These people whose job it was to allocate capital apparently didn’t even know how to manage their own.
And he explained that they avoided free checking because it was really a tax on poor people—in the form of fines for overdrawing their checking accounts. And that banks that used it were really just banking on being able to rip off poor people even more than they could if they charged them for their checks.”
“That’s when I decided the system was really, ‘Fuck the poor.’”
A credit default swap was confusing mainly because it wasn’t really a swap at all. It was an insurance policy, typically on a corporate bond, with semiannual premium payments and a fixed term. For instance, you might pay $200,000 a year to buy a ten-year credit default swap on $100 million in General Electric bonds. The most you could lose was $2 million: $200,000 a year for ten years. The most you could make was $100 million, if General Electric defaulted on its debt any time in the next ten years and bondholders recovered nothing.