CDOs Are Back!

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The synthetic CDO, a villain of the global financial crisis, is back….In the U.S., the CDO market sunk steadily in the years after the financial crisis but has been fairly flat since 2014. In Europe, the total size of market is now rising again—up 5.6% annually in the first quarter of the year and 14.4% in the last quarter of 2016, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

I’d normally be all over this kind of thing. This is how it starts. Pretty soon, the Wall Street boys will be breaking out the bottles of Cristal again. And it is worth keeping an eye on. But I decided to redraw the chart from the Journal, and I have to admit it’s a little hard to get too bent out of shape:

If you squint, you can see a tiny blip upward at the far right end of the chart. Granted, the scale of the chart makes it look really small. Still, after soaring 600x during the housing bubble, it’s soared…1.3x since last year.

So, yes, let’s keep an eye on this. But even I find it hard to get too worried yet.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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