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The Wall Street Money Machine

As investors left the housing market in the run-up to the meltdown, Wall Street sliced up and repackaged troubled assets based on those shaky mortgages, often buying those new packages themselves. That created fake demand, hid the banks’ real exposure, increased their bonuses — and ultimately made the mortgage crisis worse.

Enticed by profits and bonuses, Wall Street took advantage of complicated mortgage-based instruments to reap billions, only to exacerbate the eventual crash.

The Magnetar Trade: How One Hedge Fund Helped Keep the Bubble Going

The hedge fund helped create mortgage-based securities, pushed for risky things to go inside them and then bet against the investments, resulting in billions in losses for investors and ultimately making the financial crisis worse. It’s a story of the perverse incentives and reckless behavior that characterized the last days of the boom.

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