Mezzanine C.D.O.’s

This rundown of the end of Wall Street as we know it, by the guy who wrote Liar’s Poker, is gross. He and many of the people involved were/are absolutely revolted by what was going on, and in many cases, what they themselves were actually doing.

Danny Moses, who became Eisman’s head trader, was another who shared his perspective. Raised in Georgia, Moses, the son of a finance professor, was a bit less fatalistic than Daniel or Eisman, but he nevertheless shared a general sense that bad things can and do happen. When a Wall Street firm helped him get into a trade that seemed perfect in every way, he said to the salesman, “I appreciate this, but I just want to know one thing: How are you going to screw me?”

Heh heh heh, c’mon. We’d never do that, the trader started to say, but Moses was politely insistent: We both know that unadulterated good things like this trade don’t just happen between little hedge funds and big Wall Street firms. I’ll do it, but only after you explain to me how you are going to screw me. And the salesman explained how he was going to screw him. And Moses did the trade.

The thing is, and he elaborates on this, you couldn’t even make this cautionary tale required reading in business schools because all of the droolers there would take from it the exact opposite message. To them, green means one and only one thing.

And here we are.