The Great Takeover

March 26, 2009

The most provocative, over the top, and disturbing take on what has befallen us appears in the latest Rolling Stone. Sometimes the truth is so close we can’t recognize it, and a writer like Matt Taibbi comes along to piece everything together into sharp focus:

The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d’état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.

But are his big-picture conclusions beyond doubt? Or has he jammed together stuff that doesn’t really fit? Most airtight and compelling is his dissection of how we arrived at this point: the game was rigged with the complicity of our lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats alike. On this the facts appear indisputable.

Read “The Big Takeover,” every one of its nearly nine thousand words. When I finished, my view of the nation, its predicament, and future had shifted in the most dire way.

How Congress responds to the Obama administration’s call today for sweeping reform of financial institutions will test whether Taibbi is right.

UPDATE: No one can say we weren’t warned when Congress created the road to our financial ruin.