Matt Taibbi went off on Mayor Bloomberg in his Rolling Stone blog yesterday. He has two main points (and we will put them gently).
- The Mayor is a total fake (he pretends to be a liberal because of his social policies, but is really just working for his friends on Wall Street)
- He’s an out of touch, elitist jerk.
All of this is because of some remarks the Mayor made about Occupy Wall Street, which Taibbi calls his “Marie Antoinette moment”: At a conference he spoke at, Bloomberg was asked what he thought of the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
“I hear your complaints. Some of them are totally unfounded.
It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.
Now, I’m not saying I’m sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn’t have gotten them without that…”
But [congress] were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody.
And now we want to go vilify the banks because it’s one target, it’s easy to blame them and congress certainly isn’t going to blame themselves. At the same time, Congress is trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans. This is exactly the same speech they criticised them for.”
This is the same, “blame Washington” argument a lot bankers have been spouting lately. (For more on their argument, which has legitimate roots in a 1992 Congressional Act, read this.) Taibbi is clearly tired of it.
And in his style (he uses words like, “orgiastic stampede” and “bloodlust”) he reminds us why “It was not Barney Frank who made it possible for Goldman Sachs to sell the home loan of an occasionally-employed janitor in Oakland or Detroit as something just as safe as, and more profitable than, a United States Treasury Bill. This was something they (the banks) cooked up entirely by themselves and developed solely with the aim of making more money.”
We’ll get to Taibbi’s point faster than he did: It was not Congress who bundled these millions of shoddy mortgages, chopped them into various (highly-rated) securities, and then sold them to pension funds, hedge funds, foreign investors etc.
And that’s what really created the bubble, the financial instrument that packaged and sold the mortgages. Not the mortgages themselves, say Taibbi:
Fannie and Freddie had nothing to do with Merrill Lynch selling $16.5 billion worth of crap mortgage-backed securities to the Connecticut Carpenters Annuity Fund, the Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Connecticut Carpenters Pension Fund, and the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association. Citigroup and Deutsche Bank did not need to be pushed by Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi to sell hundreds of millions of dollars in crappy MBS to Allstate.
The list goes on and on. According to Taibbi, Bloomberg is just trying to protect his buddies, and in the process, belittling the attempt of normal people — who had no idea that this was happening — to get a decent place to live.
Bloomberg, he says, can’t understand why people would be angry about this system, and acts like the protesters are a bunch of teenage boys that need to sow their wild oats. It’s all capped off with this gem:
Well, you know what, Mike Bloomberg? F%@K YOU. People are not protesting for their own entertainment, you arsehole. They’re protesting because millions of people were robbed, by your best friends incidentally, and they want their money back. And you’re not everybody’s Dad, so stop acting like you are.
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