As I wrote yesterday in the Germany naked shorting piece, one can make a great case for taking out insurance via credit default swaps AGAINST a long position (i.e. holding debt). This is plain and simple hedging. However, naked CDS is simply rampant speculation and has zero societal value. But it creates fees & profits for the Wall Street casino and really that is all that matters in Cramerica... until said instruments bring down the whole system. Then Congress might act, but only after a parade of hearings on Capital Hill where fake indignation is on display. I can see the CDS hearings circa 2014 as we speak....

Unlike Germany, the domestic lap dog Congress bowed last night to their masters, the American oligarchs. Leading the charge for some sensibility is Byron Dorgan - if you don't know who he is, there is a almost shocking interview I posted a year ago showing video of him from a decade ago where he literally called the outcome of the repeal of Glass Steagall (events of 2008-2009). [Jun 26, 2009: Bloomberg - Volcker Marginalized; Major Push Back on Curbing Excess. Our Life of Financial Oligarchy Does not Change] Thankfully, men like Dorgan are ignored and those who either led the charge for the repeal (i.e. Larry Summers) or are the disciples of such men (Geithner via the Rubin tree) are in charge! We can sleep well at night... just make sure your back is not exposed.

Here is the roll call to table the amendment if you are interested in how your good Senator voted. 57 Yeas (i.e. bought and paid for, aka striving for a lobbyist job for Goldman, JPM or other oligarch if this Senator thing doesn't pan out), 38 Nays and 5 could not be bothered to vote.

Via CBSMarketwatch:

  • Senators late Tuesday rejected an amendment to a sweeping bank reform bill that would have prohibited so-called naked credit default swaps. Credit default swaps are a form of insurance institutions buy on bonds they purchase to protect them against the possibility that those bonds default.
  • However, naked credit default swaps are derivative investments set up by two investor groups that have no insurable interest but are betting on whether another bond will default or not.
  • The measure, which was introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., would have been attached to a bank reform bill under consideration in the Senate. A measure banning naked credit default swaps was approved by the House as part of a bank reform bill it approved in December.
  • There is not one social or economic benefit to these investments, Dorgan said. (ah but there is Mr. Dorgan - a small cabal of the biggest and baddest speculators, many of them now fully subsidized and backstopped by the US taxpayer can make speculative bets with other people's money - that's a great American societal benefit!)
  • Dorgan’s proposal would require investors to take out credit default swaps only on assets they own. It would allow brokers to take out temporary naked hedge positions but only to fulfill customer orders. (seems very reasonable)
  • Late Tuesday, Republicans blocked a measure that would strengthen a provision in the underlying bill based on the so-called Volcker Rule, named after former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, who chairs President Barack Obama's economic advisory panel.

p.s. totally off topic but one small hope for Main Street last night in Kentucky; Rand Paul won the GOP primary, defeating his challenger, a Washington D.C. hand picked hen. *

*I am neither republican or democrat, I am just seeking actual representatives to once more descend on D.C..