The abbreviated Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone's latest on the financial crisis is a lurid, inflammatory cartoon. And not wrong, either

Published February 18, 2010 5:07PM (EST)

Some notes on Matt Taibbi's latest luge ride through the wreckage of the financial crisis: "Wall Street's Bailout Hustle."

  • "Lloyd Blankfein... fast becoming America's pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain," [has] "a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. "
  • Barack Obama and the Democrats suffered a "bitch-whipping" in Massachusetts. (That's even <I>worse</i> than a "bitch-slapping.")
  • Goldman's businesss model: "They raped the taxpayer, and they raped their clients."
  • The cause of the crisis in just one sentence? "Jobless dope fiends bought houses with no money down, and the big banks wrapped those mortgages into securities and then sold them off to pensions and other suckers as investment-grade deals."

If you like your financial analysis written as if during the middle of a bar-fight, then Taibbi is for you. Generally speaking, Taibbi doesn't break any news in his summary of how Wall Street screwed the country, got bailed out, and is back to its old ways. But his rampage is entertaining, and on the substantive issues, he is not wrong.

The only part he leaves out is the part that nobody cares about -- which is that if the government had not taken extreme measures to keep Wall Street from complete destruction, we could be in a depression. Which might be even worse than the pathetic spectacle we are currently witnessing. But after reviewing the assembled evidence, including the profits that Wall Street banks are now making, their resistance to regulation, their determination to repeat the same mistakes that created the original mess, and our government's manifest political inability to do anything about it, I'm beginning to come around to the view that maybe it would have been more effective to just blow everything up and start all over.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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