Dec 13, 2009

The latest from Matt Taibbi

I tend to like Matt Taibbi, and I thought his latest in Rolling Stone was pretty good:
Around the same time that finance reform was being watered down in Congress at the behest of his Treasury secretary, Obama was making a pit stop to raise money from Wall Street. On October 20th, the president went to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York and addressed some 200 financiers and business moguls, each of whom paid the maximum allowable contribution of $30,400 to the Democratic Party. But an organizer of the event, Daniel Fass, announced in advance that support for the president might be lighter than expected — bailed-out firms like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs were expected to contribute a meager $91,000 to the event — because bankers were tired of being lectured about their misdeeds.

"The investment community feels very put-upon," Fass explained. "They feel there is no reason why they shouldn't earn $1 million to $200 million a year, and they don't want to be held responsible for the global financial meltdown."

Which makes sense. Shit, who could blame the investment community for the meltdown? What kind of assholes are we to put any of this on them?
Matt Yglesias didn't like it, and engaged his worst moderate passive-aggressive instincts.

I tend to agree with Kevin Drum, though:
Taibbi's piece is basically about how the finance industry owns Congress and the Obama administration, and that's basically true. In fact, I have a piece coming out in a week or so in the print magazine that makes pretty much the same point. My approach is different, and my language is all PG-rated, but my conclusions are pretty much the same. The finance industry, through both standard lobbying and what Simon Johnson calls "intellectual capture," has, over the decades since Reagan was elected, convinced nearly everyone that what's good for Wall Street is good for America, and that what's bad for Wall Street would be catastrophic for America. Everything else follows from that.

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