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Matt Taibbi’s recent Rolling Stone articles Great American Bubble Machine & The Big Takeover 

The Big Takeover was written in the depths of the latest and greatest plunge in world asset markets. America was particularly hard hit as the global crisis echoed out from ground zero, US housing and housing finance. The financial world began a disastrous meltdown beginning in March 2008 with the failure of Bear Stearns and coming to a head with the failures of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and AIG in September 2009. By the time The Big Takeover went to press we were seeing unprecedented and massive destruction of wealth. The Bush and Obama Administrations were responding with staggering assistance to those American financial institutions that they choose to rescue. Across March 2009 the trillions, yes trillions, in assistance were able to sure up remaining giants of finance. Since March we have seen continued pain and suffering in America but, vastly improving conditions in leading banks, asset prices and broad rooms. 

Matt’s work critically addresses these phenomena with humor and bold charges aplenty. The Big Takeover explores the growing role and power of well connected and influential bankers, financiers and there allies atop the American political structure. Leading banks were given massively expanded assistance and were able to get and keep the ears of leading Treasury, Federal Reserve, SEC and Congressional heavy hitters. Matt’s work proceeds to detail benefits reaped by these firms and players with tax payer monies.  

The Great American Bubble Machine explores Goldman Sachs as a particular potentate and beneficiary of the policy choices and approaches followed by American regulators and politicians since March 2008. Goldman’s announcement of $3.44 billion in quarterly profits on July14, 2009 speaks to just how well the firm has done lately. Matt’s article is far ranging and conspiratorial in tenor. It is also full of verifiable facts and very biting humor. The work details the extraordinary penetration of Goldman alumni into top regulatory positions and the peerless assistance Goldmen received and benefited from throughout the crisis. It is hard to doubt that this firm is vastly overrepresented among senior officials. Clinton, Bush and Obama employed/employ the following Goldmen: Henry Paulson, Robert Rubin, Robert Steel, Joshua Bolten, Mark Patterson, Edward Liddy, Neel Kashkari, Gary Gensler, Stephen Friedman, William Dudley, Robert Hormats. In many tense, rushed and closed door meetings Goldman was represented on both sides of the bargaining table. These meetings often ended in decisions that were extremely beneficial to Goldman interests.  

What are the connections, implications and conflicts of interest that arise from the power and influence of this firm in American finance and financial regulation?