America is the last superpower, the nation that put men on the moon. And now all of a sudden we can’t pay for our children to have an education or for police officers to keep the streets safe. Where’d all the money go?
Tax breaks for the super-rich and corporations, for quagmired foreign wars, and to the Wall Street banks that created the stock bubble of the late ’90s, the housing bubble, and drove oil1 and wheat prices into the stratosphere. The Wall Street machinations are the focus of Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America.
Griftopia is required reading not just for Americans but for anybody in the Western world who’s wondering just what the hell is going on with the economy.
The picture Taibbi paints is infuriating, a breathtaking corruption between Wall Street and Congress. We are talking banana republic-levels of corruption and an oligarchy immune to our laws. Which sounds histrionic and Black Helicopter-crowd deranged, but Taibbi has done his research.
For some reason I don’t fully understand, Taibbi starts Griftopia with a discussion about the Tea Party. It’s solid and he posits an answer to the frustrating question of why the Tea Party thinks government is the problem even in areas like the bubble-fueled depression where the problem was a lack of government intervention (together with the aforementioned corruption). Read it and you’ll find out.
So, Griftopia is a very important book and one you should read. But it’s not without its flaws. The Tea Party discussion at the beginning is interesting, but a bit beside the point. And the tone could certainly be improved—Taibbi relishes his hipsterdom as a Rolling Stone reporter a bit much. The material is strong enough that gratuitous f-bombs could be edited out and the writing tightened up in general.
But that’s quibbles. Read it. And get angry.
If you think the current spike in prices at the pump has anything to do with supply or the instability in Libya, you are sadly misinformed.↩
Posted Sunday, 13 March, 2011 by Nic Lindh
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.
Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.