On Thursday, a federal jury found Mathew Martoma guilty of insider trading. Martoma, who’s only worth a hundred million or so, is small potatoes. He’s taking a fall for his boss”“and his boss’ mommy”“and her monkey.
Martoma’s boss is Steven A. Cohen, worth about $9 billion, who directs a criminal enterprise masquerading as a hedge fund called SAC Capital. The description of SAC as a crime scene is drawn from the findings of the jury, Securities and Exchange Commission charges and Cohen’s own confessions. While eight of Cohen’s partners-in-crime have been convicted and Martoma is about to join them in the Big House, Cohen has performed enough ju-ju on the system to keep charges filed against him personally to civil, not criminal, counts. So far.
Why would a guy who’s stuffed billions of dollars of tainted money in his pocket risk SEC charges just to get another billion? The answer: Steve needs to make his mommy’s monkey jump.
The story’s a lot of fun”“and extraordinarily important, as Congress decides …more
In the beginning there was Alan Greenspan. Appointed by Ronald Reagan in the late 1980s as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Greenspan was a Master of the Universe, a title he earned by working for decades on Planet Wall Street. Greenspan took office as Fed chairman while the Evil Empire of Moscow was collapsing; after years of ruthless conflict, known as the Cold War, the Confederation of the Free World gained victory and Greenspan was tasked with helping Western capitalism colonize Planet Earth. Worshipped by Western high finance – the Supreme Council of the Free World – Greenspan was considered the High Priest of future profits.
Greenspan eagerly got to work. His most popular move was to pursue a deflationary policy. He began cutting interest rates, which reduced the cost of capital. This was music to Wall Street ears. Victory over the Evil Empire had opened its borders for workers who had until then been trapped inside; these workers quickly joined the Western Europe labor force. In the space of a few years, the West’s labor supply doubled and salaries began falling. As labor costs shrank, profits rose.
Each time the storm of a crisis linked to globalization gathered on the horizon, Greenspan dismissed it by cutting the interest rate. This happened in the late 1980s with the Mexican …more