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One Very Bright Guy..

November 6, 2010

Matt Taibbi was highly and slyly read a year or two back for in-depth insights on US and USA life.

Since then, and in the meantime, he has been busy with a book entitled Griftopia. Very apt indeed, grifters being modern huckster-types, and aligned to profiting directly from folks’ fears. AKA lack of knowledge, or prejudice, or ignorance.

Aside from the book MT has gotten himself into an illuminating conversation with Damien Hoffman @ Business Insider, a clip below fyi.

I’ve put it up here because folks have wanted my take on the midterms results.. and appear unwilling to accept so short a term as TOXIC ASSETS. This, to myself, the shorthand of what PBO did not do. Nor banking officiates determine correct and prompt resolution for these past couple of years. And yes, with TA still there, Keynesian-like distributions or quantitative easing can only tell these people and their miscreant charges that repeat debauchery pays off. Again and again. Until… ?

Taibbi has part of the answer below, but a very good analysis of the beastie befalling electors. All. And useful in future beguilings.. of which many are already planned.. so take a look at the who-fors and how-soes..

Damien: In your experience at the Tea Party events, do they understand the cosmic irony that they basically just got robbed because there were no sheriffs left in the Wild West, yet now they all stand for a movement that prefers to keep it that way?

Matt: No, they don’t see the irony at all. And interestingly, a lot of them are real law-and-order types. I mean, they’re really into Cops and putting people in jail for smoking a joint. But when it comes to a financial crime, they have absolutely no interest in that whatsoever.

Basically, government regulation is the kind of stuff a lot of them see on a day-to-day basis, but in a different form. If they’re a hardware store owner, they see a local health inspector or an ADA inspector coming by to make sure they’re in compliance with something. These are all little annoyances and costs that they see when they interact with government. Unfortunately, that’s what they think is financial regulation. They don’t get that it’s a completely different ball game when you’re talking about JP Morgan Chase (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS), and that level of power requiring oversight.

Damien: So, can you explain how what you call the grifter class pulled off this magnanimous trick?

Matt: Well, there’s a very simple explanation for how they get away with this stuff: modern financial services is so unbelievably complicated that people will naturally strive for simple explanations. And when people like these Tea Party leaders come around offer a very simple explanation — regulation bad, deregulation good — people jump at the chance to believe because not believing means they must commit themselves to actually figuring it all out.

It’s so unbelievably intimidating to people to make the commitment to understand all this stuff, they will flee to any alternatives. And a viable alternative is to believe the idea that all this mess was caused by regulations and government meddling. That’s something people can understand.

Damien: So, do you think the U.S. is entering a new phase?

Matt: That’s a difficult question. We are transitioning to something new and it has less to do with the evolution of an individual country like the United States and more to do with the withering away of states in general. This is causing a corporate anarchy where there are really no rules or regulations for the game, and there are no physical borders.

I think across states and borders, these banks and financial companies are going to become more concentrated and more unaccountable. I think that process is irreversible. Unless something remarkable happens here in America, we’re just going to see more of that and a weaker state to deal with it.

Damien: Do you think we’re now just on the cusp of another situation where Wall Street is moving into the next big scam and the fallout is only years away?

Matt: Yes. I don’t think it’s any secret on Wall Street that there is another shoe that has to drop. I was just in a foreclosure court down in Florida and I watched a foreclosure lawyer come in with a stack of foreclosures that literally went above his head. Each one of those folders had faulty paperwork in it. That implies all those mortgage bank securities are still infecting the entire economic universe and there’s a place for those to fall too.

They are all probably going to blow up and there’s going to be a tremendous reckoning when that finally happens because we’re propping up that part of the economy. But there’s also evidence that suggests there’s bubble-like activity going on right now. We have a recovery without jobs, we have quantitative easing where they’re going to dump another ton of money through Wall Street — that’s just printing money out of thin air.

Clearly, there are going to be consequences for all of this. And when we balance the books and figure out how much everything is actually worth on our balance sheets, I think there’s going to be another problem.

Damien: Do you think there’s a realistic chance for widespread civil unrest?

Matt: If we have a massive tax increase or hyperinflation, I would imagine there could be some kind of unrest.

But the amazing thing is we just had this huge, seemingly like once in a generation financial crisis and we did not have a movement specifically directed at the people who caused it. So, it’s hard to predict whether social unrest will be coherent.

Damien: What kind of results do you think we can expect from the recent elections?

Matt: Well, the Democrats didn’t do a whole lot in the two years they had to try to fix all these problems. They did pass the Dodd-Frank Bill that does have some stuff in it that’s real.

However, I’m sure the Republicans will do everything in their power to roll back any reforms that have been enacted. I can guarantee there won’t be much in the way of further reforms in the next two years. Anything that’s going to happen in terms of fixing Wall Street won’t happen for the next two years – let’s put it that way. [ my emphases. the blue relating to didn’t this happen in NZ when banks pumped interest rates ahead and independent the Reserve Bank adjustment/s ?]

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