If you have problems with your blood pressure then you probably shouldn’t read Matt Taibbi’s essay for Rolling Stone magazine titled The Big Takeover. It’ll probably give you an aneurysm. It very nearly gave one to me:
In essence, Paulson and his cronies turned the federal government into one gigantic, half-opaque holding company, one whose balance sheet includes the world’s most appallingly large and risky hedge fund, a controlling stake in a dying insurance giant, huge investments in a group of teetering megabanks, and shares here and there in various auto-finance companies, student loans, and other failing businesses. Like AIG, this new federal holding company is a firm that has no mechanism for auditing itself and is run by leaders who have very little grasp of the daily operations of its disparate subsidiary operations.
In other words, it’s AIG’s rip-roaringly shitty business model writ almost inconceivably massive — to echo Geithner, a huge, complex global company attached to a very complicated investment bank/hedge fund that’s been allowed to build up without adult supervision. 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.
It’s a very long read and in it Taibbi outlines for us how the financial crisis we’re currently experiencing has been years in the making and how the current approach to solving it is just more of the same old bullshit. The more you read the article the more angry you’re going to get as you realize just how bad things were allowed to become and just how screwed we really are. When you’re done you’ll no longer be surprised at the stunning arrogance of Wall Street fat cats expecting to be able to collect their promised bonuses using taxpayer money in spite of being the cause of the crisis. The worst part of it is the fact that the people Obama has running the Fed are pretty much from the same group that fucked us over to begin with.
Who do you think they’re going to be looking out for? You or their old friends on Wall Street?