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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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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
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
Anyone who is sure of their own political point of view should take the time to read this, and this author's other books. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Laura C Watson
Excellent book. Matt Taibbi tells it like it is in his typical writing style. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, especially the clueless people. Read morePublished 5 months ago by ggill
Matt Taibbi is a must read for anyone wishing to get an idea of how money and power have influenced our system. He was the reason I subscribed to RS for so long.Published 5 months ago by r Welch
Matt Taibbi is a great writer and can tell a story with just the right amount of humor to keep you from getting too upset at what is going on.Published 6 months ago by Steven Starwalt
This is a very fun, eye opening and concurrently a bit depressing read. Enough blame to go around on both sides of the isle, as you will learn.Published 6 months ago by SR Reviews