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Matt Taibbi quotes Showing 1-30 of 190

“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
“Being a wiseass in a groupthink environment is like throwing an egg at a bulldozer.”
Matt Taibbi, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire
“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
“Most people, when they imagine New England, think about old colonial homes, white houses with black shutters, whales, and sexually morbid WASPs with sensible vehicles and polite political opinions. This is incorrect. If you want to get New England right, just imagine a giant mullet in paint-stained pants and a Red Sox hat being pushed into the back of a cruiser after a bar fight.”
Matt Taibbi, Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season
“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
“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
“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
“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
“To be robbed and betrayed by a fiendish underground conspiracy, or by the earthly agents of Satan, is at least a romantic sort of plight - it suggests at least a grand Hollywood-ready confrontation between good and evil - but to be coldly ripped off over and over again by a bunch of bloodless, second-rate schmoes, schmoes you chose, you elected, is not something anyone will take much pleasure in bragging about.”
Matt Taibbi, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire
“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
“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
“Twenty-six billion dollars of fraud: no felony cases. But when the stakes are in the hundreds of dollars, we kick in 26,000 doors a year, in just one county.”
Matt Taibbi, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
“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
“There are times when American politics seems like little more than two groups in a fever to prevent each other from trespassing upon their respective soothing versions of unreality”
Matt Taibbi, Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire
“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 prison population, in fact, is now the biggest in the history of human civilization. There are more people in the United States either on parole or in jail today (around 6 million total) than there ever were at any time in Stalin’s gulags. For what it’s worth, there are also more black men in jail right now than there were in slavery at its peak.”
Matt Taibbi, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
“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
“Washington politicians basically view the People as a capricious and dangerous enemy, a dumb mob whose only interesting quality happens to be their power to take away politicians' jobs... When the government sees its people as the enemy, sooner or later that feeling gets to be mutual. And that's when the real weirdness begins.”
Matt Taibbi, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire
“For a country founded on the idea that rights are inalienable and inherent from birth, we’ve developed a high tolerance for conditional rights and conditional citizenship.”
Matt Taibbi, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
“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
“People are beginning to become disturbingly comfortable with a kind of official hypocrisy. Bizarrely, for instance, we’ve become numb to the idea that rights aren’t absolute but are enjoyed on a kind of sliding scale.”
Matt Taibbi, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
“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
“Obsessed with success and wealth and despising failure and poverty, our society is systematically dividing the population into winners and losers, using institutions like the courts to speed the process.”
Matt Taibbi, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
“It’s become a cliché by now, but since 2008, no high-ranking executive from any financial institution has gone to jail, not one, for any of the systemic crimes that wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. Even now, after JPMorgan Chase agreed to a settlement north of $13 billion for a variety of offenses and the financial press threw itself up in arms over the government’s supposedly aggressive new approach to regulating Wall Street, the basic principle held true: Nobody went to jail. Not one person.”
Matt Taibbi, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
“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
“More and more often, we all make silent calculations about who is entitled to what rights, and who is not.”
Matt Taibbi, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
“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
“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

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