Should We be Taibbis In Our Towns?
Matt Taibbi appeared on the Parker/Spitzer Show. As always, he is eloquent and funny in describing the sad state of our nation's failed political and economic system. His new book "Griftopia" explains how the economic crisis happened. He, like John Edwards, identifies Two Americas. There are the grifters and then the rest of us.
Taibbi Says Tea Party Doing Heavy Lifting for Banks
What separates reporters like Taibbi and Naomi Klein is that they do their reporting on the ground. He interviews Tea Party members. He hangs out in hardware stores and restaurants in small towns. He isn't a theorist or ideologue. He reports. And maybe we should too.
He pointed out that a lot of Tea Party people are frustrated and angry at regulations on a local level and equate it with regulations on the big investment banks.
I've talked to Tea Partiers who own hardware stores and restaurants and they're upset about things like health inspectors and ADA inspectors and these little nuances that they see as being government intrusion, but they conflate that with regulation of these giant banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan/Chase and they think it's the same thing. And what they've managed to do is convince all these Americans to campaign for deregulation of these massive companies under the banner of, "let's get the government off our back."
So Virgil over at Ace Hardware is pissed about handicapped access and all kinds of paperwork and thinks that the answer is "deregulation". Virgil doesn't know or understand that "deregulation" means letting Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and other investment banks get away with wholesale theft because they have bought and neutered the regulators. Virgil doesn't know, unless he reads Matt's (and Yves Smith, Nomi Prins, book, that Goldman Sachs got a "regulation" changed so that they could become a commercial bank and borrow money at zero percent and then re-loan it to the government at 3%.. They got the "regulation" changed by calling up the government on a Sunday night and demanding that they get the change by 7am the next morning. Can Virgil do that? Nope.
Virgil is angry and was convinced to channel his anger towards minorities who bought too much house. How did this happen?
SPITZER: But to come back to the point that you so eloquently describe. The moment the banks got their money, they suddenly persuaded the Tea Party to start rallying for shutting down the government's ability to help anybody else, not a single mortgage person whose house was underwater had a bankruptcy judge sort of to undo the mortgage because the Senate forbade that and the banks lobbied against it. What was going on here?
TAIBBI: Well, again, I just think that there was this enormous sentiment against government intrusion and after Obama got elected and they had the stimulus and the homeowner Affordability Act, ordinary people had not seen the bank bailouts. They didn't actually see that happen. They didn't see the trillions of dollars that went to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan/Case, but they did see these programs that went to minority homeowners, poor minority homeowners, their next-door neighbors. And when they saw the government bailing out those people, that's when they got angry. And again, they confused the two issues.
Maybe each of us should go into our local stores and do an informal survey of what "regulations" should be changed to "get government off our backs". And did these small business people think that it is OK for these big businesses to rig the game and put small businesses out of business with onerous regulations that the big boys can bribe their way around?
I could use some help in putting together a survey that I could use in my town as I go from business to business. Or is it all pointless?