Regulatory Capture — Exhibit A

Goldman Sachs made out on the housing bubble twice: it f—ed the investors who bought their horsesh-t CDO’s by betting against its own crappy products, then it turned around and f—ed the taxpayer by making him pay off those same bets.

–Matt Taibbi, “The Great American Bubble Machine”; Rolling Stone (July 9-23, 2009)

Too subtle for you? Try this one, from Taibbi’s blog:

Imagine a meat company that bred ten billion rats, fattened them on trash and sewage, ground their bodies into chuck, and then sold it all as grade-A ground beef to McDonald’s and Burger King, right under the noses of the USDA. [Securitized subprime mortgages] are exactly the same thing, only with debt instead of food. We’re eating it, they’re counting the money.

Looking for a culprit for today’s financial mess? (plus today’s oil price roller coaster, plus the ’90’s Internet stock bubble, plus AIG’s black hole for taxpayer dollars — plus a lot more).

Taibbi makes a damning — and compelling — case that Wall Street’s fingerprints — and specifically, Goldman Sachs’ –are everywhere.

The piece reads like the stuff of conspiracy novels, which even Taibbi acknowledges at the end.

However, much of what he alleges — the players, their business practices, the regulations they lobbied for (and thwarted), who profited — is a matter of public record.

The more I see and read, the more I’m convinced that slow, creeping regulatory capture is the meta-problem at the root of all our other financial problems. Taibbi’s piece is Exhibit A.

Read it, and decide for yourself.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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