Felix Salmon’s review of the upcoming Michael Lewis book on the financial collapse is a great read:
On January 31, 2007, a broad range of CDO spreads started to widen, dramatically. The long-feared meltdown was upon us all — not that most of us knew it, at the time — and a very small number of investors was about to get paid out on the trade of their lifetimes. Mai, Ledley, and Hockett were part of that select group, whose tale is grippingly told by Michael Lewis in The Big Short.[….]
….a Deutsche Bank mortgage trader named Greg Lippmann ended up making billions of dollars for his employer — not to mention a $50 million bonus for himself — by aggressively going out and finding fund managers to put on the short bets needed to keep the market ticking. (This is the same Lippmann who, when accused of being a “Chicken Little” responded by saying “Fuck you, I’m short your house.”) But Lewis has a soft spot for these misfits….
Good for Greg Lippman. He was right, he made money, and he didn’t go whining on CNBC afterwards. We could use more misfits like that.
Jim Cramer is probably a mistfit and certainly an asshole, but that’s not what’s wrong with him. What’s wrong with him is that he’s a misfit asshole who screamed “Bear Sterns is fine, do not take your money out” in March 2008. If Jim Cramer had spent 2007 and 2008 predicting a massive financial crisis and telling Larry Kudlow that he was short Kudlow’s house, he’d be okay with me.
Rick Santelli’s anti-homeowner screed was dickish, to be sure, but what’s most striking is that it came only a few months after a $600 billion dollar bail-out for the very frat fucks who were cheering him.
The distinguishing feature of our era is the rapidity with which one can turn from a hat-in-hand sob story to a ruthless Randian genius, and back again. From bail-outs to tax cuts, from kill-the-doctors to pity-the-war-planner, from “heads on spikes” to Lindsey Graham’s fee-fees, all without missing a beat.
If this isn’t socially-sanctioned sociopathy, I don’t know what is.