Posted date: 2011-01-17
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Griftopia is the kind of book that will likely kill me sooner or later. I am certain I turned brilliant shades of red while reading this in mixed company. Matt Taibbi has taken his characteristic no-bullshit approach to laying bare the sordid details of the grand crimes against the citizenry of this nation (and others, to be sure) by those too wealthy to be prosecuted. Beginning with a side of Alan Greenspan with which most Americans are unfamiliar, the iconoclastic young Rolling Stone reporter (hey, he's my age, so he's young, damn it) tears down the portraiture of individuals and industries. We see Greenspan as a Randian cultist, insurance as an above-the-law confidence scam, banking and energy as the vile proprietors of shell-games primarily devoted to transferring money from the people of this country to themselves. We see how the business of energy was manipulated in such a way as to transfer trillions of dollars from Americans to foreigners (so long as the right people can siphon a little off the top). We see how American municipal and state governments are selling off assets for a fraction of their worth in pursuit of budget bandaids to cover the deficits caused by the aforementioned transfer of wealth.
Taibbi attacks not only the overtly criminal activities of these corporate thieves, but also their enablers in the form of their cheap whores in the media. From ridiculously and obviously incompetent idiots such as Megan McArdle of The Atlantic to the clever writer and professional concern troll David Brooks of the New York Times, the author shows the extent to which these "journalists" are simply toadies for the entire greed movement.
The current administration is receives no special treatment as Taibbi shows us how the network of Goldman Sachs leeches that made this possible has been handed down from administration to administration. Members of the Obama Administration are implicated alongside their counterparts in the Bush and Clinton Administrations. As well, the Obama Administration is attacked for sacrificing or ignoring campaign promises in favor of not rocking the poor-to-rich-transfer-of-wealth boat.
I have never been so enraged book. In the unfettered manner of a truly independent reporter, Taibbi shouts from the rooftops with the voice of reason. And he uses the F-word. This is not a book for those with cardiac or other health problems. I had to put this one down more than once, for fear of aneurysm. This book is truly illuminating. And terrifying.