The counterfeit nature of our economy
is troubling enough, given that financial
power is concentrated in the hands of a few
key players - "300 white guys in Manhattan,"
as a former high-placed executive puts it.
But over the course of the past year,
that group of insiders has also proved itself
brilliantly capable of enlisting the power of
the state to help along the process of concentrating
economic might - making it less and less likely
that the financial markets will ever be policed,
since the state is increasingly the captive
of these interests.
The new president for whom we all had such
high hopes went and hired Michael Froman,
a Citigroup executive who accepted a $2.2
million bonus after he joined the White House,
to serve on his economic transition team -
at the same time the government was giving
Citigroup a massive bailout.
Then, after promising to curb the influence
of lobbyists, Obama hired a former Goldman
Sachs lobbyist, Mark Patterson, as chief of staff
at the Treasury. He hired another Goldmanite,
Gary Gensler, to police the commodities markets.
He handed control of the Treasury and Federal
Reserve over to Geithner and Bernanke,
a pair of stooges who spent their whole careers
being bellhops for New York bankers.
And on the first anniversary of the collapse
of Lehman Brothers, when he finally came to
Wall Street to promote "serious financial
reform," his plan proved to be so completely
absent of balls that the share prices of
the major banks soared at the news.
The nation's largest financial players are
able to write the rules for their own businesses
and brazenly steal billions under the noses
of regulators, and nothing is done about it.
A thing so fundamental to civilized society
as the integrity of a stock, or a mortgage note,
or even a U.S. Treasury bond, can no longer
be protected, not even in a crisis, and a crime
as vulgar and conspicuous as counterfeiting
can take place on a systematic level for years
without being stopped, even after it begins
to affect the modern-day equivalents of the
Rockefellers and the Carnegies.
What 10 years ago was a cheap stockfraud
scheme for second-rate grifters in Brooklyn
has become a major profit center for Wall Street.
Our burglar class now rules the national economy.
And no one is trying to stop them.
From a much longer article by
Matt Taibbi -
"WALL STREET'S NAKED SWINDLE"
Rolling Stone RS1089 (on the stands now)