Leverage: when you borrow money in order to make an investment or place a bet.

It’s a high-risk, high-reward way to make money… as long as you’re not wrong.

And it’s also how a small loan in Stockton, California, can be linked to a worldwide economic collapse…

…and how $1.4 trillion in subprime loans became $140 trillion in potential losses…

…also known as the Second Great Bank Depression of 2008.

In one of our Friday mailbag editions, reader Ken M. wrote:

People with no assets were able to borrow tremendous sums to buy real estate with liar loans and 99% financing.

He was talking about the cause of the 2008 financial crisis. And he’s right. Lots of people took on more debt than they could afford to pay back.

But shady financial techniques certainly played their part, too.

Blame Game

My 2009 book, It Takes a Pillage: An Epic Tale of Power, Deceit, and Untold Trillions, covers this very topic.

In it, I explain the complex financial technique that led to the subprime mortgage crisis… and, ultimately, to the 2008 financial crisis.

And I show how that crisis did not happen because ordinary citizens borrowed a little more than they could afford.

It happened because of a financial feat called securitization. This involved Wall Street firms converting those loans into assets.

These “assets” allowed them to borrow much, much more than they could afford… an estimated $140 trillion more…

And when the underlying loans failed, the whole house of cards came crashing down.

But, of course, the Wall Street firms were not held responsible.

Instead, the blame was laid at the feet of the “little guy.” He borrowed more than he could afford… He couldn’t pay it back… Ergo, he lost his home.

In fact, 10 million “little guys” lost their homes.

But in a system with little-to-no regulatory oversight, the financial institutions responsible collected up to $300 billion in fees and went on their merry way…

…leaving the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to fork out $13 trillion.

All to cover $1.4 trillion in outstanding subprime loans.

When Fiction Becomes Fact

If my book were a work of fiction, most readers would shake their heads in disbelief. They wouldn’t believe anything so outrageous could ever happen.

And yet, today we find ourselves in yet another economic mess aided and abetted by the Fed.

In response to the latest crisis – the Covid pandemic – the Fed created over $4 trillion out of thin air in just 25 months.

Since then, the “little guy” has paid the consequences, with the cost of living skyrocketing at the highest rate in 40 years.

So today, I’m sharing a short excerpt from It Takes a Pillage with you.

It outlines how Wall Street took on up to $140 trillion in debt on the back of $1.4 trillion of subprime loans… and got away with it.

To read the excerpt, just follow this link.



Nomi Prins
Editor, Inside Wall Street with Nomi Prins