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Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History Paperback – September 6, 2011
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The American economy has been hollowed into a huge funnel, and everything poured into it is sucked out the other end by the rapacious maw of Goldman Sachs. Why Goldman? Well, as Mr. Taibbi points out, they are the only ones left. Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail, Bear Stearns was swallowed, and AIG burned down for the insurance money. There are now fewer entities to siphon off the profits, and curiously enough, Goldman had former executives posted throughout both the Bush and Obama administrations, not to mention the Fed and the governorship of NJ!
The three major bubbles that recently struck the economy all emanated from Wall Street. The tech, commodity, and housing bubbles were engineered to squeeze every last dime out of America regardless of the future.
Wall Street has responded to Taibbi's Rolling Stone articles by disapproving of language that describes various CEOs as "mf"ers, and their websites as "BS.com" and other colorfully correct terminology; but Wall Street forgot to refute the facts, they haven't attempted to dispute what they did. A few CEOs have tried to blame the mortgage meltdown on subprime, complaining that lower income folks were socially engineered into housing--a swipe at both people and policy--but as Taibbi correctly points out, you can find maybe 1.4 trillion in subprime, but another 13 trillion is still missing.
There must be a few one star reviews up for 'Griftopia' by now, as Mr.Read more ›
The most devastating passage for me is the one where he explains what this country could have done with $13 trillion spent on bailouts: pay every mortgage in existence, and build house for every American who doesn't have one. He writes: "But we didn't do that, and we didn't spend money on anything else useful, either. Why? For a very good reason. Because we are no good anymore at building bridges and highways or coming up with brilliant innovations in energy or medicine... What are we good at? Robbing what's left." Devastating, and at the same time weirdly liberating. I would, after all, rather know the worst truth, than live in the fantasy USA we are being sold every day through our irresponsible media and callous politicians.
Taibbi's been compared to Michael Lewis, but I find this comparison plain lazy. Lewis writes about financial shenanigans with measured cynicism, and with a sort of appreciation for bankers who destroyed middle class of this country. Unlike him, Taibbi doesn't mince words, or tries to appear coolly above it all. He's, after all, as screwed up as is the rest of us.
Taibbi cut his journalistic teeth, as it were, in the streets of 1990s Moscow, practicing gonzo journalism as a partner in the anything but PC expat paper "The Exile". So he knows from corruption and dollar politics. And in Griftopia he shows how greed and corruption have saturated the fabric of our political life so completely that we rarely recognize its extent or its chief spokesmen.
Like Alan Greenspan, whom the media painted as a parable-speaking sage, but whom Taibbi shows to be a charlatan bizarrely infatuated with Ayn Rand, and a guy who repeatedly got it wrong (throughout his entire career) about where the economy was headed. Yet Greenspan was perfectly clear about where he wanted the economy to go: decreasing banking/corporate/Wall Street regulation and taxes on the rich. He was, in fact, a chief architect of the hoovering of riches from the working to the monied classes, which Taibbi shows has been the underlying factor in every bubble created over the last 20 years.
The revelations are legion here. Of the insider deals in the 2008 Bailout, of the swindlers behind the housing bubble, of the ridiculously short-sighted trend of covering budget deficits by leasing key municipal assets to foreign sovereign wealth funds, and the trillion dollar sellout that was the Obama healthcare plan.
And Taibbi knows of what he speaks, having spent considerable time reporting directly on the the Tea Party, in Washington and on the campaign trail.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Probably known for coining the phrase "giant vampire squid" in reference to Goldman Sachs, Matt Taibbi is the logical successor to Hunter S. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
LOL rip of Wall Street, the corrupt Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, Goldman Sachs ("the giant squid on the face of humanity),"banks to big to fail"... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great writing. Great detail. Great analysis. Taibbi is on of the few journalists who is actually interested in the truth and has the courage to report it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by John B. Thomas III
Yikes. Can't trust anybody. Makes me want to hide my money in a safe buried 100 feet under the ground.Published 2 months ago by Kresse A. Armour
Start reading the stuff Matt writes. He's dead on. He does his homework.Published 4 months ago by HeyRef
There is little new here. There were a couple of things I hadn't read in other books. But, the style of writing is Tabbai hates everyone who is not Tabbai. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rick Caird