Matt Taibbi explains what triggered Wall Street protests
Actually, this long quotation from a February interview of Taibbi explains why it’s accurate to think of crooked investment bankers — banksters — as scam artists as well as degenerate gamblers of other people’s money:
… These banks were taking… subprime mortgages, and they would have these billion-dollar pools of mortgages where, in some cases, 70 or 80 percent of the loans were to people who had no identification or no jobs or who had put no money down into the mortgage. And then they were taking these loans and applying this phony baloney, hocus pocus math, these derivative instruments, and turning them into AAA-rated investments. And they were marketing, again, these securities to, say, state pension funds as AAA-rated investments, which means credit risk almost zero. So they took the stuff that they knew was very, very risky and very, very likely to default, and they were going to the state of Wisconsin, the state of Ohio, the state of New York, and saying, “Hey, this is almost as safe as — or in fact, it is as safe as United States Treasury bonds. You should buy this, and you’ll earn a little bit more than you’ll earn if you buy T-bills.” The reality was, they were just taking absolutely worthless stuff and sticking it with these people and then fleeing the scene.
While reading Taibbi’s words, I remembered years ago interviewing a police detective whose specialty was tracking down scam artists, usually guys who worked street scams involving gullible people making ATM withdrawals. The stakes are much higher on Wall Street, and the banksters in the sharp suits are just as sleazy as street scammers. So why aren’t they in jail?
Footnote: The protests are “about” bankster fraud resulting in the destruction of vast amounts of middle-class assets, but are also in reaction to the fact that banksters and corporate chiefs more or less own most of the major officeholders in both political parties and thus make a joke of government by and for the people.