This is one of those little stories that I wasn’t going to bring up but with Obama leaving a meeting with Eric Cantor today because of the intractability of reaching an agreement with the Republicans I thought that it would be amusing. Most people aren’t aware that if the negotiations fail and America defaults on its debt obligations then Canter stands to make a lot of personal financial loot. From Salon:
Last year the Wall Street Journal reported that Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House, had between $1,000 and $15,000 invested in ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury EFT. The fund aggressively "shorts" long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, meaning that it performs well when U.S. debt is undesirable. (A short is when the trader hopes to profit from the decline in the value of an asset.)
According to his latest financial disclosure statement, which covers the year 2010 and has been publicly available since this spring, Cantor still has up to $15,000 in the same fund. Contacted by Salon this week, Cantor's office gave no indication that the Virginia Republican, who has played a leading role in the debt ceiling negotiations, has divested himself of these holdings since his last filing. Unless an agreement can be reached, the U.S. could begin defaulting on its debt payments on Aug. 2. If that happens and Cantor is still invested in the fund, the value of his holdings would skyrocket.
So it’s a double win for Cantor if the talks fail. He scores points with his base and he picks up a bundle of loot for himself. Life is sweet.