James's Reviews > Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America

Griftopia by Matt Taibbi
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Brilliant, thorough, very clear, and infuriating, also less floridly reminiscent of Hunter Thompson and Michael Moore than some of Matt Taibbi's other work. In this book Taibbi carefully explains, in plain English understandable to readers like me without a background in business or economics, how a combination of big corporations and the legislators who owe their positions of power to the campaign funding they get from those corporations have been systematically rigging the American and world economic systems more and more in favor of those corporations and the very rich - reducing their tax burden and increasing those of the middle class and the working poor; dismantling the financial regulatory system put in place after the Crash of 1929 to prevent the kind of speculation that led to that economic catastrophe and the years of Great Depression that followed; destroying the network of laws enacted to protect the public and environment from abuse by big business; and so on.

Essentially, it's a damning and nonpartisan portrait (the Bush and Obama administrations are shown to be equally corrupt from their respective beginnings) of an oligarchic class of white-collar sociopaths that have managed to take control of the U.S. government and the world economy in a sort of near-invisible hostile takeover and are robbing the rest of us blind, while arranging irrelevant political Punch-and-Judy shows and movements pitting parts of the electorate against each other (examples: the Tea Party and MoveOn) to keep them from realizing they should be uniting to go after the real villains.

I have never seen more convincing data supporting the argument that it's time for a new, genuinely populist major party in American politics that represents ordinary people - the other 98% or 99%, depending on whose figures you're looking at.

Before you decide what politicians to support in future elections with your campaign contributions, volunteer efforts, or vote, please read this book.
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