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The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street [Kindle Edition]

Robert Scheer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In The Great American Stickup, celebrated journalist Robert Scheer uncovers the hidden story behind one of the greatest financial crimes of our time: the Wall Street financial crash of 2008 and the consequent global recession. Instead of going where other journalists have gone in search of this story—the board rooms and trading floors of the big Wall Street firms—Scheer goes back to Washington, D.C., a veritable crime scene, beginning in the 1980s, where the captains of the finance industry, their lobbyists and allies among leading politicians destroyed an American regulatory system that had been functioning effectively since the era of the New Deal.

This is a story largely forgotten or overlooked by the mainstream media, who wasted more than two decades with their boosterish coverage of Wall Street. Scheer argues that the roots of the disaster go back to the free-market propaganda of the Reagan years and, most damagingly, to the bipartisan deregulation of the banking industry undertaken with the full support of “progressive” Bill Clinton.

In fact, if this debacle has a name, Scheer suggests, it is the “Clinton Bubble,” that era when the administration let its friends on Wall Street write legislation that razed decades of robust financial regulation. It was Wall Street and Democratic Party darling Robert Rubin along with his clique of economist super-friends—Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Summers, and a few others—who inflated a giant real estate bubble by purposely not regulating the derivatives market, resulting in the pain and hardship millions are experiencing now.

The Great American Stickup is both a brilliant telling of the story of the Clinton financial clique and the havoc it wrought—informed by whistleblowers such as Brooksley Born, who goes on the record for Scheer—and an unsparing anatomy of the American business and political class. It is also a cautionary tale: those who form the nucleus of the Clinton clique are now advising the Obama administration.

 



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Following Ronald Reagan' s obsession with the radical deregulation of financial markets through its apotheosis under the Clinton administration to Obama' s reform efforts--which rely, oddly enough, on Clinton cronies to clean up (and profit from) the mess they made--Scheer (The Pornography of Power) proves that, when it comes to the ruling sway of money power, Democrats and Republicans, Wall Street and Washington make very agreeable bedfellows. Scheer names names (Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Alan Greenspan), while praising those who sounded the alarm and underscoring the foreseeable results of putting Wall Street in the driver' s seat. What grew in this regulatory vacuum, Scheer shows, was a global casino, a mind-bendingly enormous and arcane system of gambling on new financial products worth hundreds of trillions of dollars. By 2007, when the house of cards collapsed, Wall Street alone understood what it had wrought while its government partners remained clueless.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Coziness between Wall Street and Washington, D.C., from as far back as the Reagan administration, set up the nation for a deliberate swindle that nearly brought down the U.S. economy, argues Scheer, a veteran journalist and editor of TruthDig.com. Drawing from investigative reporting, memoirs, and news accounts, Scheer traces the building crisis through the Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and even Obama administrations, taking aim at three myths: that the financial markets are logical and self-correcting, that excesses only hurt speculators and not the general public, and that government regulation stands in the way of effective free enterprise. Instead, he presents a portrait of financial and political skulduggery by several influential players, notably Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and Phil Gramm, and heroic efforts by a few regulators to stop it. Scheer explains in accessible detail the expanding derivatives markets, loosening of regulations on financial activities, and the subprime mortgage market, with much of the abuse aided and abetted by a handful of influential men. He highlights Rubin’s machinations within government to grant expanded powers to Enron and Citigroup, then later joining Citigroup to benefit from the changes that he helped to engineer. Scheer is also critical of the business press that championed deregulation and asked few questions as iconic figures sat atop failure after failure, many of them now engaged in “reforming” the system. A scathing, penetrating look at the unsavory links between American finance and politics. --Vanessa Bush

Product Details

  • File Size: 425 KB
  • Print Length: 301 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1568584342
  • Publisher: Nation Books (September 7, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003ZHVC7A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,495 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
178 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The great American Stickup September 8, 2010
Format:Paperback
In this book, "deregulation" is a four-letter word: a synonym for leaving the U.S. taxpayer, U.S. markets and the U.S. reputation wide open to greedy mindless homegrown plutocrats. In short, it is a synonym for leaving the nation vulnerable to conscienceless unpatriotic Wall Street thieves.

Here in easy to understand language, Robert Scheer has pealed back the layers that cover up the whole stinking mess that has become "stripped-down vulnerable deregulated America." The method of robbery is basically a five-step political process: (1) "demagog" FDR and all existing regulations relentlessly as the enemy of free enterprise; (2) use paid lobbyist to help justify, tear-down and then rewrite new regulations; (3) use lobbyists' contributions to buy off the votes of key politicians in both parties to open up the laws for the impending thievery; (4) once legislation is passed, oversee the Wall Street financial casino with watchdogs that do not watch; and then (5) appoint members of the plutocracy who stand to gain the most, as facilitators and the palace guards of policy.

The present system of "high-level state sanctioned grand larceny" was designed and implemented, not by Ronald Reagan, or GW Bush, but by William Jefferson Clinton with the help of none other than the gang of four -- Timothy Geitner, Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, and Lawrence Summers. However, the unsung hero of the grand heist, was Windy Lee Gramm, senator Phil Gramm's paramour and then wife, (who as a grad student was first his lover and then very quickly his wife). It was this "devious duo" that engineered the plans for the ultimate robbery of the American economic system.
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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime: Public, Private and Bipartisan September 22, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Steal a little and they throw you in jail - Steal a lot and they make you king" - Bob Dylan

Imagine, for a moment, that a burly stranger takes your wallet, removes $20, and walks away. It stands to reason that, at the very least, you would want the culprit caught. You might even take the time to file a police report and describe the thief to a sketch artist. Now imagine instead, a very well dressed thief, with a dozen or so well dressed associates, who manage to take your house, your job, and even to diminish the value of your 401K, would you want this group caught just as badly? And if it turns out that this second heist was the work of identifiable thieves, would you spend the time necessary to learn who they were and how the deed was done? Or would you rather squeal and scream at whoever and whatever is directly in front of you?

That is the choice you face when deciding whether or not to read "The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street". In it, veteran journalist and Truthdig editor, Robert Scheer does exactly what the subtitle implies. He describes in detail how we got into the economic mess we are in.

Of course, everyone knows some of what happened. Most, probably suspect that both bankers and brokers had a hand in creating the real estate mess. Most have heard something about derivatives, CDOs, Alt-A loans, and subprime loans. And those government sponsored bank bailouts are, by now, infamous - even if there seems to be widespread confusion about which administration (Bush or Obama) did what. But when did this all start and what are the political, economic, and ideological connections? More simply, what is the answer to a question posed by a bewildered George W.
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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! August 22, 2010
By nicole
Format:Paperback
The Great American Stickup is an excellent read! Mr. Scheer does an outstanding job analyzing how we got into the financial crisis and, in doing so, sheds light on what is needed to avoid a repeat. The book is full of fascinating and important anecdotes, exposing key actors and clear details of actions they took that sewed the seeds of our financial meltdown. His style is highly engaging -- given his journalistic credentials, this isn't a surprise. I have never read an account that so clearly lays out the relationship between Washington and Big Business and its impact on Main Street. His case isn't a partisan one and that makes this book particularly powerful.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, the real story, concise and readable September 20, 2010
Format:Paperback
An excellent book that explains in an easy to read, clearly written way the story of how unbridled greed and the bipartisan sell out of America's working class brought us the catastrophe that is our current economic situation.

Makes the point very clearly that the two major political parties of today are just two sides of the same coin, owned and controlled by the banks and financial services industry which have become unbelievably rich in our current climate of no regulation, defunded regulation and rampant corruption.

In a moral world people like Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Tim Geitner, Henry Paulson, Alan Greenspan and Barack Obama would be in prison where they belong.

Their betrayal of the public trust is shameful and there should be accountability for what they have done.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Even-handed Book! June 27, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street by Robert Scheer

"The Great American Stickup" is an even-handed book about the conflict of interests of American finances and politicians from Reagan's presidency to this day. This insightful 304-page book is composed of the following nine chapters: 1. It Was the Economy, Stupid, 2. The High Priestess of the Reagan Revolution, 3. The Clinton Bubble, 4. The Valiant Stand of Brooksley Born, 5. They Have No Shame, 6. Robert Rubin Rakes It In at Citigroup, 7. Poverty Pimps, 8. Goldman Cleans Up, 9. Sucking Up to the Bankers: Crisis Handoff from Bush to Obama.

Positives:
1. Well-written, well-researched book that is accessible to the masses.
2. This is the most even-handed book I've read about the causes of the economic disasters of the past 30 years or so. Mr. Scheer does not hold back in placing blame where blame is due.
3. Does not waste time laying out the foundation of this book, "For it was this Wall Street and Democratic Party darling, along with this clique of economist super-friends: - Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Summers, and a few others - who inflated a giant real estate bubble by purposely not regulating the derivatives market, resulting in oceans of money that was poured into bad loans sold as safe investments."
4. A very good explanation of the financial instruments that became the downfall of the economy: swaps, derivatives, and collaterized debt obligations to name a few.
5. The infuriating scapegoating of borrowers for the economic collapse caused by the lenders.
6. The wisdom of FDR's New Deal reforms that helped preserve capitalism from its own excesses.
7. The importance of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Amercan Stickup by Robert Scheer
This is an excellent review of the subject, even for those of us who lived through the era, giving ore in-depth knowledge and connecting the names of the movers and shakers at the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Vera Cousins
4.0 out of 5 stars Hello Wall St!
I bought this book after having a reading renaissance towards the end of 2013. I wanted to get a good review and rundown of the 2008 crash and its aftermath. Read more
Published 2 months ago by R. Garnica
4.0 out of 5 stars Picks up where Barlett and Steele's "America" trilogy left off
It is a five star book as far as it goes. It is a four star book because there is nothing of substance condemning either voters or public sector unions and public pension funds for... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Appalachian Son
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Political Book in Today's Times
I enjoyed the read. Book was well written and contained well documented facts to back up the thesis. A book for both Republicans and Democrats.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. Joel L. Sys
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!
Solid reporting makes this a valuable look at a corrupted system. The truth is more depressing than any fictional account.
Published 5 months ago by Fred Donaldson
2.0 out of 5 stars Dry, repetitive re-hash.
This book didn't tell me anything that I didn't know, or that informed voters shouldn't also know; namely, that the revolving door, today's campaign financing morass and plain old... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dan
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read
This book is a must read for every voter to understand what happened & who was responsible.
Insight into the biggest problem of our Republic. Read more
Published 6 months ago by David Danks
4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth will out!
An educated citizen is our best citizen. Finally, the whitewash is fading and we see the Truth. We now get to see the process of how "Power corrupts and absolute power... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Lou
5.0 out of 5 stars fine
God I get tried if writing reviews, I just want to buy a product and go on with my life
Sorry
David
Published 13 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I have read other works by Robert Scheer , so when I had to read this book I knew it was going to be good. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Star_Girl
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More About the Author

Robert Scheer has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. His columns appear in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines. He conducted the famous Playboy magazine interview in which Jimmy Carter confessed to the lust in his heart and he went on to do many interviews for the Los Angeles Times with Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and many other prominent political and cultural figures.

Between 1964 and 1969 he was Vietnam correspondent, managing editor and editor in chief of Ramparts magazine. From 1976 to 1993 he served as a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, writing on diverse topics such as the Soviet Union, arms control, national politics and the military. In 1993 he launched a nationally syndicated column based at the Los Angeles Times, where he was named a contributing editor. That column ran weekly for the next 12 years and is now based at Truthdig.

Scheer can be heard on the political radio program "Left, Right and Center" on KCRW, the National Public Radio affiliate in Santa Monica, Calif. He is currently a clinical professor of communications at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Scheer has written nine books, including "Thinking Tuna Fish, Talking Death: Essays on the Pornography of Power"; "With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War"; "America After Nixon: The Age of Multinationals"; with his son Christopher and Lakshmi Chaudhry, "The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us about Iraq"; "Playing President: "My Close Encounters with Nixon, Carter, Bush I and Clinton--and How They Did Not Prepare Me for George W. Bush"; and "The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America." Scheer's latest book, "The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street" (Nation Books), will be released on September 7, 2010.

Scheer was raised in the Bronx, where he attended public schools and graduated from City College of New York. He studied as a Maxwell Fellow at Syracuse University and was a fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, where he did graduate work in economics. Scheer is a contributing editor for The Nation as well as a Nation Fellow. He has also been a Poynter Fellow at Yale, and was a fellow in arms control at Stanford.



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