Tag Archives | Matt Taibbi

Are We In a Recession or Not?

Photo: Fletcher6 (CC)

Photo: Fletcher6 (CC)

Matt Taibbi says it depends on whether you’re standing on Wall Street or Main Street, on his blog at Rolling Stone:

“Everyone agrees that the recession is over.” – Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council

“Of course not.” – Outgoing Council of Economic Advisers Chairwoman Christina Romer, when asked if the recession was over.

The two senior White House economic advisers made their comments on the same day…

If you’re on Wall Street, and you’ve seen the stock markets recover and the banks go from virtual insolvency two years ago back to record profit numbers now, then like Summers you’ll think “everybody agrees” that the recession is over.

If however you’re just some schmuck looking for a job somewhere outside the Beltway and/or lower Manhattan, and you’re noticing that the only easy job openings this year were temp gig taking census surveys (and even those have dried up), then your view of things is going to be no way the recession has ended, “of course not.”…

[continues at Rolling Stone]… Read the rest

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The Tea Party is Perverted and Irrelevant

Photo: HKDP (CC)

Photo: HKDP (CC)

Matt Taibbi mouths off in the wake of the Shirley Sherrod affair, at Rolling Stone:

“You don’t get control of the White House and two governors and the Justice Department, and then start arguing with people carrying signs.”Al Sharpton

Years ago a friend of mine in the media told me a story about an experience he had covering the execution of John Wayne Gacy in Joliet, Illinois. You won’t find anyone in the world who’d have been sad to see serial child murderer in a clown suit like Gacy die, but this reporter friend of mine said the crowd outside the prison on execution night freaked him out almost as much as Gacy had. There were something like 400 people outside the gates at Joliet and there were people selling commemorative t-shirts and pounding beers and chanting (“Kill the Clown!” was a popular one) all night.

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Will Goldman Sachs Prove Greed is God?

LBThese A-holes are no longer happy with the “Greed is Good” mantra? Kicking it up to the Almighty now? Great job ducking those questions from Congress today. Matt Taibbi, who’s been excellent on speaking the truth behind the so-called financial “crisis,” writes in the Guardian:

The investment bank’s cult of self-interest is on trial against the whole idea of civilisation — the collective decision by all of us not to screw each other over even if we can.

So Goldman Sachs, the world’s greatest and smuggest investment bank, has been sued for fraud by the American Securities and Exchange Commission. Legally, the case hangs on a technicality.

Morally, however, the Goldman Sachs case may turn into a final referendum on the greed-is-good ethos that conquered America sometime in the 80s – and in the years since has aped other horrifying American trends such as boybands and reality shows in spreading across the western world like a venereal disease.

When Britain and other countries were engulfed in the flood of defaults and derivative losses that emerged from the collapse of the American housing bubble two years ago, few people understood that the crash had its roots in the lunatic greed-centered objectivist religion, fostered back in the 50s and 60s by ponderous emigre novelist Ayn Rand.

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The Big Banks Are Now Looting Main Street

Wall Street’s journalist nemesis Matt Taibbi reveals how the nation’s biggest banks, this time with J.P. Morgan at the head of the pack rather than Taibbi’s usual bad guys from Goldman Sachs, are ripping off American cities with the same predatory deals that brought down Greece, in Rolling Stone:

If you want to know what life in the Third World is like, just ask Lisa Pack, an administrative assistant who works in the roads and transportation department in Jefferson County, Alabama.

Pack got rudely introduced to life in post-crisis America last August, when word came down that she and 1,000 of her fellow public employees would have to take a little unpaid vacation for a while. The county, it turned out, was more than $5 billion in debtJPM logo — meaning that courthouses, jails and sheriff’s precincts had to be closed so that Wall Street banks could be paid.

As public services in and around Birmingham were stripped to the bone, Pack struggled to support her family on a weekly unemployment check of $260.

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Goldman Sachs CEO’s Giant, Nuclear-Powered Testicles

Goldman_SachsAs described by the inimitable Matt Taibbi, for Rolling Stone:

On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America’s pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman’s role in precipitating the global financial crisis.

The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a “bailout tax” on banks.

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Fannie, Freddie, and the New Red and Blue

FannieFreddieMatt Taibbi writes on True/Slant:

For what we’ve learned in the last few years as one scandal after another spilled onto the front pages is that the bubble economies of the last two decades were not merely monstrous Ponzi schemes that destroyed trillions in wealth while making a small handful of people rich. They were also a profound expression of the fundamentally criminal nature of our political system, in which state power/largess and the private pursuit of (mostly short-term) profit were brilliantly fused in a kind of ongoing theft scheme that sought to instant-cannibalize all the wealth America had stored up during its postwar glory, in the process keeping politicians in office and bankers in beach homes while continually moving the increasingly inevitable disaster to the future.

That is a terrible story and it is also sort of a taboo story, since we don’t really have a system of media now that is willing or even able to digest that dark and complicated truth.

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Something’s Not Right Here

Bill Moyers, Matt Taibbi and Robert Kuttner discuss the financial collapse one year on, at Information Clearing House:

One year after the great collapse of our financial system, Wall Street is back on top while our politicians dither. As for health care reform, you’re about to be forced to buy insurance from companies whose stock is soaring, and that’s just dandy with the White House.

Truth is, our capitol’s being looted, republicans are acting like the town rowdies, the sheriff is firing blanks, and powerful Democrats in Congress are in cahoots with the gang that’s pulling the heist. This is not capitalism at work. It’s capital. Raw money, mounds of it, buying politicians and policy as if they were futures on the hog market.

Here to talk about all this are two journalists who don’t pull their punches. Robert Kuttner is an economist who helped create and now co-edits the progressive magazine THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, and the author of the book OBAMA’S CHALLENGE, among others…

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Matt Taibbi on Obama’s Big Sellout

ObamaWithPigsThere’s no one individual out there who been more on the ball about this financial “crisis” and the inherent/subsequent corruption than Matt Taibbi. I recommend reading all the work he’s done for Rolling Stone in the past year. Here is his latest article:

Barack Obama ran for president as a man of the people, standing up to Wall Street as the global economy melted down in that fateful fall of 2008. He pushed a tax plan to soak the rich, ripped NAFTA for hurting the middle class and tore into John McCain for supporting a bankruptcy bill that sided with wealthy bankers “at the expense of hardworking Americans.” Obama may not have run to the left of Samuel Gompers or Cesar Chavez, but it’s not like you saw him on the campaign trail flanked by bankers from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. What inspired supporters who pushed him to his historic win was the sense that a genuine outsider was finally breaking into an exclusive club, that walls were being torn down, that things were, for lack of a better or more specific term, changing.

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