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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Modern Day Black Sox Scandal? Cantor Signals America Fail - Banks On It

I know it's not just me, but I found this story about Rep. Eric Cantor taking a short position on long-dated government bonds troubling enough to have me thinking about the Black Sox Scandal.

The Black Sox Scandal you might recall was an incident that took place around the 1919 Baseball World Series. Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were banned for life from baseball for intentionally losing games for financial gain.

Washington Wire Excerpt: (WSJ blog)
[Cantor], bought up to $15,000 in shares of ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury ETF last December, according to his 2009 financial disclosure statement. The exchange-traded fund takes a short position in long-dated government bonds. In effect, it is a bet against U.S. government bonds—and perhaps on inflation in the future.

Cantor (GOP House Leader), much like Paul Ryan (GOP Budget Czar), is in a congressional position similar to a baseball coach deliberately signaling his runner to steal home base knowing he'll be called out. Cantor, like Ryan again, has also advocated to not raise the national debt ceiling. An event many economic experts would consider a disaster.

TPM Excerpt:
Ryan's not the only Republican suggesting that Wall Street would be just fine with the US at least flirting with default this summer. The White House had said that a chance of the country not paying what it owes investors could lead to economic catastrophe. But increasingly Republicans are saying the idea might not be so bad.

Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told reporters that Wall Street told him basically the same thing it told Ryan.

Although the Wall Street Journal twisted this into Cantor "putting his money where his mouth is" frame (somehow they omitted the word "courageous"), I found it odd the WSJ would expose this information to people with a brain and in effect, throw one of their own Congressional pawns under a bus.

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