Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History Summary & Study Guide

Matt Taibbi
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Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History Summary & Study Guide Description

Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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"Griftopia" by Matt Taibbi is a detailed account of the causes behind the recent financial collapse that helped to bring down America's economy. The book begins in 2008 at the Republican convention when Matt Taibbi, a reporter for the Rolling Stone, was covering the campaign. He and the other reporters were breathing a sigh of relief that finally things had settled down after the bitter 18-month long Republican primary season. No one there including Taibbi knew at the time that just two short weeks away the American economy and even the world economy would be on the brink of disaster.

As a young man in New York, Alan Greenspan was a huge fan of writer Ayn Rand who was infamous for her hatred of government. Alan became part of the Collective, her inner-circle of like-minded intellectuals who agreed with her libertarian views. Despite his anti-government ideology, Greenspan pursued a political career and served in the administrations of Nixon, Ford and Reagan. He aggressively sought and finally secured the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve during the Reagan administration. Though he was lauded as a brilliant economist, many of his policies led to the financial destruction of America's economy culminating in 2008.

Greenspan's policies and deregulation and the easing of governmental oversight of banks and financial concerns during the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations led to the "scams" that were being perpetrated on Wall Street. Legislation was passed that abandoned the Glass-Steagall law that had been put in place after the Great Depression to prohibit banks from merging with insurance companies due to the risk of conflict of interests. But by the late 1990s, greedy investment bankers and hedge fund managers on Wall Street were allowed the freedom to create illegal operations with impunity which ultimately led to the dotcom and the housing-market bubbles that in 2011 the country still suffers from.

There were many bad players in the downfall of the economy but the worst by far was Goldman-Sachs, an investment bank that had been established in the late 19th century. Their greed and lack of concern for America's economy and the struggles of the ordinary citizen led the economy to the brink. Goldman-Sacks and other Wall Street denizens not only bilked people out of their investments and savings, when they faced tremendous loss they were given billions in bailout money from the taxpayers because they were "too big to fail." It was common knowledge that the federal government would bailout Goldman-Sachs no matter what the circumstances. And the reason for their special treatment was the large campaign contributions they made to politicians who were only concerned about keeping their jobs.

Goldman-Sachs committed fraud and participated in criminal activity but they came through the disaster relatively unscathed. When they did appear before the Congress and were publicly scolded for their actions, they were stoic and unapologetic. They really didn't care about the damage that they caused and instead, they only cared about making more money. Goldman-Sachs is still in business today. They are thriving and creating new money-making schemes. No one seems to have the ability or will to stop them.

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This section contains 522 words
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Buy the Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History Study Guide
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