The Big Takeover
The global economic crisis isn't about money - it's about power.
How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution
MATT TAIBBI Posted Mar 19, 2009 12:49 PM
For Matt Taibbi's complete report, "The Big Takeover," check out Issue 1075 of Rolling Stone.
It's over — we're officially, royally fucked. No empire can survive being rendered a permanent laughingstock, which is what happened as of a few weeks ago, when the buffoons who have been running things in this country finally went one step too far. It happened when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was forced to admit that he was once again going to have to stuff billions of taxpayer dollars into a dying insurance giant called AIG, itself a profound symbol of our national decline — a corporation that got rich insuring the concrete and steel of American industry in the country's heyday, only to destroy itself chasing phantom fortunes at the Wall Street card tables, like a dissolute nobleman gambling away the family estate in the waning days of the British Empire.
American money changers transgressed evil and became insane with self-righteous greed, at the expense of the entire globe and their own future interests. By consolidating their power through deregulation and the monstrous abuses it permitted, banks became the least trusted institutions in the world. They fear no loss of respect, because their accumulated power means they can rule by sheer force. Caligula, a paragon of this ethic said “Oderint dum metuant” Let them hate, so long as they fear.
The latest bailout came as AIG admitted to having just posted the largest quarterly loss in American corporate history — some $61.7 billion. In the final three months of last year, the company lost more than $27 million every hour. That's $465,000 a minute, a yearly income for a median American household every six seconds, roughly $7,750 a second. And all this happened at the end of eight straight years that...