Taibbi tells it like it is

Matt Taibbi has published another of his great pieces in Rolling Stone; this one putting the AIG bailout in its proper context. Money excerpts:

The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers. . . .

In essence, Paulson used the bailout to transform the government into a giant bureaucracy of entitled assholedom, one that would socialize “toxic” risks but keep both the profits and the management of the bailed-out firms in private hands. Moreover, this whole process would be done in secret, away from the prying eyes of NASCAR dads, broke-ass liberals who read translations of French novels, subprime mortgage holders and other such financial losers. . .

As to how last fall’s money was allocated:  “Another member of Congress, who asked not to be named, offers his own theory about the TARP process. “I think basically if you knew Hank Paulson, you got the money,” he says.

Taibbi concludes:

How much of what kinds of crap is actually on our balance sheet, and what did we pay for it? When exactly will the rent come due, when will the money run out? Does anyone know what the hell is going on? And on the linear spectrum of capitalism to socialism, where exactly are we now? Is there a dictionary word that even describes what we are now? It would be funny, if it weren’t such a nightmare.

I like his suggestion that the traditional left-right way of describing political views is rapidly becoming obsolete.  Yet the games continue as though it was  still politics-as-usual.  It isn’t. Not anymore.

My novel The Mirrored Heavens is now available in mass-market paperback.

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