Nobody covered the Wall Street collapse, bailout, and corrupt resurgence better than Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, from giving Goldman Sachs its unforgettable epithet to covering the hearings on the bailouts to documenting the foreclosure mills, to deep dives into the sweetheart deals the banks got; to the revolving door between finance regulators and the finance sector to the rise of Occupy; to the consolidation of financial primacy after the collapse; to the double-standard for criminal justice revealed by the collapse; to the frauds that surfaced after the crash; to the tiny bright spots where bankers were brought to justice; all capped by an incandescent, outstanding book about the crisis and the systematic racial and economic justice it revealed.
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When Donald Trump announced that he would "drain the swamp" by filling his cabinet with lobbyists, billionaires, and political operators, we all braced for an onslaught of rules that benefited the fattest of cats at the expense of everyone else, but Gary Cohn outdid himself.
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Gary Cohn is Trump's chief economic advisor. He's a former Goldman-Sachs banker with a net worth of more than $250,000,000. In his latest appearance, the quarter-billionaire explained to the press that Trump's tax-plan (which will transfer billions to the wealthiest 1%, e.g., Gary Cohn) will save two-child families earning $100,000/year about $1,000 and that they can use this money to buy "a new car." Read the rest
Malcolm Turnbull, the Goldman-Sachs investment banker turned Australian Prime Minister, secretly donated AUD1.75m to his own 2016 re-election campaign, giving it the funds it needed to squeak into victory. Read the rest
Boris Johnson led the Brexit campaign with a lot of dog-whistles about dirty foreign muck stealing our jobs and clogging up our NHS, before being stabbed in the back by Michael Gove and bowing out of politics, until, today, he was made Foreign Secretary by Theresa May, the UK's new Pry Minister. Read the rest
In 2006, western leaders decided that Gaddafi's oil was more important than his human rights record and complicity in terrorism and lifted sanctions against Libya, creating a massive pool of cash for the country that it turned into a sovereign wealth fund whose business was aggressively courted by Goldman Sachs. Read the rest
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo -- a former venture capitalist who invested state funds with hedge funds during her tenure as state treasurer -- invited Goldman Sachs to set up a partnership with the Community College of Rhode Island, then kicked out the college's daycare center to make room for Goldman staffers to work. Read the rest
The headline figure of a $5B settlement that Goldman will have to pay after admitting to the toxic-asset fraud that led to the global economic collapse is just window-dressing: in the fine print are exemptions and giveaways that could cut that number in half. Read the rest
No one at Goldman Sachs will go to jail despite the company's world-destroying, multi-billion-dollar frauds that culminated in its unloading billions' worth of worthless mortgage-backed securities on its customers just before the crash. Read the rest
A brilliant, enraging op-ed in the Washington Post from analysts from the New America Foundation and the American Antitrust Institute shows how the Reagan-era policy of encouraging monopolistic corporate behavior has made America unequal and uncompetitive, creating a horror Gilded Age where the Congressional consensus is that laws cannot possibly put a check on bad corporate actors.
It's another look at the problems set out in Matt Taibbi's brilliant book The Divide, tracing the policies that created both the private prison industry and banks so big that even the most depraved criminality can't be punished lest the bank tremble and collapse on wider society.
Particularly galling and illuminating is a quote from a Goldman Sachs report that advises investors to seek out "oligopolistic market structure[s]" where there's "lower competitive intensity, greater stickiness and pricing power with customers due to reduced choice" as the ideal way to maximize your return on capital. Read the rest