“In 2002 a little-known but powerful state agency in California and Wall Street titans Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Ambac consummated one of the biggest deals to date involving a type of financial derivative called an #interestRateSwap. A year later the executive director of the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Steve Heminger, proudly described these historic deals to a visiting contingent of Atlanta policymakers as a model to be emulated.
Swaps were opening up a brave new world in public finance by extending the MTC’s purchasing power by $200 million, making a previously impossible bridge construction schedule achievable in a shorter timeframe. The deal would also protect the MTC from future volatile swings in variable interest rates. To top it off, the banks would make a neat little profit too. Everybody was winning.
Then in 2008 it all came crashing down. The financial system’s near collapse, the federal government’s unprecedented bailouts, and global economic stagnation mean that the derivative products once touted as prudent hedges against uncertainty have instead become toxic assets, draining billions from the public sector … “
“Oakland has taken the lead in what we hope will become a national movement to level the playing field between bailed out banks and struggling cities.
Oakland Action: On July 3, 2012, the Oakland City Council unanimously passed my motion to instruct the Oakland City Administrator to terminate a toxic financial derivative called an “interest rate swap” between Oakland and Goldman Sachs within 60 days and without termination fees or penalties. If Goldman Sachs refuses, then Oakland will stop doing business with Goldman Sachs for future transactions.”