Sunday, September 06, 2009

Hide The Pseudoephed - Wall Street's Back At It

A severely anorexic friend once had her heart stop beating in church. A heart specialist at the service got her going again, but they had to jump-start her twice again on the way to Mission.

She'd recently taken to sucking on a Big Gulp cup of water all day. Flushed all her electrolytes. The hospital had never seen readings that low. But she was no longer using laxatives, she rationalized. That meant she was in recovery.

So what do we make of our friends on Wall Street and their new Big Gulp? Sunday's New York Times explains:
After the mortgage business imploded last year, Wall Street investment banks began searching for another big idea to make money. They think they may have found one.

The bankers plan to buy “life settlements,” life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash — $400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured person. Then they plan to “securitize” these policies, in Wall Street jargon, by packaging hundreds or thousands together into bonds. They will then resell those bonds to investors, like big pension funds, who will receive the payouts when people with the insurance die.
The earlier policyholders die, the more investors ... reap?

If my wife had been drinking, she'd have done a spit-take. "What sick f***s would buy these?" she exclaimed. Or think them up?

But thank heavens, they've stopped bundling mortgages.

This behavior is like a gambling or meth addiction. It's not even about the money any more. Wall Street doesn't need bailouts. It needs rehab and a priest.

Cross-posted from Scrutiny Hooligans.

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