Posted Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, at 11:56 AM
In your amazing crime/business story of the day, anti-mafia officials in Italy say they've seized $6 trillion in counterfeit U.S. Treasury bonds.
That is an awful lot of money, considering that the United States' totaly GDP is only $14.5 trillion. You couldn't possibly do anything with that much in fake assets—nobody has enough money to take it off your hands. Interestingly, the release of a huge quantity of counterfeit U.S. Treasuries into the world would have been exactly what the global economy needs right now. We're suffering from a shortage of liquid AAA-rated financial assets at the moment and the U.S. political system is refusing to meet the demand with a surge of new debt. Counterfeit bonds would work just as well as real ones for the sake of repo transactions as long as they were really good counterfeits, and global economic activity would increase accordingly.