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Thursday, January 05, 2017

The Big Short and The Big Lie

There is no doubt about it: Michael Lewis is a wonderful storyteller. He demonstrated his skill in his beguiling autobiographical best seller, Liar’s Poker. And again in The Blind Side and Moneyball.

Then in 2010 came The Big Short — the fascinating story of a handful of hedge-fund managers and speculators who bet on the U.S. housing market crash of eight years ago and made billions. The compelling narratives of real-life market movers Michael Burry, Steven Eisman, and John Paulsen, as well as millennial speculators such as Jamie Mai and Charlie Ledley, make spellbinding reading even when dealing with arcane subjects like short selling and collateralized debt obligations. Not only was the book a big success, but so was the subsequent movie.

There is one problem, however: the underlying theme is pure left-wing propaganda. The Big Lie is that the housing crash and the financial panic of 2008 were solely the work of greedy investment bankers, unethical mortgage brokers, and crooked rating agencies. (In short: Wall Street.) There are long rants in the movie about how the entire U.S. financial system is fixed against the common man.


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