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Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America by Matt Taibbi
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Griftopia Quotes (showing 1-30 of 45)
“In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“To sum it all up, the [Ayn] Rand belief system looks like this:
1. Facts are facts: things can be absolutely right or absolutely wrong, as determined by reason.
2. According to my reasoning, I am absolutely right.
3. Charity is immoral.
4. Pay for your own fucking schools.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“We paid for this instead of a generation of health insurance, or an alternative energy grid, or a brand-new system of roads and highways. With the $13-plus trillion we are estimated to ultimately spend on the bailouts, we could not only have bought and paid off every single sub-prime mortgage in the country (that would only have cost $1.4 trillion), we could have paid off every remaining mortgage of any kind in this country - and still have had enough money left over to buy a new house for every American who does not already have one.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“This story is the ultimate example of American’s biggest political problem. We no longer have the attention span to deal with any twenty-first century crisis. We live in an economy that is immensely complex and we are completely at the mercy of the small group of people who understand it – who incidentally often happen to be the same people who built these wildly complex economic systems. We have to trust these people to do the right thing, but we can’t, because, well, they’re scum. Which is kind of a big problem, when you think about it.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“Our leaders know we’re turning into a giant ghetto and they are taking every last hubcap they can get their hands on before the rest of us wake up and realize what’s happened.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“The basic scam in the Internet age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to grasp. It was as if banks like Goldman were wrapping ribbons around watermelons, tossing them out fiftieth-story windows, and opening the phones for bids. In this game you were a winner only if you took your money out before the melon hit the pavement.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“The new America, instead, is fast becoming a vast ghetto in which all of us, conservatives and progressives, are being bled dry by a relatively tiny oligarchy of extremely clever financial criminals and their castrato henchmen in government, whose job is to be good actors on TV and put on a good show.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“Greenspan's eventual explanation for the growing gap between stock prices and actual productivity was that, fortuitously, the laws of nature had changed -- humanity had reached a happy stage of history where bullshit could be used as rocket fuel.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“The mistake our politicians so often make with these industry leaders is in thinking they are interested in, or respectful of, the power of government. All they want is to keep stealing. If you can offer them the government’s seal of approval on that, they’ll take it. But if you can’t, well, they’ll take that too.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“In the new American ghetto, the nightmare engine is bubble economics, a kind of high-tech casino scam that kills neighborhoods just like dope does, only the product is credit, not crack or heroin. It concentrates the money of the population in just a few hands with brutal efficiency, just like narco-business, and just as in narco-business the product itself, debt, steadily demoralizes the customer to the point where he’s unable to prevent himself from being continually dominated.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“The Congressional Record will forever show that [Obamacare] was passed in a romper room of overgrown children seemingly barely old enough to keep from peeing on themselves.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“Our world isn’t about ideology anymore. It’s about complexity. We live in a complex bureaucratic state with complex laws and complex business practices, and the few organizations with the corporate willpower to master these complexities will inevitably own the political power. On the other hand, movements like the Tea Party more than anything else reflect a widespread longing for simpler times and simple solutions—just throw the U.S. Constitution at the whole mess and everything will be jake. For immigration, build a big fence. Abolish the Federal Reserve, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education. At times the overt longing for simple answers that you get from Tea Party leaders is so earnest and touching, it almost makes you forget how insane most of them are.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“I look around. You'd have to be out of your fucking mind to write, as Marcus did, that Black History Month is a ploy to lever more entitlement money out of Congress, but the ho-hum nonresponse of the white crowd reading this bit of transparent insanity is, to me, even weirder.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“There really are two Americas, one for the grifter class and one for everybody else. In everybody-else land, the world of small businesses and wage-earning employees, the government is something to be avoided, an overwhelming, all-powerful entity whose attentions usually presage some kind of financial setback, if not complete ruin. In the grifter world, however, government is a slavish lapdog that the financial companies that will be the major players in this book use as a tool for making money.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“America is no longer a country that cares about experts. In fact, it hates experts. If you can't fit a story into the culture-war storyline in ten seconds or less, it dies.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“Gross Domestic Product—the substitution, in effect, of ideas for physical value.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“The argument is that Black History Month dwells too much on the downside of white America's relationship to its brothers of African heritage, slavery and torture and the like, and ignores the work of all the good white folk through the years who were nice to black people (did you know it was a white teacher who first suggested George Washington Carver study horticulture?).”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“A loose definition of the Tea Party might be fifteen million pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid by the small handful of banks and investment companies who advertise on Fox and CNBC.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“People aren’t really needed for anything else in the Griftopia, but since Americans require the illusion of self-government, we have elections. To make sure those elections are effectively meaningless as far as Wall Street is concerned, two things end up being true. One is that voters on both sides of the aisle are gradually weaned off that habit of having real expectations for their politicians, consuming the voting process entirely as culture-war entertainment. The other is that millions of tenuously middle-class voters are conned into pushing Wall Street’s own twisted greed ethos as though it were their own. The Tea Party, with its weirdly binary view of society as being split up cleanly into competing groups of producers and parasites—that’s just a cultural echo of the insane greed-is-good belief system on Wall Street that’s provided the foundation/excuse for a generation of brilliantly complex thievery. Those beliefs have trickled down to the ex-middle-class suckers struggling to stay on top of their mortgages and their credit card bills, and the real joke is that these voters listen to CNBC and Fox and they genuinely believe they’re the producers in this binary narrative. They don’t get that somewhere way up above, there’s a group of people who’ve been living the Atlas dream for real—and building a self-dealing financial bureaucracy in their own insane image.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“[Obamacare] was almost the perfect example of politics in the Bubble Era, where the time horizon for anyone with real power is always close to zero, long-term thinking is an alien concept, and even the most massive and ambitious undertakings are motivated entirely by short-term rewards. A radical reshaping of the entire economy, for two election cycles’ worth of campaign cash – that was what this bill meant. It sounds absurdly reductive to say so, but there’s no other explanation that makes any sense.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“These leaders are like the drug lords who ruled America’s ghettos in the crack age, men (and some women) interested in just two things: staying in power, and hoovering up enough of what’s left of the cash on their blocks to drive around in an Escalade or a 633i for however long they have left.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“The mainstream media act just like in the classic studies of herd animals; at the exact instant more than half of the herd makes a move to bolt, they all move.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
tags: media
“Being in the building with Sarah Palin that night is a transformative and oddly unsettling experience. It’s a little like having live cave-level access for the ripping-the-heart-out-with-the-bare-hands scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“Say as little as possible, hope some of the undecideds like your teeth better than the other guy’s—that’s usually the way this business works.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“intrusive government and layer upon layer of regulatory red tape. When”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“What Greenspan was saying, in other words, was that there was absolutely nothing wrong with bidding up to $100 million in share value some hot-air Internet stock, because the lack of that company’s “physical value” (i.e., the actual money those three employees weren’t earning) could be overcome by the inherent value of their “ideas.” To say that this was a radical reinterpretation of the entire science of economics is an understatement—economists had never dared measure “value” except in terms of actual concrete production. It was equivalent to a chemist saying that concrete becomes gold when you paint it yellow. It was lunacy.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“lenders to trade their long-term income streams for short-term cash. Say”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“To use an example frequently offered by Masters, imagine if someone continually showed up at car dealerships and asked to buy $500,000 worth of cars. This mystery person doesn’t care how many cars, mind you, he just wants a half million bucks’ worth. Eventually, someone is going to sell that guy one car for $500,000. Put enough of those people out there visiting car dealerships, your car market is going to get very weird very quickly. Soon enough, the people who are coming into the dealership looking to buy cars they actually plan on driving are going to find that they’ve been priced out of the market.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“The formula was the same formula we see in every election: Republicans demonize government, sixties-style activism, and foreigners. Democrats demonize corporations, greed, and the right-wing rabble. Both candidates were selling the public a storyline that had nothing to do with the truth. Gas prices were going up for reasons completely unconnected to the causes these candidates were talking about. What really happened was that Wall Street had opened a new table in its casino. The new gaming table was called commodity index investing. And when it became the hottest new game in town, America suddenly got a very painful lesson in the glorious possibilities of taxation without representation. Wall Street turned gas prices into a gaming table, and when they hit a hot streak we ended up making exorbitant involuntary payments for a commodity that one simply cannot live without. Wall Street gambled, you paid the big number, and what they ended up doing with some of that money you lost is the most amazing thing of all. They got America—you, me, Priscilla Carillo, Robert Lukens—to pawn itself to pay for the gas they forced us to buy in the first place. Pawn its bridges, highways, and airports. Literally sell our sovereign territory. It was a scam of almost breathtaking beauty, if you’re inclined to appreciate that sort of thing.”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
“it’s so pathetically easy to set big groups of voters off angrily chasing their own tails in response to media-manufactured nonsense,”
Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America

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