unions are eating them alive, and they can't hope to compete, because they're still enmired in toxic debt.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:20 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


God, I hope you're right, Slap*Happy. I'd love to see some numbers.
posted by Trochanter at 9:13 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Assuming so, the next step is making sure they, not we, own that toxic debt. See my link above.
posted by clarknova at 9:34 PM on March 3, 2012


The cameraperson's zoom and focus tics are making me nauseous.

Indeed. That was really bad.
posted by bz at 9:37 PM on March 3, 2012


Slap*Happy, that isn't always true. I recently closed my CU accounts *because they golden parachuted some execs who made disasterous decisions, and raised fees higher than BofA.
posted by dejah420 at 10:17 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The cameraperson's zoom and focus tics are making me nauseous.

I think it's an artifact of auto-focus shifting between objects at different focal lengths rather than intentional manipulation of the lens by the shooter. Still, annoying either way.
posted by scalefree at 10:19 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: constantly interrupted by people who think they are adding to the discussion.
posted by zippy at 10:19 PM on March 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


I went with a credit union over a decade ago. They made the mistake of wanting to participate in the housing bubble, and got in after everyone who had a legitimate chance of buying a house that would be a sound investment had already done so. They went broke or were about to do so and the CU regulators forced them to be acquired by another, healthier CU.

I went with a CU because I assumed they would be conservative. Not all were. I am guessing they felt the need to do risky stuff to match interest rates on savings and CDs with other banks.
posted by zippy at 10:25 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Transcript, anywhere? I'm old-fashioned, and I really don't enjoy watching video presentations and would prefer to read the information (assuming its new information, and not stuff that Taibbi has already written).
posted by moonbiter at 11:14 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just read the article in the second link. It covers the punchline.
posted by clarknova at 11:25 PM on March 3, 2012


The NCUA* has never been bailed out with taxpayer dollars. Sure, credit unions go under sometimes. It's a thing that happens that happens to businesses of all stripes. But instead of being bailed out by taxpayers, credit unions are bailed out by the insurance agency set up to do that. It's backed by the government just like the FDIC, but it's never needed to use it to make good on its policies.

*The equivalent of the FDIC for credit unions.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:47 PM on March 3, 2012


feels like the definition of preaching to the converted.

And what action is getting more done? Doing that or getting the political structure to do something?
posted by rough ashlar at 4:53 AM on March 4, 2012


The big retail banks are on the ropes.

Commercial real estate is an exposure for not only banks but insurance.

And Commercial Real Estate is hurting.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:58 AM on March 4, 2012


The woman pleading "What do we do, Matt? What do we do?" breaks my heart a little.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:26 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I found "The Big Short" by Michael Lewis to be a good explanation. YMMV.
posted by grefo at 7:23 AM on March 5, 2012


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