Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Understanding the Meltdown and Bailout

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone is my newest hero. The Big Takeover is essential reading to understand what is going on between Wall Street and Washington.
People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but
they're not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic
meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a
coup d'├ętat. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been
snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class
of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and
systematically weaken financial regulations.
I also recommend Taibbi's take at The Smirking Chimp on the whining AIG exec who feels ill used because he's not going to get his retention bonus:

DeSantis has a few major points. They include: 1) I had nothing to do with
my boss Joe Cassano's toxic credit default swaps portfolio, and only a handful
of people in our unit did; 2) I didn't even know anything about them; 3) I could
have left AIG for a better job several times last year; 4) but I didn't, staying
out of a sense of duty to my poor, beleaguered firm, only to find out in the end
that; 5) I would be betrayed by AIG senior management, who promised we would be
rewarded for staying, but then went back on their word when they folded in
highly cowardly fashion in the face of an angry and stupid populist mob.

I have a few responses to those points. They are 1) Bullshit; 2) bullshit;
3) bullshit, plus of course; 4) bullshit. Lastly, there is 5) Boo-Fucking-Hoo.
You dog.

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